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September 27th, 2010
02:23 PM ET

Congress eliminates the R-word

The word has rankled Sarah Palin. Using it landed Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, in hot water. And actress Jennifer Aniston got slammed by advocates for saying it in slang.

And now, it’s a step closer to elimination from the federal government language.

The House of Representatives approved a bill that eliminates the use of the words “retarded” and “retardation” in health, education and labor laws.

The bill changes the terms from “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” and “mentally retarded individual” to “individual with an intellectual disability.” This shift would make it more consistent with the language already used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations, and the White House.

Rosa’s Law passed in the Senate in August, and now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk. The bill was proposed by Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland.

Rosa Marcellino is a girl from Edgewater, Maryland, who has Down syndrome. She had been labeled retarded by her school - a term that her mother does not permit her children to use, according to a news release from Mikulski’s office.

Read the bill here.

“What you call people is how you treat them,” her older brother, Nick Marcellino had said. “What you call my sister is how you will treat her. If you believe she’s ‘retarded,’ it invites taunting, stigma. It invites bullying and it also invites the slammed doors of being treated with respect and dignity.”

Advocates consider the term a stinging label that is outdated and stigmatizing.

“We understand that language plays a crucial role in how people with intellectual disabilities are perceived and treated in society,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc in a statement. “Changing how we talk about people with disabilities is a critical step in promoting and protecting their basic civil and human rights.”

The Arc, which promotes and protects rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been advocating the use of “intellectual disability."

“We strongly believe the only 'r-word' that should be used when referring to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is ‘Respect,’” according to the website.

The Arc of the United States originated as the National Association for Retarded Children and adopted its current name in 1992, dropping the term as “pejorative, derogatory and demeaning in usage.”

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a professional association working with intellectual and developmental disabilities, also dropped the word “mental retardation” from its names and titles of two flagship journals.

“The language we use when talking about disabilities in general, and intellectual disabilities in particular, has changed over time,” said Margaret A. Nygren, executive director and CEO of AAIDD in a statement. “These changes reflect a cultural shift in understanding that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities are entitled to the same dignity and human rights as every other member of society. The passage of the Rosa’s Law legislation to use the term “intellectual disabilities” within federal education, health, and labor laws is likely to have a far reaching impact on the language used in our society.”

But not everyone is embracing the shift. Critics say that changing the word is an act of political correctness, rather than any substantive change.

Christopher M. Fairman is a professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University and author of a book subtitled "Word Taboo and Protecting Our First Amendment Liberties” wrote in a Washington Post column earlier this year: “If interest groups want to pour resources into cleaning up unintentional insults, more power to them; we surely would benefit from greater kindness to one another. But we must not let "retard" go without a requiem. If the goal is to protect intellectually disabled individuals from put-downs and prejudice, it won't succeed. New words of insult will replace old ones.”


soundoff (392 Responses)
  1. Repayment

    Repayment TO TAXPAYERS........Thanks for bailing out the banks,Fannie and Freddie!Congress bans REpayment!

    September 27, 2010 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Flar

      Now it's time to REmove Congress.

      September 27, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • Terry P

      Amen – but it shows you what congress this is important. So many other things need attention – and what does congress do? THROW THE BUMS OUT!

      September 27, 2010 at 23:59 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      So, Congress is going to ban the tea party? EXCELLENT IDEA!

      September 28, 2010 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
    • lover of words

      haha

      retarded ex senator chooses to ban a word, lets burn books next and elect her president

      September 28, 2010 at 00:53 | Report abuse |
    • LacesOut

      WTF does your comment have to do with retards??

      September 28, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I have no problem accepting the new terminology.. Sarah Palin suffers from an intellectual disability. WE know that.
      I do, however, have a problem setting the ignition timing on my old motorcycle, as it can be either advanced or retarded or spot on, according to the manual. If it's not advanced or right on the money, then what is it now? Not as smart as me? (I hope)

      September 28, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
    • Zach

      The "R-word" will change in meaning eventually. The words "idiot", and "moron" all stem from what people used to refer to mentally disabled individuals.
      Michael Scott said it best, "You don't call a retarded person a retard; that would be insensitive. You call your friends retarded when they're acting like retards."

      September 28, 2010 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
    • W.G.

