"THATS SO GAY!" "THATS RETARDED!" Is that wrong to say or is it just crazy Political Correctness?

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So I was watching tv today and within an hour, two different commercial about the slang use of the word "Gay" and "Retarded" came up. So I went on YouTube and found that there are many of these kinds of commercials.


The website for these commercials against how the word "Gay" can be used to mean something negative, is http://www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

As for the other commercial....


These commercial's that are against the negative use of the word "Retard(ed)" are associated with the website http://r-word.org/

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So now that you have seen the two kinds of commercials that I was referring to, what do my fellow escapist think? Do these commercials have the right message? Should there be discouragement of using the word "Gay" or "Retarded" to mean something/someone that is bad, stupid, dumb, unlikeable, or not wanted? Or are these commercials just the latest examples of political correctness going too far?
If you agree with the use of these commercials, then should these kinds of commercials be for other words as well? Here in the USA the word "Cunt" is thought of as very degrading to women and it is thought of as the equivalent of saying the word "Nigger" to someone who is
African-American, but what if there were US made commercials targeted at a UK audience to stop using the word "Cunt"? Would people in the UK stop using that word if the commercials portrayed the word "Cunt" as degrading to women?

If these kinds of commercials were proven effective, what other words would you want to see people encouraged to stop using in negative way or stop using at all?


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Personally, I found it weird that in the first "the r-word" commercial, that the term "intellectually disabled" was being used. It seemed a bit weird to me to replace the word "retarded" with "intellectually disabled", and it came off as people trying to hard to be political correct.

On a slightly unrelated note: When was the last time you heard Solomon with mobility issues take offence at someone saying "That's lame."?

Harlief:
On a slightly unrelated note: When was the last time you heard Solomon with mobility issues take offence at someone saying "That's lame."?

Today, actually.

On the OP: straight up inappropriate to say. Hurtful, degrading, homophobic, and ableist.

Usually, I hate seeing the term Political Correctness. Mostly because recently it's been used as a sort of shield for being bigoted and hurtful. You know the motions, someone says something hurtful or racist, but when they're called on it, they simply respond with how "political correctness has gone too far! Come and see the PC-agenda in action! Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

But then again, the whole PC-gone-too-far thing does exist for a reason. In this case, it's difficult to tell. It's not exactly a very impressive feat of language if you have to resolve to tired, random slurs like gay or retarded. But I don't think they really mean anything in the end. It's just classic teenage boys on Halo-language. But again, you shouldn't have to resort to slurs like that in the first place. Even more so if you intend to be taken seriously.

I'd imagine those commercials exist instead of one for "cunt" because they're targeting impressionable youths who use slurs without knowing better and could potentially grow up thinking less of homosexuals and the mentally challenged because of the language itself, on which point I think it's doing a lot more good than those hilarious "above the influence" commercials.

The gay thing was explained by South Park (sorry the only vid there was one of those fags ((ha!)) that filmed the TV)

But overall, it's slang. The meaning of the words completely change when used like they are.

Serge A. Storms:
I'd imagine those commercials exist instead of one for "cunt" because they're targeting impressionable youths who use slurs without knowing better and could potentially grow up thinking less of homosexuals and the mentally challenged because of the language itself, on which point I think it's doing a lot more good than those hilarious "above the influence" commercials.

Sorry about bring up the word "Cunt" but I don't know what is UK slang that could also apply to videos like these, so all I had to come up with was that hypothetical commercial about offending women. Can you think of some word that is used in the UK(or another Non-US region) where its usage describes a group of people and is used as a insult?

The "R word" makes descriptive sense. We immediately know what someone means when they say that some decision was retarded-- and not just because we know the patterns of how the word is used. No, it's because the word would work in a simile or metaphor just fine as well. We use 'retarded' pejoratively because it makes perfect sense that it would be insulting. It is a negative trait, much like the word 'moron' which was also a clinical description. I like the derogatory use of the word 'retarded'. It gives our language flavor.

