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The R-word is not funny

Posted Oct 15 2008 12:12pm

  Warrick Publishing: Editorial

Why is intellectual disability funny?
DreamWorks’ new comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which recently opened in theaters, includes a character called “Simple Jack” played by actor Ben Stiller. Simple Jack has an intellectual disability (formerly commonly referred to as “mental retardation”) and is an object of derision in the film. The movie contains frequent use of the word “retard” (in fact, it is said 16 times in one scene in the film) and other insulting terms to describe this character.
The movie brings to light an issue that deserves attention. The “R-word” or “retard” has found a place in common language and seems to be generally accepted. The word hurts, even if it is not directed at a person with intellectual disabilities. It is time to take a stand against a word that has gained popularity in culture, but is offensive to so many.

It is time for a simple change — stop using the “R-word.”
Mocking people that we know have historically been oppressed (such as African Americans) or have some type of physical disability (such as persons with paraplegia) is, thankfully, generally not considered funny these days. Yet, some people are less enlightened in their attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities. While the “N-word” is firmly prohibited, the “R-word” is still widely accepted in our homes, schoolyards and movie theaters.
Why is that? Perhaps people are unaware of the fundamental disregard for the rights and well-being of people with intellectual disabilities in most parts of the world. Perhaps people are unaware that intellectual disability is a condition usually developed in utero and not one for which people volunteer. Perhaps people have not read about children with Down Syndrome in underdeveloped countries tied to their beds for years in filthy institutions; or about the estimated 80 percent of girls and women in this country with intellectual disabilities who are sexually abused. Perhaps people are not aware that more than six million individuals with intellectual disabilities in the United States have suffered severe consequences including: institutionalization, physical, sexual and emotional abuse; denial of education, employment and healthcare; and segregation and targeted hate crimes

Maybe if only more people knew, they would not find using the R-word funny

The R-word is not funny
I totally agree with this article people with intellectual disabilities shouldn't be the focus of a comedy it's hurtful and disrespectful to a group of people who already have a heavy burden as the above article points out. I have a family member with an intellectual disability so I can identify with this opinion I think we should all stop using the R-word we can all do our part to make this a more tolerant, caring and understanding world some people think words are trivial and insignificant I strongly disagree

In addition to the sites mentioned in the article you can visit the category sites and blogs promoting tolerance and please bookmark it I will be adding more sites about tolerance as I find them if you have any suggestions for sites I should add to this category please e-mail me at

Tolerance and caring for one another is very important.

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