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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1262 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  11:05:36  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
Link

We all know the words "idiot," "moron," and "retard" are hurtful. Each of these, though, has been used as a diagnosis (ok, the last is actually "mental retardation," not "retard," but you get the point). People who are diagnosed with this affliction don't like the label. It turns out the word that was originally technical becomes an insult over time. This has happened with each of the above terms.

Now, because of social pressure, these words have lost their original meaning. They are only technical terms in very rare, specific instances. Some people are pushing for a change to the diagnosis. I say that changing the name will only provide a new word that will become an insult over time, eventually rendering each of these words meaningless.

I agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Lucius Mangrum Jr, who said, "Changing the word could possibly make it better. But also you got to change the attitudes. You know, because the attitudes is not changed, the word is not really going to matter."

Mr. Mangrum also pointed out, in reference to a possible name change, that, "when you talk about intellectual disabilities, that make you sound like you're dumb." I might be missing something fundamental, but isn't that part of the definition? Why try to sugar-coat the language and obscure the meaning?

Here's the problem as I see it: any name picked for a diagnosis will be used as an insult eventually. The only way to change this is to change the nature of people, who will make fun of people who are different. This, sadly, will probably never happen.

My proposed solution is this: stop changing the labels. Correct people who erroneously use the technical diagnosis frivolously. Ensure the people who are diagnosed understand that some people are mean and hurtful, but that should not effect anyone else's self image.

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  12:35:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Boron10:
My proposed solution is this: stop changing the labels. Correct people who erroneously use the technical diagnosis frivolously. Ensure the people who are diagnosed understand that some people are mean and hurtful, but that should not effect anyone else's self image.

Your solution is obviously best case. And that may also be its problem. I dunno…

William Burroughs said, “Language is a virus from outer space.”

quote:
His oft-quoted but widely misunderstood statement, "Language is a virus from outer space," was a polemic against the pitfalls of representational thinking -- for example, that which we call a "table" is only that because we assign the word "table" to it; confusing the word assigned to a thing with the thing itself leaves us open to manipulation...

Source.

I don't have a solution for the problem of words changing meaning over time, for whatever reason that it happens. But I can say that it isn't just a once perfectly good medical diagnosis problem.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  12:56:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Make the language prescriptive.

I'll sue the moron who calls me "mentally retarded" for making a false diagnose, and practising psychiatry without a license.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1262 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  13:17:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse:
Make the language prescriptive.

I'll sue the moron who calls me "mentally retarded" for making a false diagnose, and practising psychiatry without a license.
Bolding mine

But then, since you are calling this person a moron, you can get counter-sued.
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  13:51:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
Not if he has a good lawyer and says it in private.

Language is language here. There are a very few words that don't have a million different meanings in different contexts that people use erroneously. I think that this PC mess is stretching beyond its limits. If the general public starting calling mean people taunts like "What do you have a heart defect, or something" people with cardiac problems may get offended. The question is why. They must know that 'heart' here is used differently. Since moron, idiot, and retard mean mentally deficient. People who are mentally deficient cannot take offense at this use of the word, because they are mentally deficient. If I call someone freakishly tall, I mean unusually tall. If they are, then they should not take offense. If they do, its their problem. We should definitely teach manners and that words hurt, but when words are meant to hurt this training means nothing. Changing the meaning of words or making up new ones will never work because someone will always use the word in a hurtful manner. Accuracy in words is important, beyond that, I don't see a problem.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  14:34:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Another possible solution would be for these folks to follow the lead of the GLBT crowd, and take "ownership" of the words they don't like. Queers don't generally take offense at being called queers anymore, even if the word is thrown at them with the intent to hurt them. Instead, they chant it in the streets.

Of course, this may be difficult. The old technical meaning of "idiot" is anyone with a IQ below 25 or an intellectual age of three or less who needs constant care. I have my doubts that people so severely disabled will be able to effectively "own" the word again.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1262 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2007 :  15:44:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
Ok, I had some thoughts that relate to this, but are different enough to put in their own topic. Ultimately, the question becomes, "so what if you're offended?" If the shoe fits ....
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2007 :  14:08:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Actually there is very strong evidence words affect beliefs and perceptions. Think about incidences where a new term for an old 'thing' gave you insight about that thing because you saw it in a different light.

I know there are simpler examples than the following but I can't think of a good one so here's one I know well.