      A word that perfectly describes republicans and the teaparty (sigh) it truly is a sad day in America

      September 28, 2010 at 06:25 | Report abuse |
    • StateOfMaine

      I'm so glad they're dealing with the important issues........

      September 28, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      It's hilarious that we decided to stop using a word meaning, "limited in intellectual or emotional development" to a word meaning, "inoperative or physically non-functional". In our quest to spare everyone's feelings we decided on language that is both inaccurate and insulting.

      Retarded people are retarded. Deal with it. The mean kids will think of some other innovative insult for retarded people, as they do with any group that is different.

      I am allowed to point out that they are different right? Conformity-liberated?

      September 28, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      Most of you are totally insensitive idiots. I'm 18 and understand that using this type of terminology is innappropriate and rude, why can't you 40-year-old losers figure it out? Obviously, none of you know anything about congress.

      September 29, 2010 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      This is ridiculous, the word has been used for years and is a medical term. Just because some people see a negative connotation in the word doesn't mean that using in medical terms affects people! If people get butthurt about people using the word it is simply because THEY GIVE it a negative meaning!

      October 13, 2010 at 03:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Rick Sanchez

    Congress bans Rick's List!!!!!! THANK YOU CONGRESS!!! MOre BROOKE please!

    September 27, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Carl

    So now the clueless and socially intolerant will simply use this new term in a derisive fashion, with a touch of sneering thrown in. When are we going to learn that changing terms is cosmetic, and not particularly effective? Moreover, mental retardation is not just an intellectual development problem, so the result is an ineffective term.

    Wewent through that with the "politically correct" era, and just look how well that worked.

    September 27, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Codifex Maximus

      Ohh! How intellectually deficient! Ohh!

      September 28, 2010 at 02:12 | Report abuse |
    • kcroutier

      I would like to know how many people on this forum have worked with individuals with disabilities? My guess: not many of you. If you have worked with these very loving, caring, accepting of anyone, you will agree with me when I say that I have learned patience, understanding, and unconditional love for all.

      For those who say the word "retard" or "retarded" don't hurt anyone's feelings, you are incorrect. My cousin has down syndrome and you have hurt my feelings and my family's.

      Please for everyone's sake get out and volunteer somewhere. If you still are not convinced, fine, continues to comment. But until, enough is enough. Stop tearing people down.

      February 22, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    "Retarded" means "slow". "Disabled" means "not able" or "not enabled", which is different from "unable", which means "not able". We use "mentally retarded" and "mentally disabled" as blanket terms to describe someone who has subnormal mental capacity or function. So in one sense it does injustice to a certain segment of the population to call them "disabled", implying the lack of ability, when they are really are "retarded", meaning they are able but it takes them longer to grasp and apply concepts.

    The words themselves can be good descriptors, the problem is when the words are used deragotorily. It is an uphill battle that can never be won, to ban the use of every word that hurts someone's feelings. It's treating the symptom instead of the cause. But some people just don't get it, and they keep trying to get rid of "hurtful words" that are just fine. Ironically...this is retarded behavior.

    September 27, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dT

      Probably the only well formed response we'll ever see. Lumping "slow" and "cant" into the same category isnt a very good idea. My worry is the education and labor laws part. So now we have to make darn sure not to let it slip in the workplace, even in jest, for fear of punishment. One more thing to have teachers look after. Geez. Can we just let some things slide for cripe's sake?

      September 27, 2010 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • BeegNeeg

      With that said, which is worse? If one is mentally disabled, doesn't that mean, essentially, there is no hope?

      As for 'runswithbeer', one would guess he is comfortable with the fact that his grandkid's case is hopeless, as he appears to be more comfortable with the term 'disabled'. Maybe it's just me, but I would be more comfortable if I was slow, rather than unable...

      September 27, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Realistically, political correctness is ridiculous. We need to stop changing language because people are getting offended. I HIGHLY doubt that any mentally retarded individual has ever been offended by someone using the word in a non-offensive way.

      The problem is that some people have lost civility and courtesy. We need to focus on manners.

      September 27, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • dT

      there is no "which one is right", they are both terms describing something.

      September 27, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • DN3

      A disability is not the same as an inability.

      September 28, 2010 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
    • Alice

      Thank you Robert! Words mean specific things, and when we decide one is offensive we cannot decide to just change the definition of them!