Example! So I went to that "R word" site linked in the OP, and this is pretty special:

How "retardation" went from a clinical description to a word of derision

When they were originally introduced, the terms "mental retardation" or "mentally retarded" were medical terms with a specifically clinical connotation; however, the pejorative forms, "retard" and "retarded" have been used widely in today's society to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, when "retard" and "retarded" are used as synonyms for "dumb" or "stupid" by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.

What about people who are just dumb or stupid but not intellectually disabled? I guess they are less valued members of humanity, then? Why so? Because they don't have a clear medical excuse? That is pretty weak-- uh oh! I hope I haven't reinforced the notion that weak people are less valued members of humanity. A person is no more responsible for being stupid than he would be for having a specific mental disability, so I guess we need to get rid of the words 'stupid' and 'dumb' from ordinary discourse. After all, stupid people are people too.

usmarine4160:
But overall, it's slang. The meaning of the words completely change when used like they are.

I disagree. While that is certainly possible, it's yet to happen. Everyone remembers the connection with the homosexual community, and any number of other words like "gay" "homo" "poof" "fairy" are still used as insults.

Using "gay" as an insult when it's what the gay community is called...yeah, that's always going to be a problem.

...

IMHO, anything that relates to something not a person's choice shouldn't be an insult. Especially if it's not something that's actually wrong, like "gay".

thaluikhain:

usmarine4160:
But overall, it's slang. The meaning of the words completely change when used like they are.

I disagree. While that is certainly possible, it's yet to happen. Everyone remembers the connection with the homosexual community, and any number of other words like "gay" "homo" "poof" "fairy" are still used as insults.

Using "gay" as an insult when it's what the gay community is called...yeah, that's always going to be a problem.

...

IMHO, anything that relates to something not a person's choice shouldn't be an insult. Especially if it's not something that's actually wrong, like "gay".

The problem I have is, why do a minority group of people get to tell me what a words definition should mean? If its slang for the word Gay to mean homosexual, then why can't there be other slang uses as well? The same goes for the word queer, why should it have to pertain to sexuality? The word's definition in the adjective and verb form are used to describe something that is counterfeit, odd, weird, or unreasonable. If a person wants to use it to mean something that has to do with sexuality, then fine. But their choice to use the word for a purpose other than its original use, shouldn't prevent me from also using a word in a way that doesn't fit its original use.

thaluikhain:

usmarine4160:
But overall, it's slang. The meaning of the words completely change when used like they are.

I disagree. While that is certainly possible, it's yet to happen. Everyone remembers the connection with the homosexual community, and any number of other words like "gay" "homo" "poof" "fairy" are still used as insults.

Using "gay" as an insult when it's what the gay community is called...yeah, that's always going to be a problem.

...

IMHO, anything that relates to something not a person's choice shouldn't be an insult. Especially if it's not something that's actually wrong, like "gay".

I agree. As an example, we can imagine if someone started using the word "hispanic" in a derogatory sense. It would be difficult to argue that this would not be rude to hispanic people (just as an example, this would work out the same way with any race or ethnic group). It would quite clearly be offensive. As one's sexual orientation doesn't seem to be much more of a choice than one's race or ethnicity, using "gay" in this fashion is not any less wrong.

"Retarded" is a little bit different because the word itself has fallen out of favor as a descriptor of the mentally handicapped and that definition of it is perhaps becoming archaic. "Idiot" and "moron" went through this same process, starting out as specific, technical terms and becoming increasingly vague and colloquial. But it is generally accepted that calling someone a "retard" is politically incorrect and demeaning to people who are in fact "mentally retarded" so it makes sense that "retarded" has the same issue as "gay" when used in this way, even though it might not have the same issue if the more technical definition becomes archaic and falls completely out of regular use. What it may mean twenty years from now does not change whether it is offensive now.

"Political correctness" boils down to a very simple statement: Don't be a dick.