Nurses are about 90% of the reason one stays in a hospital. If you didn't need the nurse you could be ill at home. Yet nurses had a serious recognition problem. The reason was what nurses did, besides the basics, literally didn't have a vocabulary.

So nursing diagnoses and interventions were developed. We'd been doing the stuff for years but a lot of it remained invisible until it was described.



Edited by - beskeptigal on 02/02/2007 14:09:48
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1262 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2007 :  15:57:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal:
Actually there is very strong evidence words affect beliefs and perceptions. Think about incidences where a new term for an old 'thing' gave you insight about that thing because you saw it in a different light.

I know there are simpler examples than the following but I can't think of a good one so here's one I know well.

Nurses are about 90% of the reason one stays in a hospital. If you didn't need the nurse you could be ill at home. Yet nurses had a serious recognition problem. The reason was what nurses did, besides the basics, literally didn't have a vocabulary.

So nursing diagnoses and interventions were developed. We'd been doing the stuff for years but a lot of it remained invisible until it was described.
That is a very interesting point, and one that I hadn't really considered. With this in mind, isn't "mentally retarded" one of the most accurate terms available? After all, it describes somebody whose mental development was retarded in some way.

My girlfriend proposed a solution to the label/insult problem: make the word be some chemistry-style technical term that is so insanely complex that it cannot be introduced into the common patois.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2007 :  23:56:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Retarded means "slow" usually referring to speed. It isn't accurate and has acquired a negative connotation over time.

Intellectually challenged and differently abled are a bit too PC. I think people get carried away with PC stuff but I'd use the terms if they were less insulting. I have no problem with intellectual handicap but handicap has been rejected by the people who the label is used on in favor of disability. Intellectual disability then is the most accurate term I can think of but I'm not "the decider". I believe mentally disabled is the acceptable term used.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2007 :  01:36:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Retarded means "slow" usually referring to speed. It isn't accurate...
How is it not accurate? If someone's got an IQ of 80, it means that they've only developed to an intellectual age of eight when they're physically 10 years old. How is that not a reduction in the speed of their intellectual development compared to the norm?

Don't forget that high-IQ kids go into "accelerated" or "advanced" classes and programs. Should those terms also be considered inaccurate out of a sense of fairness?

When I was a kid, I was in a "superior learners" program. But even back then, the mentally retarded kids were "special education" students, and not "inferior learners."
quote:
...and has acquired a negative connotation over time.
So has the word "liberal," but that's exactly the point of this thread, is it not?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2007 :  01:43:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

Another possible solution would be for these folks to follow the lead of the GLBT crowd, and take "ownership" of the words they don't like. Queers don't generally take offense at being called queers anymore, even if the word is thrown at them with the intent to hurt them. Instead, they chant it in the streets.

Of course, this may be difficult. The old technical meaning of "idiot" is anyone with a IQ below 25 or an intellectual age of three or less who needs constant care. I have my doubts that people so severely disabled will be able to effectively "own" the word again.



That is basically what I am advocating.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2007 :  01:47:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Actually there is very strong evidence words affect beliefs and perceptions. Think about incidences where a new term for an old 'thing' gave you insight about that thing because you saw it in a different light.

I know there are simpler examples than the following but I can't think of a good one so here's one I know well.

Nurses are about 90% of the reason one stays in a hospital. If you didn't need the nurse you could be ill at home. Yet nurses had a serious recognition problem. The reason was what nurses did, besides the basics, literally didn't have a vocabulary.

So nursing diagnoses and interventions were developed. We'd been doing the stuff for years but a lot of it remained invisible until it was described.







Sociologists have long postulated that people conform to the labels society puts on them. Even in casual interaction someone will be in a 'funny/comic' mood if they recieve a few laughs or are expected to be a clown in the presence of someone who thinks of them as funny. This also applies to social stigmas.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2007 :  01:54:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

How is it not accurate? If someone's got an IQ of 80, it means that they've only developed to an intellectual age of eight when they're physically 10 years old. How is that not a reduction in the speed of their intellectual development compared to the norm?


Because they have stopped developing mentally. However, the term is accurate if they are slow to grasp an idea (I am using the term 'they' to mean the person to whom you are refering to when calling someone retarded, not someone 'mentally handicapped'). Meaning, that anyone can be retarded (just like any one can be ignorant).

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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