Many people think it is OK to use the word retard or retarded if they are not referring to an individual with a disability. I admit, that before Ben came along, I said it about myself on occasion, when ever I did something stupid. Since I did not have a personal connection with anyone who had a disability, I did not realize how hurtful this word was.
But the word does hurt. It hurts a lot! When you say the word in a derogatory way, it puts down people with disabilities, whether you are referring to them or not. It says you don't want to be like them. It makes them less.
Most people, when confronted (or educated), apologize right away and really try not say the word again. But believe me, speaking up in person, is not an easy task. There are times I have let it go because I did not think it would be worth the fight, and times that I turned on my Mama bear and took the lesson way to far. It is much easier to sit behind my computer and type this than it is to confront someone face to face. But I am committed to being an advocate for Ben, and because of that, I have to speak up.