Why is the "r" word offensive to me?
That "r" word, for those not in the circle of those that deal with the word on a regular basis, is "retarded" or "retard".
And here are my thoughts on the subject... I hope you'll share your own responses in the comments!
For me, it's as simple as- Would you like it if someone messed up and said "That's so (your name)" or even more generic, "that's so 28 yr old girl". Or "that's so tennis players" or whatever! It's just not something ANYONE would want to be categorized into. So why say "that's so retarded"?
It's just not nice no matter how they justify it.
Some people justify "if I was to say "that's so Meredith" while you're sitting there and say it joking you would laugh". Ok, maybe I would. But would I also be hurt? Probably (even if it's just a little)! And even when "said in jest" you're saying it about a person who is NOT there and who you do NOT know. And who does NOT know it's in jest if they happen to overhear it (or their parents!)
And don't get me started on people that would say it right to someone's face. Yikes.
We have laws about hate language against people of different cultures, colors, and gender preferences. But the ones that can't speak up for themselves seem to be overlooked all too often.
If you're one of the many, MANY people that feel that parents of children that are labeled as 'mentally retarded' are hyper-sensitive to this subject, I suggest you think about if your own child was disabled in a car accident and came home with brain injury. A new diagnosis of mental retardation. And you go out and hear someone in the car next to YOU say "man, I'm glad *I* don't have a retarded kid". I bet you might be a little sensitive to it too...