Should this include a trigger warning? Maybe, but I hope not.
This entry is about the word retarded becoming taboo today. This is surprising to a lot of people. Heck, the DSM – that big book of mental disorders – changed its terminology to exclude it only recently, and that caught me by surprise too, and for good reason.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I just left an online writing group because everyone went batty after a guy said “wetodded” to refer to an emotionally stunted person who wasn’t in the group.
(I think it was baby talk for “retarded’)
Some found the post funny, lots found it offensive, and I took it in, knowing how I’ve been raised on this idea that we should take the intent of the words we use, which in this context, was pretty clearly referring to an emotionally stunted person — someone with an Alpha complex.
I think in Great Britain that word is even more offensive than in the states, but to me, is emotionally retarded that strong a pejorative? The second word itself, the one with that charge, I know it’s got a similar history as the word “idiot” – rooted in Europe’s first IQ tests, and whatnot. The reaction I saw is amazing when from what I know, there was a time where “retarded” and “idiot” were on the exact same scale.
(And for the record, having my lil psych degree and having worked in disability and determined benefits for Americans qualified as mentally retarded – I’m pretty sure that was the #1 case process – I’ve got my own strong opinions about both as term.)
But the point, which started out funny, and I guess even could have escalated to a discussion of hate speech, instead became pages, pages, and pages of back and forth, which constantly brought that post to top with more embarrassing bicker. Folks, blech! This’s the issue to me: people spent 12 hours — half a day arguing, and clearly only did that thing people often do in debates where everyone only got more deeply entrenched in their original view when they all could have read or watched something great during that time! That would’ve been infinitely more entertaining, and then some. Everyone could have easily identified where they’re coming from, decided on a consensus conclusion, and moved on.
Anyway, it lead to the drive for eyebleach, because people’s willingness to go to arms for 12+ hours ultimately just makes me want to bow out, and stop getting notifications (which I got even after unsubbing….I hate that.)
Anyway, safe space is great, but writing communities that can’t commune about words just don’t seem too safe to me.