      September 28, 2010 at 05:54 | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Thank you, Robert. Exactly what I was thinking.

      September 28, 2010 at 07:47 | Report abuse |
    • maine liberal

      I propose that any retarded PC act or thought be refered to as a Palin

      September 28, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
    • m

      The only problem with this is that words sometime have specific phenomenological meanings for different people. It can even vary from region to region, the same word holding more power or less.

      September 28, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • waitwhat

      Excellent point – well said.

      October 12, 2010 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
  5. stop the madness

    I wonder how much time and money were wasted on this? If you watch C-SPAN you'll see your representatives voting to congratulate sports team victories, etc. Everything BUT dealing with our REAL PROBLEMS. Way to go, congress!

    September 27, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      I thought that's what the "whip" was for. :-D

      September 28, 2010 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
  6. Marisa

    Amen. It's just a word. As in, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but WORDS CAN NEVER HURT ME."

    September 27, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guest4Me

      Bones heal with time after being injured, but mentally, we hold things for life after being called names............it's better to have the bones broken!

      September 28, 2010 at 07:17 | Report abuse |
  7. runswithbeer

    As the Grandparent of a Downs Child I find your remark as low as scum from under a rock.

    September 27, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Will

    So instead of hitting the important issues like THE RESSESION, JOBS, and People loosing their homes. The Retards in congress felt they should remove that word to stop people from calling them it.

    September 27, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Maybe it wuz hutting theah wittle fee-wings.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Spelling disability?

      September 28, 2010 at 05:18 | Report abuse |
  9. dT

    I'm worried about the healthcare ramifications here. Calling things different names isnt always surface deep. Are we changing not only the name, but the treatment as well? Is every slow kid in school going to get their own full time tutor now?

    September 27, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Of course - after all, Congress' job is too spend as much $$$$$ as possible - isn't it?

      September 28, 2010 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
    • maine liberal

      Big insurance will consider this a pre-existing condition

      September 28, 2010 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
  10. David

    So, they've changed the definition to include most Republicans?

    September 27, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tyler

      And this is why Americans will Never stand united. Republican, democrat liberal, conservative, etc are all the same thing A BUNCH OF MORONS. Intelligence is accepting that everyone has there own beliefs in politics but what really sets others apart is when they work together to create a compromise that should help and include both sides. AND BOTH PARTIES refuse to work together. Yeah Republicans more so than Democrats right now, but its always been that way when you have a president of the opposite party in rule. Democrats wont work with a republican president, Republicans wont work with a democratic president.
      Reason why a bunch of IDIOTs run this country. Barrack, Bush, Clinton, Carter. IF we had more presidents like FDR, Reagen, Jefferson, Lincoln we would all be in better shape, but the people who would be great arent stupid enough to take the job.

      September 28, 2010 at 02:44 | Report abuse |
  11. Bonanaza

    So... now that this has happened, is it OK to say retarded? Or is that still offensive?

    September 27, 2010 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Nope. You have to say "developmentally challenged" - but only today. By tomorrow, *that* may no longer be PC.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
    • Codifex Maximus

      The spark advance on my Buick is "deficient" 8 degrees before top dead center. :)

      September 28, 2010 at 02:16 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      The mentally disabled person's fall was retarded by the bungee cord.

      September 28, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
  12. Rob F

    This is retarded

    September 27, 2010 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JayEm

      You mean this is mentally disabled,

      September 27, 2010 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
  13. cliff

    For Congress to eliminate "those words" would be to eliminate Congress. After all, "retarded" is an excellent description of the "mentally incompetent" now serving there.

    September 27, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Paul

    This is some of the most significant and important work the Obama administration has accomplished to date! Must be election time. Clearly worthy of CNN front page under the PC category!

    September 27, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      You seem to forget that the one who gets most pissed off about this word is that retard Sarah Palin.

      September 27, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  15. BeegNeeg

    Congress should also eliminate the word 'short' as it is sometimes used in a derrogitory manner... "short bus", "short people", "short d**k" and so on...

    In fact, Congress should send everyone a copy of 1984 as a language guideline for all future discourse... plus plus good!

    September 27, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Yeah, I was contemplating how the PC craze is pretty parallel to newspeak, removing words from usage and replacing them with meaningless words that don't convey the same message.

