Monday, July 27, 2009


I came across some writer’s guidelines the other day where the publication wants to make sure that, if it ever comes up, you use the term “intellectually challenged” instead of “mentally retarded.” Why did I give a little snort when I saw that, you ask?

Because my mom’s sister is mentally retarded and we’ve always called it that. Because mean kids and other jerks have always used the word “retarded” in a sentence to mean something bad, the term “mentally retarded” is now seen as horrific or something.

If I said “intellectually challenged” in front of my mom’s family, they would laugh their asses off.

So call me height-challenged, kindness-challenged and sanity-challenged. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, I’m still short, bitchy and crazy. And don’t forget cleanliness-challenged (i.e., messy).


  1. It's interesting because no matter how they polically correct it it will be used negatively. When my kids(teens) are goofing off they'll say "well that's challenged" instead of "that's retarded" now. I remember my older kid calling someone "basic" because that's the name of the program for the "intellectually challenged" at her school. They keep changing the name and the mean people keep abusing's not the words that need to change but the attitudes.

    Good post. Good point.

  2. ((Kerrie))

    I actually just came from another mom's blog and she is very hurt that the word "retarded" is being used in a bill. I see both sides of the issue; I really do.

    To me, black people are not African Americans. The Americans I know who came from Africa are WHITE and extraordinarily rich LOL.

  3. I am not a fan of political correctness on any front. The word means what it means and used that way there is nothing wrong with it. We don't need to change the "official" words, what we need to do is educate people that using the word in other contexts makes fun of people who are retarded and that is unacceptable. As Breeze suggested people will just start using the word "challenged" like they are retarded. Changing the name fixes nothing!

    I came across someone complaining about a bill where they are trying to take the word Retarded out of their state run programs. The person has a child with special needs of some sort and was upset and rightly so. While we are in this financial crisis funding for special needs services is getting cut like crazy. So instead of finding more funds to help the PEOPLE they are going to spend TONS of money to change every sign on every building, every piece of stationary and every other thing that involves changing the name, simply to be politically correct. That money certainly could be better spent, especially since the word retarded in that context is totally legit!!

  4. I agree. One of my older sisters is mentally retarded; that's what we've always called it. People look at me like I've sprouted three heads when I use it, though.

  5. Even before I was a counselor, I worked as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher. All of the professionals I know call it by its initials - MR. So, if you're going to refer to it in written form, it seems intelligent to write "mentally retarded (MR)", then, continue using the initials in the remainder of your article/story/book.

  6. i see both sides, too. but retarded just means slow ... like retarded growth or something similar. it doesn't have to be a bad word but i guess we could make the word "pink" into a bad word or an insult if we wanted.

    yeah, as for the african american crap ... my brother in law is BLACK and my best friend's husband is BLACK. i'm more peachy and sortof tan in the summer, but i guess i still get called WHITE and i'm sooo offended by it!


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