‘Tards


Following is a conversation that took place on Facebook, apparently yesterday, between my friend Caryl and a couple other people (I’ve copied and pasted an excerpt of the convo, and deleted last names):

Brandon – Even worse are the tards that think they will ever charge to be on facebook.

4 hours ago · Like

Kristie – No shit!

3 hours ago · Like

Caryl – Sorry Kris, You know I love ya but I’ve got to call out your friend Brandon. Using the word “tards” show ignorance and it is really mean. I love someone who is not the same as everyone else and struggles to learn. He is not a “tard.” He is a lovely person who has learning difficulty. So give it a rest Brandon.

2 hours ago · Like

Kristie – Ahh he is a collage grad. I’m not worried bout him, he can handle his own..

about an hour ago · Like

Brandon – Someone’s a little uptight. It’s facebook, why don’t YOU give it a rest. I didn’t stand up in front of a special ed. class and call them retards. I was talking about stupid people with full capabilities and if you can’t handle that it is part of the vernacular of society currently you’re the one with a problem. I’m guessing that you weren’t a fan of Tropic Thunder.

about an hour ago · Like

Kristie – I thought tards was better then I wanted to say.. haha

about an hour ago · Like

Caryl – Retard is as insulting as using a racial slur. You can insult me all you want Brandon. Using that word makes you look like an ignorant ass. Nigger used to be part of the “vernacular of society,” whatever the fuck that means. You see, I am not a goody two-shoes. I just hate ignorance.

a few seconds ago · Like

You know, it just hurts.  And the rationalizations people come up with – really, they’re so predictable.  It’s either the Freedom of Speech argument, or the “I didn’t mean it like that” argument, or the “I didn’t say it to an actual retard, so what’s the problem?” argument.  This guy’s argument being a variation of the latter.

See, here’s the problem, Brandon – here’s maybe what you’re just not getting:  while you may not be using that word “in front of a special ed class,” what you are doing is comparing what you perceive to be the stupidity of “people with full capabilities” to the people with less than full capabilities.  You are making an insulting, derogatory, mean-spirited comparison: “You, person with full capabilities, are as stupid as people with disabilities!”  HA!  HA!  HA!  So funny!  It’s so clever and witty to make people who are different, who have cognitive challenges they are blameless for and powerless to not have, who will likely spend the vast majority of their lives working their asses off to try to compensate for their differences and challenges, the butt of your jokes!  And it definitely shows your intellectual superiority!

I don’t know this Brandon or this Kristie.  My friend Caryl forwarded the conversation to me because she was so upset about it.  I wish I could just blow this stuff off.  But it’s just another reminder that, by and large, the world still sees my son and people like him as less than, as nothing more than the butt of a joke or the perfect insult to throw around.

It hurts.  Even if you didn’t mean it like that.  Even if you weren’t saying it to my son.  It hurts.

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6 Comments on “‘Tards”

  1. Addie
    September 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Ive had this almost exact conversation on fb like this – but even more people took up for the offender and not one single person took my side… it was so amazingly hurtful that I cant even put it into words without becoming overwhelmed with my emotions.

    I just cannot understand wanting to remain ignorant… I just dont get it

  2. George
    September 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    No one wants to remain ignorant. But people want to feel daring, and saying “retard” feels daring, even though it’s just ordinary prejudice. Few of the people who say “retard” would dare ever use other, less-acceptable slurs more openly, so the daring involved is fairly mild.

    I think there are two problems with “retard.” One is that the logic behind “retard” is the same as the logic behind, say, “kike,” “chink,” or “faggot”: it takes a large population of individuals, then reduces them to a generic negative. In short, it dehumanizes.

    Second, as you said, Lisa, it causes pain. If it isn’t OK to stand up and call a special ed class “retards,” then by definition neither is it OK to use the word “retard” in a public forum–for exactly the same reason. To overhear “retard,” if you love someone who is intellectually disabled, is not that far from hearing that word aimed at the same person.

    • Lisa
      September 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, George. To me, It really all needs
      to boil down to one question: does a person want to be a negative force in the world and spread
      hate, or does a person want to be a positive force and spread acceptance and, dare
      I say it, love?

  3. Jennifer Varanini Sanchez
    September 28, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Excellent post once again Lisa…in tears over here.

  4. mumofone
    September 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I was really sad to read this. Brandon sounds like an asshat (loved that one from your list of substitute words a few years ago!!) and I’m not sure Kristie was much better. We are all diminished as a society if we dehumanize anyone whether for religious, cultural, social or “ability” reasons. I was impressed with Caryl’s response – when a few people have the courage to stand up for what’s right it gives others the courage to stand up too – reminds me of that quote “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – thanks to Caryl, Lisa, George, Addie, Kevin and many others who continue to be good men (and women) and do something!!!

  5. christina
    September 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Kristie’s response was even more disturbing in my mind b/c Caryl seems to actually “know” her. I dare Brandon to call a black person the N word in the name of free speech. I bet he would not dare because it is SO hurtful and wrong. He really needs to “get” why the R word is no different.

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