      September 27, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • FreedomRock

      Are you a friend of Robert Reich?
      Maybe you ARE Robert Reich?

      September 28, 2010 at 03:13 | Report abuse |
  16. Bodybagger

    More and more the government takes over our lives. Freedom of speech you RETARDS! I guess truckers can't call it a retarder anymore. Politcally correct eh? Man oh man this country is going downhill... fast.

    September 27, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      That is correct. It must now be called a developmental challenger.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
  17. TheMovieFan

    In my wife's school, there is a violent 5 year old who is injuring students and teachers. I don't care what issues this child has, I have no problem referring to him as retarded.

    September 27, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C-Rey

      Perhaps the child in your wife's class in not "retarded" or mentally challenged, but rather another diagnosis of severe behavioral issues or perhaps even schizoprenia? Manic/ Bipolar? To suggest that child is "retarded" when violent is to suggest that all mentally challenged children should not be around society. The two are not the same and that type of attitude is what has kept non-violent persons of less i.q. level in institutions...where they can be abused by those with "higher mental functioning"....uggggg, it's all in attitude toward others that miss out on the birth lottery in life.

      September 27, 2010 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I certainly hope your wife does not share your views or she is definitely in the wrong field. I pity insensitive individuals like you. You're the one to feel really sorry for because you apparently have no ability to empathize or take the time to see the big picture.

      September 27, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Perhaps some Skinnerian-style behavior modification is in order?

      September 28, 2010 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
    • WinstonSmith

      I'll wager that the little retard is probably possessed ! I say if he bites, kick his teeth out ! Put him on a chain in a pen, like you would any other bad dog !

      September 28, 2010 at 02:40 | Report abuse |
  18. WVlady63

    Another incident of "Freedom of Speech," being MURDERED!!!! Retarded, mentally retarded, IS A MEDICAL EVALUATION!!! If you aren't normal and you have deficiencies somewhere in your brain, you ARE retarded! I DARE ANYONE TO TELL ME I CAN'T SAY THOSE WORDS!!! If Americans don't start standing up for "Freedom of Speech," IT IS GOING TO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM US BECAUSE OF COMPLACENCY!!!! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!

    September 27, 2010 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stryse

      Um, the Congress voted to curtail *their* use of the word, not you, the American citizen.

      September 30, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  19. Scott

    The same thing happened with the word "handicapped," and it'll happen again with each newly anointed phrase, see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemism_treadmill#Euphemism_treadmill

    September 27, 2010 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kelle711

      I remember when Americans stopped saying 'black' and started saying "African American" because black had a negative connotation. As a black person in the Caribbean, I thought it pointless, just as I think this is pointless too. If people think black = bad, they will just think African American = bad. If they think retard = bad, they will just think intellectually disabled = bad. We need to change attitudes, not words. That said, hey, call yourself whatever makes you feel good. I won't say it is retarded, but it sure is stupid.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
  20. Mike

    The word retard, from which retarded derives, is a verb that simply means to slow down. It is used in a wide variety of contexts. I baking, if you want to slow the growth of yeast in a dough, you chill the dough in order to "retard" the growth. On a semi, the well recognized engine brake, which makes the loud noise as the truck decelerates, is called a "retarder". Originally, "Mental Retardation" was a medical term developed because the previous terms were considered cruel or insulting. Now this perfecly legitimate term is being banished in favor of "incapacitated" or "challenged". Eventually, people will being to take offense to these words, and we will have yet another phrase we will have to learn. It has everything to do with political correctness, and nothing to do with common sense or expediency. The fact that the US Congress is tackling this issue during this time in our economy above all else demonstrates the true meaning of "Mentally Challenged".

    September 27, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Son of the Morning

      What exactly has "slowed down" in someone you feel should be called retarded? A slowing down gives the impression that function may return to an average, normalized state. When discussing human beings who are diminished mental ability there is rarely any chance that such a change will occur. In your non-human examples the use of retarding is by design to achieve a goal. What goal is being achieved by labelling a human being as retarded? ITheir state hasn't happened through effort or with the desire to achieve some other end. So how does it relate to a human condition?

