Monday, August 3, 2009

FW: Im 45% Retarded! Rock on

At the bottom of this post is an email my daughter has received many times over the weekend. She initially replied to it, and now I've started to. It disappoints me that so many preteens (and even adults) think that this is okay, that using the word "retarded" as a slur is acceptable. I have a hard time believing how wildly popular this email is compared to all the other junk they forward each other.

As my husband says, we have an uphill battle against the use of the term in such a way. My daughter's response:

"please don't use the word retard or retarded or forward this to other people. It's just as bad as racist terms. I have a great-uncle who is developmentally disabled and he's a great person! Thanks!"

So far we've only received one "yes ma'am" back (goodness) and one "you can't control me." Others have apparently not read what she wrote and forwarded it again anyway.

The email:

This is funny!

This is interesting to see if u can remember if u did this
Lets find out how retarded u r.
1st read mine then press forward and erase my answers and put an X between [] if it is true. Wen ur done mark ur grade @ the top and reply to every1 u can (including the person who sent it 2 u)
>>>> 1. [x] You have choked on water before.
>>>> 2. [x] You have tripped into a pole
>>>> 3. [x] You have walked into a door.
>>>> 4. [] You have pushed a door the wrong way
>> 5. [x] You have walked into a wall.
>>>> 6. [x] You have fallen going UP the stairs. >>
>> 7. [x] You have jumped off something.
>>>> 8. [] You have been electrocuted
>> 9. [] You have put metal/aluminum in the microwave.
>> 10.[] Right after a commercial comes on you have forgotten the show you were watching.
>> 11. []You have forgotten something that someone said.
>>>> 12. [x] You barely ever understand stuff / jokes, or it takes a long time to figure them out.yea
>>>> 14. [] You have bled and not even noticed it. >>

15. [] You've worn something backwards / inside out the whole day without knowing.
>>>> 16. [] you have stuck a fork / knife in a toaster before.
>> 17. [] You have played with fire.
>>>> 18. [] You've stepped on a flat iron / curling iron / straightener.
>>>> 19. [x] You didn't even notice there wasn't a number 13 in this quiz.
>> 20. [x] You just checked to see if there wasn't a number 13.

>>>> Now count how many x u have and find out the percent>>>> So how retarded are u??
>> 0% - 0/20 x's>> 5% - 1/20 x's>> 10% - 2/20 x's>> 15% - 3/20 x's>> 20% - 4/20 x's>> 25% - 5/20 x's>> 30% - 6/20 x's>> 35% - 7/20 x's>> 40% - 8/20 x's>> 45% - 9/20 x's>> 50% - 10/20 x's>> 55% - 11/20 x's>> 60% - 12/20 x's>> 65% - 13/20 x's>> 70% - 14/20 x's>> 75% - 15/20 x's>> 80% - 16/20 x's>> 85% - 17/20 x's >> 90% - 18/20 x's >> 95% - 19/20 x's>> 100% - 20/20 x's

>>>> write the percent u got and send this to all of your friends and send it to the person who sent it to u.>>


yanub said...

That whole "you can't control me," "you're not the boss of me" thing should promote a new email meme: Will you live forever in your parents' basement? Anyone who answers "yes" to "Do you use the word 'retarded' as an insult?" is doomed to be a basement dweller. And have stinky breath.

Good for your daughter for standing up against peer pressure and making a positive difference. At least one person has been moved to think about what they say, and that one person will influence someone else.

Oh, I looked at the list of things in the email. My daughter and I, whenever we do anything like that sort of stuff, reference the Far Side cartoon: School for the Gifted! Yes, I am too smart for such petty things as paying attention to what I am doing. Whereas I have yet to see a developmentally disabled person walk into a door. People always associate unwanted traits with stigmatized groups, regardless of who actually possesses those traits.

FridaWrites said...

Ha ha, that meme idea is funny. Or: "do your parents have any control over you either?"

We've thought about sending the ban the "R word" petition around, but it seems heavy handed yet--in time. They forward so much junk to each other when it could be more constructive.

It should say, "how clumsy are you?"--at least I think etymologically that word is okay. And true--I really don't remember my uncle walking into things or tripping or spilling anything as the rest of us do.

Lisa Moon said...

Gah! Was just leaving a comment when my browser crashed... and poof, it's gone!

Anyway, what I was going to say was:

Good for your daughter for her reply! Hopefully some of those kids will 'get it' and the others will fall the way of natural selection or something.

That and I was going to note that I see many similar such 'quizes' using the term 'gay' as a slur.

Funny, I thought when I fell up the stairs, stumbled into the walls and so on it was because I have a neurological disorder in my leg, not because I'm 'retarded' or 'gay'. Who knew?

Anyone know of any treatments for 'retardedness' or 'gayness' for me?

FridaWrites said...

You're right--I also see "gay" used in a derogatory way too, also by adults as well as preteens. My daughter's also taken that one on before--in a conservative area where many would disagree, that means a lot.

The only treatments I know of for discrimination are good educational campaigns, like the Ban the R word campaign. I hope that these casual, mean uses of these two words (and others) stop.

Jason Nolan said...

True. But idiot was also a technical term, along with moron and retarded. It just isn't now. Disabled is under fire. Special Needs will soon be gone. Challenged... hmmm... what else. I was a mentally challenged adult, now I have an intellectual disability. intellectual disability has to go, because it denigrates my great intellectual abilities that are concomitant with the disability. Laa laa laa ad nauseam.

I like how language woofs and warps over time, so I don't mind that retarded is no longer a term of mental challenge, and is in the common parlance of youth. It will give them something to reflect on when they 'grow up'. Something I hope they get around to doing sooner rather than later. :P

FridaWrites said...

Hi, Complicity, good to see you. I guess I don't like idiot because I've read Faulkner so many times--teachers and critics pick up his term rather than the more contemporary ones! It's very strange.

I like the phrase "woof and warp." Locally, where I am, retarded is still used to describe disability and as a slur both, so that may be a regional difference.