I thought it was worth printing this article that was written by John Franklin Stephens, a 26 year old man with Down syndrome. He expresses the personal side of this issue beautifully.
"So, what's wrong with "retard"? I can only tell you what it means
to me and people like me when we hear it. It means that the
rest of you are excluding us from your group. We are
something that is not like you and something that none of
you would ever want to be. We are something
outside the "in" group. We are someone that is not your kind.
I want you to know that it hurts to be left out here - alone.
Nothing scares me as much as feeling all alone in a world
that moves so much faster than I do. You don't mean to make me
feel that way. In fact, like I say in some of my speeches,
"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,"
and it works out OK most of the time. Still, it hurts and scares
me when I am the only person with intellectual disabilities on the
bus and young people start making "retard" jokes or references.
Please put yourself on that bus and fill the bus with people who
are different from you. Imagine that they start making
jokes using a term that describes you. It hurts and it is scary.
Last, I get the joke - the irony - that only dumb and shallow
people are using a term that means dumb and shallow.
The problem is, it is only funny if you think a "retard"
is someone dumb and shallow. I am not those things,
but every time the term is used it tells young people that it is
OK to think of me that way and to keep me on the outside.
That is why using "retard" is a big deal to people like me."
I'm all for people sending Hollywood a message that we don't want the kids in our society being influenced with this kind of material. Next on the listen-up-Hollywood-agenda--modesty, purity, profanity, immorality...... enough, do you get why I don't have much to do with the whole movie industry?