      The main problem with the term retarded as applied to human beings is that it fails to grasp the true nature of what may be impacting a human's ability. It is a blanket term that has been applied to a vast array of mental disorders, cognitive disorders and even those who have minor learning disabilities. When a single term is used to describe such a variety of problems the manner in which treatment is approached suffers. Would you treat someone with Downs Syndrome (at one time referred to as a retardation) the same as a child in school suffering from dyslexia (also a state of retardation)? Of course we would not. So why would we have a single poorly fitting term to blanket them all?

      September 28, 2010 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      I prefer the term "half-wit" myself. Okay, flamers, FLAME ON! :-D

      September 28, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • John

      @Son of the Morning: Well, dyslexia may at one time have been looked upon as retardation, but, with treatment and training, most with dyslexia can read at or above the average level of an individual. People with Down Syndrome will always be lacking behind their peers. Also, retard does not mean that it will return to a normal state. It is implying a state that is below or slower than normal. We derive "normal" based on the average compacity of a person from the total population. Maybe you should reflect and see if it is the terms that offend you, or the fact the terms make you face the reality of an individuals capacity. It's the same as people who like to think that everyone is good. But reality tells us a different truth.

      This word change is ridiculous. I don't see the medical establishment weighing in on this. Sounds like the wrong people are making changes.

      September 28, 2010 at 03:38 | Report abuse |
  21. Greg

    Thank you! I have suffered the results of polio from childhood. Please begin work on censoring other offensive words that have offended me. "Bowl or golf with a handicap" and "Hoppalong Cassidy" and "hip-hop" are a few examples that I have been offended by. Luckily, I have lots of hair, so the Balk Eagle is ok.

    September 27, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. jtmsa

    re·tard   /rɪˈtɑrd, for 1–3, 5; ˈritɑrd for 4/ Show Spelled
    [ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4] Show IPA

    –verb
    1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
    –verb (used without object)
    2. to be delayed.
    USA...home of the offended

    September 27, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kana

      @jtmsa – Save your dictionary as it will be come a colllectors item. Or perhaps you should hide it before the book police come for it.
      Per congressional mandate the current definition of retard will be stricken from record and rewritten in the name of Political Correctness. In the future just look up, "insert your letter" word.

      September 28, 2010 at 07:17 | Report abuse |
  23. is this for real?

    I have nothing against people with disabilities, physical or mental, nor do I wish them any harder of a life than they often have based on how they were born, but how is stopping the use of what was once a scientific term – still used in physics under different circumstances – going to change how people treat or feel towards those individuals? When I was growing up, the use of the word "fag" was prolific, until it became insensitive and a bad word. I'm now a teacher, and constantly hear kids derisively calling things "gay," the accepted term. It's just as offensive, and soon they will have to call things "homosexual" instead, which will be shortened to "homo," and then banned and changed to "of a different sexual orientation than myself." Semantics are nonsense in these cases, and all it will do is cause people to sarcastically say "intellectual disability"

    September 27, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      While we're at it, why not make every single parking space in America a handicapped-only space?

      September 28, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
  24. Kurt

    Good. After this change, we can go back to using the word "retarded" without feeling guilty. Congress: What a bunch of retards. Oops. That was redundant, sorry.

    September 27, 2010 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Ha ha! How about "what a bunch of congressmen!"?

      September 28, 2010 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
  25. LOL

    What a freakin joke. THIS IS retarded.

    September 27, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. beard

    This is REALLY retarded.

    September 27, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dawn

    Awesome!
    Now I can call people retards without people trying to guilt me for it, since it no longer refers to 'individuals with intellectual disabilities'.

    September 27, 2010 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Dawn

    Well, runswithbeer, since your grandchild is no longer technically labeled as 'retarded', you're the one who should feel bad for thinking that the word 'retarded' has anything to do with your 'intellectually disabled' grand child.

    Monster.

    September 27, 2010 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jane

    How does a retarded person know they been offended? I guess it offends the people around them who must be retarded to think it does. My mother spent her life in a wheel chair, She was Cripple. then latter in life she became challenged, then she became Handicapped. Now she died The fact is she was cripple and that's part of life. Except it or go die. Pretty soon, talking will be offensive and against the law. This country has become a joke,

    September 27, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Yep - a real dystopia. (i.e., a "mess")

      September 28, 2010 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  30. V Saxena

    Oooh la la. I'm INTELLECTUALLY disabled per my Asperger's Syndrome. Hmmm. INTELLECTUALLY disabled? Uh... I'd rather just be called a retard instead, roflol.

