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Old 24th September 2016, 01:43 PM
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Default Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

Is it too PC now to think that certain mere words can offend and should be avoided to placate the minorities?

I don't think so. Some people think that words don't hurt people and we should not be dictated to by anyone else trying to tell us what we can and cannot say. I agree that our freedom of speech should not be restrained, unless it can be shown that others have suffered some sort of harm.

Examples of disability slurs that offend me are retard, (said as REE-tard, not Re-TARD, fucktard, and to a lesser extent, lame. They harm me because my feelings are hurt as I have kids that have mental and physical disabilities. To say that retard means slow and lame means feeble doesn't make me feel any better, especially when the intent is obvious. These are words that have been used to vilify people with intellectual disabilities.

Is it best to avoid these words in polite conversation? I think so, as other words are available that cause less offense and are more communicative.
Are these "magic" words and don't really matter as they don't cause any real harm?

A single letter change may alter their meaning anyway and they are just letters grouped together, so what's the big deal?

The deal is that these type of words are often used as insults to undermine disabled people and their friends and family. Bullying of the disabled is to be condemned and it is a poor defense to declare, "they're only words, words can't hurt." Words can and do hurt, that's why we have a bullying policy within our schools and workplaces.

In Australia we have the great benefit of free speech. I'm not demanding that people stop using those type of words, I'm just asking them to consider using more appropriate words. Just because you can say something, it doesn't mean you should.
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Old 24th September 2016, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

I agree wholeheartedly.

The right to free speech should not and does not protect you from its consequences.

As an aside, in Australia we do have a lot of freedom but not any constitutional right of free speech.
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Old 24th September 2016, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

We don't have free speech in Australia, not guaranteed by law like in the USA at any rate.

That aside, who here is defending that sort of arsehattery anyway?

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Old 24th September 2016, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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SEG said View Post
Examples of disability slurs that offend me are retard, (said as REE-tard, not Re-TARD, fucktard, and to a lesser extent, lame. They harm me because my feelings are hurt as I have kids that have mental and physical disabilities. To say that retard means slow and lame means feeble doesn't make me feel any better, especially when the intent is obvious. These are words that have been used to vilify people with intellectual disabilities.
As an aside and in a historical context the word retard was itself adopted as a less insulting term to the ones that were already in general use for people with mental and physical disabilities, that is moron, imbecile, feeble minded and idiot. It's quite likely that any word we decide to use to describe a person with a disability will eventually be co-opted by people as a pejorative against able bodied persons. I expect eventually the term disabled will also one day need to be discarded as being insulting and demeaning.

All this said, it doesn't in any way detract from your statement and feelings and I do not in any way disagree with what you wrote.
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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As an aside and in a historical context the word retard was itself adopted as a less insulting term to the ones that were already in general use for people with mental and physical disabilities, that is moron, imbecile, feeble minded and idiot. It's quite likely that any word we decide to use to describe a person with a disability will eventually be co-opted by people as a pejorative against able bodied persons. I expect eventually the term disabled will also one day need to be discarded as being insulting and demeaning.

All this said, it doesn't in any way detract from your statement and feelings and I do not in any way disagree with what you wrote.
Exactly right. if any segment of the population is marginalized, the word by which we describe that segment eventually is seen as insulting or hurtful, and the word gets replaced by some other term, as if that will magically remove the marginalization. Eg, in the USA, Negro > Coloured > Black > African American. (with the weird consequence that Americans think that Africa is populated by African Americans!)
As long as we assume the prejudice is in the word and not in the behavior, we'll keep going in circles.
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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Goldenmane said View Post
We don't have free speech in Australia, not guaranteed by law like in the USA at any rate.

That aside, who here is defending that sort of arsehattery anyway?
I think you yourself, GM used the word "fucktard" in a recent post, if I'm not mistaken. This is not to say that you are advocating it.

There was a thread on this forum a while ago titled "adventures in tard", and as I recall at least two forum users explicitly advocated use of the term and rejected my suggestion that it should be changed.
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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We don't have free speech in Australia, not guaranteed by law like in the USA at any rate.

That aside, who here is defending that sort of arsehattery anyway?
I think you yourself, GM used the word "fucktard" in a recent post, if I'm not mistaken. This is not to say that you are advocating it.
I'd be surprised. Fuckardery, perhaps, but I do make a serious effort not to call people names, even if they aren't members of any particular forum or whatever that I'm on. It's been that way for a good decade or so.

I'm fairly familiar with the offensiveness of the term 'retard', and refrain from using it in any pejorative sense. I will, however, defend the use of the word in a sentence like, "Dogmatic thinking retards intellectual development." - a discussion around precisely this use of the term with the inestimable Mr Black many moons ago covered this in some detail, arising from the fact that Mr Black had suffered harm in exactly the context we're referring to in this thread.

The word itself is not inherently harmful. What rene=ders it harmful is the context of use.

