Monday, December 4, 2023
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What is the R-Word-Should the Use Of R-Word Be Stopped

by Shafaq Sehar
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the R-Word

What’s the R word? A lot of people have been using the R word lately, but they may not be using it in the right context. For many folks, this term is only applicable to the actions of others and never themselves. Yet, it’s important to take responsibility when you hear this word and make sure you know when it applies to you and your own behaviors. Here are some scenarios where you should rethink your usage of the R word!

A brief history of the R word

The R word, and its more offensive cousin, retard, have been around for a long time. Most people use it as an insult or a slur against those with intellectual disabilities or developmental disorders like Down syndrome. But as awareness of these conditions increase so has awareness that we shouldn’t be using terms like retard in polite conversation.

Where does it come from

The r-word is derived from retarded, which comes from a shortened version of retardation. The term gained popularity in 2004 when it was featured on an episode of The West Wing. The characters on that show continued to use the r-word for several seasons—but by 2011, many members of its cast apologized for doing so and pledged to spread awareness about how hurtful it can be to those with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Why this hate towards mental illness exists

Some of it comes from ignorance and misunderstanding. Simply, people don’t know how to handle these conditions. They don’t know how to talk about them, or what questions to ask, or what to say (or not say). The result can be that many people simply avoid people with mental illnesses – they try to keep their distance because they’re afraid of saying something stupid or breaking a rule they don’t even know exists.


There’s so much more to r than meets the eye. But, if you’re struggling with r or just want to remember some of its most useful features, then hopefully you found something useful in today’s post. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

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