Nobody is telling you that your edgy hipster ass doesn't have the "right" to say whatever you damn well please. But do it knowing that it hurts people, and you're being a dick. If you're fine with hurting people and being a dick, go for it. But do not get upset that people are going to judge you for it.

Volf99:
The problem I have is, why do a minority group of people get to tell me what a words definition should mean? If its slang for the word Gay to mean homosexual, then why can't there be other slang uses as well? The same goes for the word queer, why should it have to pertain to sexuality? The word's definition in the adjective and verb form are used to describe something that is counterfeit, odd, weird, or unreasonable. If a person wants to use it to mean something that has to do with sexuality, then fine. But their choice to use the word for a purpose other than its original use, shouldn't prevent me from also using a word in a way that doesn't fit its original use.

Firstly, it's not merely a minority using a word that way, society as a whole does as well.

Secondly, nobody is saying that it's set in stone that that is what the word means for all time...but when it's used as an insult, it works because it means homosexuals, who range between "icky" and "kill it with fire" for many people. People using it as an insult are relying on and reinforcing homophobia.

To me, retard makes sense, it was meant to mean that someone was stupid on account of a disability, it simply means stupid. Its like imbecile, which means someone with severe mental retardation, I use that all the time and no one gets all up in arms about it, although that's likely more because its a bit more obscure.

For me its all about intent, when I say retard, I'm not out to disparage someone with a mental handicapped, I'm trying to illustrate that the person I'm insulting is acting like a person who has less control over their impulses, or who quite frankly don't have the mental capacity of a normal person. In addition, its not like the mentally handicap go by retard any more so its not like I'm taking their title and using it in a negative way.

As someone who has a gay brother, I never use gay as an insult, because the gay community has enough problems without their "title" being used in a negative way.

Those commercials were really shit and I imagine they're doing more harm than good to the cause. I think using slurs broadly shows that they are being disassociated with the thing they were initially aimed at, which is a good thing. I don't feel that showing some weird passive aggressive lady lecturing some kids after eavesdropping on their private conversation is likely to change behaviour or attitudes.

Maybe first stop considering homosexuality a sin and saying you really like a book that tells you to kill gays.

I think homosexual people prefer to be liked by other people and not immediately ostracized for their sexuality instead of everyone trying not to say 'gay'. South park made very clear that gay doesn't mean you heat homosexuals.

No, it's not wrong at all to say these words as they've undergone what's known as semantic shift; they've picked up a new meaning, where it's used to express displeasure at some sort of event.

i.e.

"That's so gay/retarded" - refers to someone disliking an event
"You're gay/retarded" - pushes the boundaries into discrimination

Words acquire new meanings all the time. I think South Park covered this really succinctly a while ago.

A friend of mine was a total asshole. If someone made a "I did your mom" joke he would suddenly get all serious and begin ranting "Oh really? You know my moms dead right? What did you go dig her up out of her grave? Feel good rubbing you dick up against her pelvic bone? ..." As soon as they seemed suitably embarrassed and squeamish he would laugh at them. His mom really was dead, he wasn't joking about that, but he thought it was hilarious to make people uncomfortable.

Personally I try to use as many "inappropriate" words as I can in a given day, but I try to use them properly.

For instance if someone knocks on the bathroom door tell them to "Please wait until my flow has retarded so I can flush in peace." Since retard means to slow.

Maybe i'm just messed up in the head but it seems to me there are situations in which you do and don't use words. Among my friends we call each other retard, fag, sissy, pansy, meathead, nazi, douche, and many more but used as terms of endearment.

I wouldn't use those words intended to offend someone, unless I intended them to do that. Lets be honest getting our friends butt hurt can be pretty amusing so long as they're the type who can look back and laugh at themselves.

I wouldn't go up to a retarded kid and start calling him a retard. There's a line, for me.

I don't talk about how awesome a time i had drinking alcohol around my AA aunt.

