Did you see the news stories about Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word, “retarded” as a slur against his political opponents? It has spawned a number of conversations about the term mental retardation. Some are arguing for the removal of this term in legal and medical arenas. It is too closely connected to the abusive use of the word. Others, probably a small minority, even suggest not using the word retarded in other contexts unrelated to intellectual capacity (e.g., retarded growth, retarding energy consumption).
I’m not much of a fan of this latter idea. I remember when a DC official was castigated for using the term “niggardly” (having absolutely nothing to do with race) just because it sounded like the other “n” word. However, maybe we do need another term. Some are suggesting, “intellectual disabilities” “neurodevelopmental disorder” as options.
I’m for terms that are very descriptive and less pejorative. However, I will also say that stigma and the use of terms to harm will not change as the human heart that does such activity has not changed.
What do you think?