"I guess I have a lot of problems, so many that I don't have time to go into them all in detail. Suffice it to say I'm anal, obsessive, vain, quick to temper, overly introspective, lazy, judgmental, insecure, and self-righteous. Probably the most annoying thing about me is that I'm hugely opinionated. But I kind of make up for that by always being right."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Is This Offensive?

Over the course of my life I've met some people who are offended by the word "retard." Some very much so. It's one of those words like "Oriental" or "midget" that slipped into the Offensive column without any kind of notice being sent out. It's a little like when tipping moved from 15 to 20 percent. How's a person to know?

I've always wondered if retards themselves are offended by this term. In the first place, do retards know they're retards? Secondly, do they have the wherewithal to understand that being called one is offensive? And thirdly, do they care? Also, if they know they are and have the wherewithal to be offended, did they figure this out by themselves, or did some well-meaning acquaintance point it out to them?

I hate the idea of some poor, mentally-challenged person being made fun of. You should never call anybody stupid, least of all a stupid person. That's why I'm suggesting we now start calling retards "midgets." It may well confuse them, but, let's face it, they're confused much of the time anyway.

And while we're on the subject, how is "little people" any less offensive than "midgets?" I have the feeling that if the Disney movie had been called "Darby O'Gill and the Midgets," there wouldn't be such a hubbub over this issue. And as for "Oriental," I've always found the word very exotic. Which is more alluring: "She's from the Orient" or "She's from some whorehouse in Hong Kong?"

This may all seem a bit callous, but trust me, I know what it's like to be stereotyped. I know how labels like "tall" and "white" can make people assume certain things about you. How labels such as "talented" and "great in bed" can haunt you all of your life. I'm just asking my retarded, midget, Oriental friends to realize, as I have, that life is too short to fret over such things. You've got to grab life by the balls -- which for you midgets should be easy, 'cause they're right there in your face -- and realize that the only person who can hurt you is you. Which is why retards should always wear protective helmets.

Anyway, I think you get my point. In the final analysis we're all just one big family. Except, of course, for the Orientals.