So yes I do think PC has gone too far, but only because it's like watching my little brother do a pull-up. Lots of effort, little results.

aPod:
So yes I do think PC has gone too far, but only because it's like watching my little brother do a pull-up. Lots of effort, little results.

This is one of the best analogies I've heard for political correctness. It's up there with the one comparing it to an attempt to "pick up a turd by the clean end".

Prejudice cannot be ended simply by changing how we speak. It's a small step in that direction and it's disturbing that people seem to think it's a big step... and that they are therefore off the hook when it comes to changing their actions.

thinkb4youspeak is so fucking gay. And what the hell is the 4 doing in there? Guess its targeting people who have abandoned good spelling in favor of being able to call something gay in less than 140 characters. "omg guyz, lik, tink b4 u spek. bing homopho is not cul."

Joking aside, I dont know man. I call stuff gay all the time. I have nothing against gay people, but for some reason the word gay is just embedded in my mind as a word to use in jokes or when expressing discontent with something.

Sure, I can see why it might bug some people, but its just not that big of a deal. In my eyes, its all not worth the effort. Its not worth the effort it would take me to drop the habit, and its sure as shit not worth a multi million dollar ad campaign.

Did that motherfucker just tell me what words to use in my own damn home?

Yeah, fuck you thinkb4 you speak. Im gonna be using the word gay a lot more often from now on.

Wait, it's seriously called "thinkb4youspeak?". They'd have a little more credibility when speaking about the use of language if they spelled "before" properly.

Well, I used to use gay as an insult when I was something like 2 years old. I don't know anybody above the age of 10 who seriously uses it. And I use retarded to mean retarded. It's definition means less mentally advanced for their age. I think it's perfectly reasonable to use, as long as I don't use it with the implication that all mentally handicapped people are bad. If I'm not allowed to call somebody retarded, I shouldn't be allowed to call them anything negative. No more stupid, dumb etc.

No, using a trait of a group of people as something negative isn't cool.

I get pissed off when people say "that's so Irish" to describe something stupid, so I'm with the homosexuals and the disabled on this one.

The anti-PC brigade is one of the single most annoying groups of people on the planet. It's like they have some kind of fatal aversion to sensitivity.

Polarity27:
"Political correctness" boils down to a very simple statement: Don't be a dick.

Nobody is telling you that your edgy hipster ass doesn't have the "right" to say whatever you damn well please. But do it knowing that it hurts people, and you're being a dick. If you're fine with hurting people and being a dick, go for it. But do not get upset that people are going to judge you for it.

Essentially, this.

The definition of words change over time. There are still people alive that lived in a time when gay meant happy.

To me the term gay, in regards to homosexual has nothing to do with the term gay in regards to lameness. It is the same word that when used in a different context has an entirely different meaning.

Retarded is the same. Retarded has more than one meaning. Calling something retarded in regards to 'stupid' is entirely different to calling someone retarded because of mental development.

Words have different meanings and just because one of the definitions is offensive to some people does not mean the word should never be used. In the right context retarded should not be offensive to anyone, nor should gay.

I don't like or approve of the use of "gay" as a pejorative.

I have no problem with "retarded" personally, but I don't use it around people who I know or suspect will find it offensive as a simple courtesy.

"Cunt" or "twat", as a reference to a body part, I don't think important. Particularly as by comparison few get similarly upset about calling people "dicks", "pricks" or "cocks".

See Spot Run:
On the OP: straight up inappropriate to say. Hurtful, degrading, homophobic, and ableist.

Yeah, pretty much this.

Jump on Xbox Live and play a round of Call of Duty. "Fag", "Jew", "Gay", "Cunt", "Cock sucker", and a million other terms. You'll hear them all from the mouths of children so young you'll blush.

This isn't a case of double entendre: there is no double meaning, implied meanings, misunderstandings, etc., to any of this garbage, and attempts to argue "entomology" are people justifying terrible practices for the sake of commonality.