This is, interestingly, the first time I've ever come across anyone objecting on this basis to "fucktard", but given that I refrain from calling people names anyway (see the fucking first post in the "Corollary" thread), I don't think there's a case for me to answer.

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There was a thread on this forum a while ago titled "adventures in tard", and as I recall at least two forum users explicitly advocated use of the term and rejected my suggestion that it should be changed.
Aye, and whilst I don't think I participated in the thread, I also don't know that you made a very compelling case. If the thread was called Adventures in Idiocy?
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Old 24th September 2016, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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Goldenmane said View Post
I'd be surprised. Fuckardery, perhaps,
Assuming a typo on your part, you are correct. It was in your thread Exposition on rule #3,

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You can't use a tool which highlights shitty thinking to excuse shitty thinking. That's fucktardery of the first degree
I assume your position is that there is adequate distance between your language in this case, and the R-word used as a pejorative. I did make the link, which is why I remembered the post. Perhaps if one compared it to the imaginary portmanteau "nigcuntery", it might help explain my immediate response.

That distance could be hard to quantify when it comes to the process of pejoration. We are constantly on the run from this process, whereby functional, medical terms are redefined as insults in popular use, and we have to come up with new words when discussing our children's disabilities. In the case of the word idiot, used so powerfully by Shakespeare in Macbeth some 400 years ago, I think the distance is great. Most people are oblivious to that fact that the word was once a more functional term. So no, I wouldn't mind if the thread was "Adventures in Idiocy".

"Mentally retarded", though, is still fresh enough for my dear mother to use it in ignorance, not realising that it now has baggage. My friend George, whose disability was caused by polio, had very strong opinions about the word "spastic", which he'd heard used as an insult and as a badge of righteous charitable pride (The Spastic Centre) for much of his life.

I think also that the interpretation of modern words can be more hotly disputed because electronic communication has accelerated the process of pejoration, while at the same time a greater awareness of minority rights, especially since the 1960s, has increased the liklihood that there will be resistance to the use of those words. So people will be exasperated when they are called out for using a taboo word they didn't realise was taboo.

I also know a person on the autism spectrum who is rather hurt at the emerging pejorative "sperg".

Last edited by stylofone; 24th September 2016 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 24th September 2016, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

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stylofone said View Post
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Goldenmane said View Post
I'd be surprised. Fuckardery, perhaps,
Assuming a typo on your part, you are correct. It was in your thread Exposition on rule #3,

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Goldenmane said View Post
You can't use a tool which highlights shitty thinking to excuse shitty thinking. That's fucktardery of the first degree
Aye, a typo. "Fucktardery" is obviously what I was going for, and I thank you for the gracious assumption.

Quote:
I assume your position is that there is adequate distance between your language in this case, and the R-word used as a pejorative. I did make the link, which is why I remembered the post. Perhaps if one compared it to the imaginary portmanteau "nigcuntery", it might help explain my immediate response.
I'm not sure that clarifies it for me. Hypotheticals of that sort rarely seem to clarify anything much, because they are specifically designed to obfuscate, or at least spin things rather than explain.

This may well be down to my brain. It's entirely possible that I'm missing something here. But I can only go with how I consider and cogitate, and it strikes me that your imaginary example "nigcuntery" is utterly divorced from "fucktardery". It's not even constructed the same, aside from the "ery" bit at the end.

Quote:
That distance could be hard to quantify when it comes to the process of pejoration. We are constantly on the run from this process, whereby functional, medical terms are redefined as insults in popular use, and we have to come up with new words when discussing our children's disabilities. In the case of the word idiot, used so powerfully by Shakespeare in Macbeth some 400 years ago, I think the distance is great. Most people are oblivious to that fact that the word was once a more functional term. So no, I wouldn't mind if the thread was "Adventures in Idiocy".
Hang on. Shouldn't you be more offended? "Idiot" being now exclusively a pejorative term?

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"Mentally retarded", though, is still fresh enough for my dear mother to use it in ignorance, not realising that it now has baggage. My friend George, whose disability was caused by polio, had very strong opinions about the word "spastic", which he'd heard used as an insult and as a badge of righteous charitable pride (The Spastic Centre) for much of his life.
I had a cousin who was "spastic". MS, I think. Nice bloke, smart and funny. I learned early that "spastic" wasn't supposed to be an insult. Except when it was, and then whoever did so can be challenged. Just like "gay" should not be an insult or term of disparagement.
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Old 24th September 2016, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Don't Defend Disablist Drivel in the Name of Free Speech

Isnt the issue just intent? 'Retard' is an adjective and a verb, as a noun its very dodgy...but to say someones reasoning is retarded is to say that their reasoning is restrained by something, ie, a lack of rational analysis.

Fucktard, used as a noun, surely just means someone who is being obnoxious with little clarity of analysis.

This is not to ignore that fact that people may find a word offensive but people may find any word offensive if it is repeatably used offensively so again, it comes down to intent, doesnt it?
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