“Retard,” the Unknowingly Hurtful Word


James Burke

The drawing Burke drew, which won him the competition.

Jose Balcazar, Staff Writer

Every day many students refer to one another as “retard” due to an action that that someone commits that one might consider ludicrous or foolish. One of the major common forms of the use of word occurs when someone is attempting to force someone to feel submissive or condescended upon. The word “retard” in many cases is connected to bullying, which recently has become a prominent issue in high schools all over the country.

According to Make Beats Not Beat Downs, a non-profit organization that strives to influence students to be expressive through the arts, music, and education rather than through physical means, 1 out of 7 students in grades k-12 is either a victim of bullying or a bully themselves. Applying this statistic to Gables, approximately 486 out of 3400 are bullied. This emphasizes the magnitude of this issues present in schools around the country and infers the effects that many students have due to bullying. Although bullying does not have one simplistic definition, it does pertain to the general idea of harassment and discrimination. In many cases nation-wide, the infamous insult, “retard,” is used frequently without the acknowledgement of its effects.

When asked about how she felt about the use of word retard in confrontations and arguments junior Carla Steighorst said ” One of the worst things that I see occur everyday is how people use the word retard to make someone feel terrible for something they did; in most cases the bully, generally, does not know the actual meaning of the word.”

Although many take this word carelessly, many do not realize that the term “retard” was originally used to define someone who has an IQ lower than 70 and encounters many comprehension issues during their life-time. Coral Gables Sr. High provides students with the ability to break the barrier between stereotypes and discrimination through the involvement of clubs such as Best Buddies. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that provides a medium where that creates one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ms. D’ Alemberte, the Best Buddies sponsor at the Gables Chapter says “When people use the word, they do not understand the harm that it can cause and the actual definition of such term.”

With the aid of clubs such as Best Buddies and other organizations, the sole purpose is to provide connections between people who have disabilities with those who do not is achieved.Furthermore, by spreading awareness of the denotation of the word, we will stop the use of “retard” in its derogatory form.