Medical Term

I guarantee that no one belonging to the Association of Retarded Citizens thinks their title is demeaning.  It replies to a specific condition, mental retardation, which stunts the capacity to learn past a certain grade level.  Unlike genetic conditions like trisomy 21, it often caused by head trauma sustained at various points in life.  Unlike cerebral palsy, it does not necessarily affect coordination.  People can be mentally retarded while having full control of their bodies, or be genius level and still have cerebral palsy.


I say all this because my brother is mentally retarded, there is no other term for it (except for the acronym 'MR'), and I do not need to be chastised for using it in an appropriate context.  Thank you, and good day.

Honir Honir
26-30, M
6 Responses Feb 27, 2010

Of course it's a medical term, now...but language changes along with the attitudes of those who use it. Whatever we use to describe the term will always also be used as an insult. Just remember, imbecile was once used for the exact same purpose as mild to severe retardation is today.<br />
There's nothing wrong with any word on its own. It's just a matter of what ideas you use it to express. In that sense, I agree with this group. Even still, I don't use the word.

The ruling junta always finds words for categories - and in a Darwinian world - wouldn't most of us be dead?

I agree with fungirl.

Thank you for your respectful answer to my post. I don't think I will ever get past the cold chills of disgust that the word brings to surface in me but I do agree that it is the word that the AMA uses to describe severely developmentally delayed individuals. Maybe some day they will wake up and realize what lay people have made this word and change it. When they do I am going to come back and write about it. I promise you that and you know I am true to my word.

I understand that perfectly, fungirl, but mentally challenged is an overly broad term for me, personally.<br />
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If I'm speaking to someone who might be offended by the term, I'll explain that my brother is "severe MR," but I have no trouble defining that term. Any word associated with disability can be used to be offensive, but I think it's important to make a distinction between the abusive use of a word and bad word. "Retarded" is not a bad word, it's a very descriptive one to people who understand the terminology, it just can be used in a hurtful way.

I know that you mean no disrespect in your comments honir and I respect your right to express them. However I have to agree with Aseven that it makes me nervous when discussing the topic, first because my sister has a mental illness, second because one of the most important people in my life has a mentally challenged child. When I looked up the definition of retarded in the dictionary I found....ADJECTIVE: Often Offensive- Affected with mental retardation. Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed. I would kick the *** of any person in my real life who referred to my sister as crazy or loony or any other negative label for her mental illness and the word retarded is not one I would choose to refer to a mentally challenged individual because I know how it feels to hear others talk of my sister in offensive terms and I see what it does to her. I think that people have made the word retarded a bad thing because of the slang way it has been used over the years to describe things that have nothing to do with mentally challenged individuals. It is people who have made this an offensive word, and a lot of persons find it to be an offensive word or it would not be coded that way in the American Heritage Dictionary. I prefer to use mentally challenged instead.