Calling something "gay" because it's bad is the same as calling something "black" because you don't like it. It's unacceptable, in my opinion.

Meh, I'll use it unless I know there are actually gay people around. Using it then would just be inappropriate. I saw commercials like the one you posted and I did a facepalm because in my experience telling people not to do something in an infomercial is one of the fastest and surest ways to get them to do just that, especially when its directed at kids.

Volf99:
Gay

Over here in the UK, there has been a fair bit of hoo-ha aboout the "rise of homophobic bullying" in schools. Sounds horrific, right? Turns out that one of the criteria for "bullying" was the use of the word "gay", regardless of whether it was used in a manner calculated to verbally abuse somebody, or just thrown into adolescent banter as a C-list expletive. Regardless of context, "gay" was deemed to be a pejorative and hurtful word. When actual school children were challenged about this, the consistent feedback was that children were not using the word "gay" in a bigotted or homophobic manner; they were using it as a shorthanded way of describing something as naff, or unfashionable or twee (and for the record, there's no way a self-respecting 14-year old would use the words naff, unfashionable or twee in conversation with their friends).

It's an unfortunate and unsophisticated use of the word, but shouldn't intent count for something? Just the same as two black people might greet eachother by saying "sup, nigga" - context is everything.

As an aside, homosexuals can't claim the word "gay" is exclusively theirs - it used to mean cheerful or colourful. If the word's meaning changed once, why shouldn't it change again?

Retarded

Unlike homosexuality, which most decent people will acknowledge is different to heterosexuality but equally valid as a lifestyle, having learning difficulties is inherently a negative thing. It may be hurtful, but I don't think this one can be solved.

Back when I was a kid, the playground equivalent was "spastic". Exactly the same as "retarded", the word spastic started off as a legitimate medical term. There was a registered charity called The Spastics Society, after all. It was only after the term became subverted that they changed their name to Scope, which has much less playground potential.

If we ban the word "retard", what's next? Moron? Idiot? Pea-brain? All of these could be construed as pejorative descriptions of intelligence and therefore offensive to people with learning disabilities.

Cunt

Fun fact time! Some Feminists are actually trying to reclaim the word "cunt" as the proper terminology for female genitalia. "Vagina" comes from the word for sheath or scabbard, which they feel is an insultingly male-centric description of of their anatomy as a receptacle (which I believe it is, there's no valley without hills, and all that...). "Cunt" however has its roots in the word for cleft, as in Cuneiform (cleft writing) or cunnilingus (literally: cleft-tonguing).

Harlief:
On a slightly unrelated note: When was the last time you heard Solomon with mobility issues take offence at someone saying "That's lame."?

You'd be surprised. I remember reading a furious letter to the editor of a newspaper; the correspondent had a permanent mobility-imparing injury, and had decided that any language that used disability as a metaphor was offensive. Even phrases like "a crippling blow for the economy" should, in their opinion, be banned as it served as an unwelcome reminder of their own condition.

Proof that some people will take it upon themselves to seek out offence where ever they can find it.

Volf99:
The problem I have is, why do a minority group of people get to tell me what a words definition should mean? If its slang for the word Gay to mean homosexual, then why can't there be other slang uses as well?

And Bingo was his name-o. "Gay" used to mean happy.

Polarity27:
Nobody is telling you that your edgy hipster ass doesn't have the "right" to say whatever you damn well please.

As a member of the contemporary pop-culture community, I find your use of the H-word crass and offensive. I would like to ask that you reflect on the consequences of your use of language and try not to be such a dick in future.

See how this works? Anybody can shift the goalposts while nobody's looking and cry foul. Doesn't mean we should take every complainant seriously.