    September 27, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jane

      I agree with ya, how does a retard know what the word intellectual means anyways. ? lol

      September 27, 2010 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      How about "special"? (jw)

      September 28, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
  31. Todd A

    The World English Dictionary defines the word retarded as mentally handicapped.

    I don't see what the problem is. Some mean people use the word retard as a slur. In another 20 years mentally handicapped will be deemed inappropriate. The same thing happened to midgets. Now they're "little people". That is stupid, at least midget sounded like a medical condition.

    September 27, 2010 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Boogie

      The word "retard" was once used as a medical term, now it's being used in a derogatory fashion. The word "idiot" was once an official medical term, now it's banned from any kind of medical context. The "N" word was once a legit word but became derogatory. Words like these should totally be banned. Especially the "R" word, it's poking fun at a group of people that cannot defend themselves.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
  32. Joey

    So they have finally done it eh? I believe they already got rid of the "R word" in practice now they just need to hide it from future generations so they don't go bringing in up again. The word in question of course is Representation. :)

    September 27, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. brad

    A lot uneducated drivel here. A word is just a word....until it has a history. When its history is tied to the disgustingly inhumane treatment that this group of people have received over the decades, then removing the word and its dehumanizing connotations is valuable.

    If you are a white male middle class American who thinks this is silly, perhaps you have a hard time relating? The new words are not a solution to the misgivings of the past, but at least they are a fresh start in a world that is miles ahead of where it was when this term was a means of depriving these people of the American liberites and rights you and I take for granted every day.

    September 27, 2010 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tcan

      Well said...thank you for that.

      September 27, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse |
    • mycatsbreathsmellslikecatfood

      youre kidding right...thats like erasing history. you take a more Orwellian approach toward govt huh

      September 27, 2010 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Ha ha - Orwell knew what he was talking about! ;'-|

      September 28, 2010 at 01:38 | Report abuse |
    • Nan Bush

      The difficulty is that too many people confuse the idea of having "rights as an American" with wanting everyone to have equivalent capabilities. "Mental retardation" means specifically "intellectual developmental delay." This limitation of intellectual capacity is a condition that cannot be changed by a shift of terminology or the granting of rights, no matter how much we may wish it.
      "Intellectually disabled" not only adds syllables, it lacks the precision of MR as a term and can mean any number of things. All the new term achieves is temporary freshness. The parents who are sensitive to the existing term will be equally sensitive to the new one, and the boors who use "retard" as an insult will not be cured of their cruelty but will just find a way to make "intellectually disabled" equally offensive. The Real issue here is not the words, it's the protectiveness of loving parents who hurt for their kids and want to feel they have done something to help.
      Congress will find some other way to avoid dealing with the other "R" word – Real issues.

      September 30, 2010 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  34. James

    Another attempt to legislate what people can think.Oh,boy.Here we go again

    September 27, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Clark1b

    give it a few years .... and it won't be PC to use the word "disabled" .......

    September 27, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Yeah, then we'll have to start saying something like "requiring internal maintenance" (or some such claptrap).

      September 28, 2010 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
  36. Greg

    I don't care what others call me! Its the demeanor of the words. I have never run a step in my 57 years, but I have a good memory, and I eventually knocked the hell out of every single one! Its like the N word amongst blacks. We call each other gimps, re@&rd, and whatever applied, and laugh our asses off! I always make sure my mechanic does not call my ignition system retarded!

    September 27, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Brent

    When Ryan grows up and has a special needs child of his own, he will get it and finally realize what an arse he was.

    September 27, 2010 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. A musician

    All music from mozart to now (excluding music with a drum machine) will be banned due to the fact that we will not be able to include a retardando in our score. Composers please start writing in your scores for performers to disable the notes at the end of a section or phrase.

    September 27, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Just change it to "rallentando" everywhere. :-)

      September 28, 2010 at 01:44 | Report abuse |
  39. Ryan

    I am grown up. And because of my own disability, which I've overcome through a lot of hard work, having endured bullying, name calling, and all of that crap my whole life, I still don't believe I was any kind of 'arse.'

