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Old 11-11-2009, 06:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
Bill Haverchuck
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It's interesting how people view words differently over time. For example, for more than half of the 20th century, the commonly used technical terms for people with intellectual disabilities were "Moron", "Imbecile", and "Idiot." Yes, at one point, those were actual medical terms. After the second world war, most of mainstream society became familiar with those terms. Consequently, many school children (and asshole adults) began to use those terms as everyday insults. If you spoke with someone who grew up during the 50's or 60's, they'd probably tell you that they see no difference between the word "idiot" and "retarded." They're both equally insulting. At some point, probably during the 60's or 70's, there was a big push to get people to stop using the words "moron" and "idiot." It had some success amongst school children. Unfortunately, mainstream culture adapted and picked up the new terms "retard" and "retarded." I find this interesting in a sad way because people who grew up after the 60's and 70's are unfamiliar with the nasty history of "moron" and "idiot." So now you have people picking up the old terms, like "moron" and"idiot", without any sense of their roots (similar to how people use n*g*er), as well as people who say "retarded." And, in some cases, you even have people saying "don't say retarded" but they let the words "moron" or "idiot" slide.

Anyways, we all sometimes say things that are offensive without necessarily intending to offend. Most people today don't know the extent of the historical baggage associated with the word "moron." I've seen a handful of people use it here, and I'm sure they were NOT trying to offend other users; they were just venting. I hear people use "moron" all the time without flinching. Context is very important when it comes to words. I am not making excuses, but rather providing some context and food for thought. I will try hard not to use the word "retarded." Unfortunately, I've done that before.

Out of curiousity, how do people feel about the words "moron" and "idiot"? Are they more acceptable now? Or, due to their historical baggage, should they be treated with the same sensitivity as "retard(ed)"?
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