home
RSS
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Advocates consider the term a stinging label that is outdated and stigmatizing.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 (1,022 Responses)
  1. RebfZisse

    free trial offer cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis cheaper online cialis usa

    May 14, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. AnooEncox

    viagra esperienze forum http://llviagra.com/ viagra venta libre neuquen

    May 14, 2021 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. FmrfEncox

    buy 20mg cialis https://cialisee.com/ – cialis online cheap generic cialis 20mg

    May 14, 2021 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. dc seo services

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    https://info-site.siterubix.com/professional-seo-services-can-boost-your-business/

    May 15, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Self Defense Gambrills MD

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    https://mydesignedlife.net/members/morrison27morrison/activity/142993/

    May 15, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Fence Builder Baton Rouge LA

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://fencecompanybatonrouge687888490.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/why-is-it-important-which-fence-company-you-choose/

    May 15, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. commercial roofing Hainesport

    This blog is great check it out

    https://www.behance.net/gallery/119410525/Working-As-a-Professional-Roofer

    May 15, 2021 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. We Buy Houses Jacksonville FL

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

    https://posts.gle/QbXARN3wp3nD2e1h7

    May 15, 2021 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Spokane Carpet Cleaning

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/192919922@N04/?

    May 15, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Flooring Installer Pittsburgh PA

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.

    May 15, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. locksmith St. Louis

    very nice! Ireally like your blog

    https://www.4shared.com/folder/wPif6Zeo/Master_locksmith_St.html

    May 15, 2021 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. storno brzinol

    You made some decent points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found most persons will consent with your site.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. https://mbee.com.vn

    Simply wish to say your article is as astounding. The clarity for your put up is simply excellent
    and that i can assume you're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to stay up to date with approaching
    post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please continue the gratifying
    work.

    May 16, 2021 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. vach ngan ve sinh

    Somebody essentially assist to make critically posts
    I'd state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
    I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish
    extraordinary. Fantastic task!

    May 16, 2021 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. LebnEncox

    ed medications http://xlnpharmacy.com/ canada prescription drugs

    May 16, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RebfZisse

    toronto buy cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis ordering

    May 16, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. LbsoZisse

    cheap real cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis australia

    May 17, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. AnooEncox

    effetti collaterale viagra http://llviagra.com/ – secure site to buy viagra viagra losartana potassica

    May 18, 2021 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LbsoZisse

    generic cialis paypal payment https://ucialisdas.com/ 200 mg cialis

    May 18, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. LebnEncox

    Motilium https://xlnpharmacy.com/ prescription without a doctor's prescription

    May 18, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. JebgEncox

    Atorlip-10 https://pharmacylo.com/ Tadapox

    May 18, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. BbshMile

    how to get viagra without a doctor https://loxviagra.com/ – viagra drug interactions can you take cialis in the morning and viagra at night

    May 19, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. JebgEncox

    international online pharmacy http://pharmacylo.com/ pain relief

    May 19, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FmrfEncox

    cialis tadalafil. au https://cialisee.com/ – cialis price compare costa rica cialis sale

    May 19, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. vach ngan compact

    Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be
    on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say
    to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they plainly
    do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top
    and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    May 20, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RebfZisse

    cialis peru https://rcialisgl.com/ – where to get my prescription cialis filled cialis generic

    May 20, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. BbshMile

    buy viagra http://loxviagra.com/ viagra company

    May 21, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. GtnbCrulk

    can a woman take viagra https://jokviagra.com/ alternatives to viagra

    May 21, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. GtnbCrulk

    get viagra online http://jokviagra.com/ best viagra

    May 21, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. AnooEncox

    farmacia on line viagra http://llviagra.com/ how long does it take for viagra to expire

    May 22, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. cyclosporine

    cyclomune eye drops 1% buy cyclosporine online

    May 22, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. chloroquineorigin

    hydroxychloroquine nivaquine arechin buy chloroquine phosphate tablets https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 22, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RebfZisse

    canadian cialis no prescription http://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis shipping cialis professionel

    May 22, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. FmrfEncox

    cialis at costco http://cialisee.com/ – cialis reliable sites viagra levitra cialis offers

    May 23, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LbsoZisse

    generic cialis 20mg tablets http://ucialisdas.com/ – prolonged effects of cialis cialis pills for sale

    May 23, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Tritreviewifind

    where to buy generic cialis online safely https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ where to get tadalafil cialis without a prescription cheapest tadalafil cost

    May 23, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. LbsoZisse

    cialis buy info/ https://ucialisdas.com/ where can i buy original cialis

    May 24, 2021 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LebnEncox

    Cefixime http://xlnpharmacy.com/ cheap canadian drugs

    May 24, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. yIGVartvo

    YjMXQeWtb

    May 24, 2021 at 07:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. honest air fayetteville nc hvac repairs

    Keep this going please, great job!

    https://www.superbuttonsoccer.com/choosing-commercial-hvac-repair-services/

    May 24, 2021 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ac repair near fayetteville nc

    very nice! Ireally like your blog

    https://checkpointforarts.com/members/linklumber7/activity/399002/

    May 24, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. JebgEncox

    Plendil http://pharmacylo.com/ Plendil

    May 24, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Roof Cleaning Knoxville

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://smartwashtn.com

    May 24, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. combigan

    brimonidine combigan eye drops

    May 24, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. tausAffessy

    https://tadalafilww.com/ generic tadalafil from uk https://tadalafilww.com/ – canada generic tadalafil tadalafil drug

    May 24, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil daily online https://tadalafilol.com/ tadalafil cialis cialis without prescription tadalafil drug

    May 25, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JebgEncox

    foreign online pharmacy canada meds cheap prescription drugs

    May 25, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. MileSwa

    cialis 20mg overnight https://ckacialis.com/ – generic cialis price cialis is for daily use

    May 25, 2021 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Zisseloh

    cialis starting dose https://rcialisgl.com/ – genic cialis viagra vs cialis vs levitra cost

    May 25, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Unitmerienepeft

    tadalafil brands tadalafil daily online tadalafil cost in canada https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to zortilonrel


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.