    I simply think it's stupid that Congress is spending time on this. The 'R' word is not derogatory – it's not like the 'N' word. If I say something is "retarded" I'm saying that it's not a bright idea. And if someone is classified as "retarded" it's fair to say that he or she is not the brightest. Is it by their fault? Well, no, I guess not. If people choose to be hurtful in their words and actions towards someone that is less fortunate, that's not cool at all. But it doesn't mean that I can't call a stupid decision by Congress "retarded." Because when we regulate our language like this, that's all it is. I mean, I could get more accurate and call it "effing retarded" but then I might be crossing a line. No Congressional directive needed. I just knew.

    September 27, 2010 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Thank You, Ryan....great post!

      September 28, 2010 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
  40. A musician

    please do not get upset at what congress does people...they do not have any meaning to our lives and freedom. Remember, congress is a bunch that once declared a human being was property and used their fake document (the constitution) to back them selves up. they, like the lawyers most of them are, are just huffing and puffing and it has no meaning to you as a free human being.

    September 27, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Well, it wouldn't, IF it weren't MY MONEY those bozos are spending.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:45 | Report abuse |
  41. El Flaco

    Retard means to slow. Retarded means slowed or slower in development. The suggestion is that a retarded person might be slow in developing but might reach a normal level of functioning in a longer time. Intellectually disabled means that part of the intellect is simply missing or non-functional.

    It's not the words but the slang term "retard" and the jokes. Special used to mean special; now it means retarded. Gay used to mean happy; now it means gay.

    September 27, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      I will never forgive those who changed the meaning of "gay" for most people. There really is no good substitute for it.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:47 | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      And, by the way, it wasn't a straight synonym for 'happy' - it implied vivacity & liveliness, even if forced.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:48 | Report abuse |
  42. joe

    The "R" word? They banned "Republican"? Sweet, and a step in the right direction.

    September 27, 2010 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrick

      an obscure anti-republican response...very original.

      September 28, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
  43. joe

    Congress, Ur sofa king wee todd did.

    Come an get me Congress. I fart in your general direction!

    September 27, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Veritas

    Now if Congress would just ban the other "R" word – "Republican." Well, I guess the two words basically have the same meaning...

    September 27, 2010 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. BubbaNorth

    Record foreclosures in recent history in August, badly needed mfg jobs leaving the country, and we are spending our money and time changing words? This is just another reason why we are becoming a third world country.

    September 27, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Michael Tracy

    Often it's not an "intellectual disability" but a "processing disability" that limits special needs kids. My son has Downs but is very intelligent and very intuitive. However, the speed at which he processes is slower due to his condition. The speed at which anyone processes input or output does not determine intelligence.

    September 27, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin Bray

      Has Down Syndrome not has Downs is correct.

      September 27, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Actually Robin, Downs is a common way of saying Downs Syndrome...you are retarded.

      September 28, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Actually, the speed at which you can use your logic does affect your IQ. If you take an IQ test you have to complete it within a specific time limit. That is part of the test. The time limit is not a random variable thrown in. I'm sorry, your child has Down Syndrome, but creating an alternate reality to live by doesn't change that fact. Also, the word retarded is perfect. If your child processes logic "slowly", his/her mental speed is "retarded".

      September 28, 2010 at 03:47 | Report abuse |
  47. David

    I think think the word retard comes from the italian or latin retardando which is term for slowing down...I use it more as a music term...molto retardando or very slow...using the word retard is OK as long as its not used to describe people that are slow. I don't see the problem. J Anniston is an idiot who can't keep a man...no wonder Brad left her. This country is becoming so soft no wonder we cater to islam!

    September 27, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. david

    so can i use the word in the following factual statement: americans who think 19 muslims with boxcutters defeated the u.s. military are retarded.

    September 27, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin Bray

      No.

      September 27, 2010 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
    • CVNTG

      Honest to God, I thought it was Sarah Palin's "Refudiate"

      September 27, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
  49. CVNTG

    Now this is just retarded

    September 27, 2010 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      Ya'll are gettin' me all flustrated.

      September 28, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
  50. david

    if i though anderson cooper was "keeping them honest" or that he believe the "truth matters" i would be retarded. world trade center 7, directed energy weapons. do a report on those things anderson.

    September 27, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.