Batou667:

Volf99:
Gay

Over here in the UK, there has been a fair bit of hoo-ha aboout the "rise of homophobic bullying" in schools. Sounds horrific, right? Turns out that one of the criteria for "bullying" was the use of the word "gay", regardless of whether it was used in a manner calculated to verbally abuse somebody, or just thrown into adolescent banter as a C-list expletive. Regardless of context, "gay" was deemed to be a pejorative and hurtful word. When actual school children were challenged about this, the consistent feedback was that children were not using the word "gay" in a bigotted or homophobic manner; they were using it as a shorthanded way of describing something as naff, or unfashionable or twee (and for the record, there's no way a self-respecting 14-year old would use the words naff, unfashionable or twee in conversation with their friends).

It's an unfortunate and unsophisticated use of the word, but shouldn't intent count for something? Just the same as two black people might greet eachother by saying "sup, nigga" - context is everything.

As an aside, homosexuals can't claim the word "gay" is exclusively theirs - it used to mean cheerful or colourful. If the word's meaning changed once, why shouldn't it change again?

Retarded

Unlike homosexuality, which most decent people will acknowledge is different to heterosexuality but equally valid as a lifestyle, having learning difficulties is inherently a negative thing. It may be hurtful, but I don't think this one can be solved.

Back when I was a kid, the playground equivalent was "spastic". Exactly the same as "retarded", the word spastic started off as a legitimate medical term. There was a registered charity called The Spastics Society, after all. It was only after the term became subverted that they changed their name to Scope, which has much less playground potential.

If we ban the word "retard", what's next? Moron? Idiot? Pea-brain? All of these could be construed as pejorative descriptions of intelligence and therefore offensive to people with learning disabilities.

Cunt

Fun fact time! Some Feminists are actually trying to reclaim the word "cunt" as the proper terminology for female genitalia. "Vagina" comes from the word for sheath or scabbard, which they feel is an insultingly male-centric description of of their anatomy as a receptacle (which I believe it is, there's no valley without hills, and all that...). "Cunt" however has its roots in the word for cleft, as in Cuneiform (cleft writing) or cunnilingus (literally: cleft-tonguing).

Harlief:
On a slightly unrelated note: When was the last time you heard Solomon with mobility issues take offence at someone saying "That's lame."?

You'd be surprised. I remember reading a furious letter to the editor of a newspaper; the correspondent had a permanent mobility-imparing injury, and had decided that any language that used disability as a metaphor was offensive. Even phrases like "a crippling blow for the economy" should, in their opinion, be banned as it served as an unwelcome reminder of their own condition.

Proof that some people will take it upon themselves to seek out offence where ever they can find it.

Volf99:
The problem I have is, why do a minority group of people get to tell me what a words definition should mean? If its slang for the word Gay to mean homosexual, then why can't there be other slang uses as well?

And Bingo was his name-o. "Gay" used to mean happy.

Polarity27:
Nobody is telling you that your edgy hipster ass doesn't have the "right" to say whatever you damn well please.

As a member of the contemporary pop-culture community, I find your use of the H-word crass and offensive. I would like to ask that you reflect on the consequences of your use of language and try not to be such a dick in future.

See how this works? Anybody can shift the goalposts while nobody's looking and cry foul. Doesn't mean we should take every complainant seriously.

Amazing post, quoting for great justice! (so other people can see it.)

Seekster:
Meh, I'll use it unless I know there are actually gay people around. Using it then would just be inappropriate.

I make a point of using gay pejoratively only when gay people are around. Gay people I know and like, anyway. And playfully, of course. If I can't say it in that circumstance, I shouldn't say it at all.

Seekster:
Meh, I'll use it unless I know there are actually gay people around. Using it then would just be inappropriate. I saw commercials like the one you posted and I did a facepalm because in my experience telling people not to do something in an infomercial is one of the fastest and surest ways to get them to do just that, especially when its directed at kids.

"I'm ok with being offensive so long as I know I'll not get called out on it".

As liberal as I am, I really don't give a rats ass about little eccentricities of language like this. It's slang, it always goes the way of the dodo. After all, when was the last time you heard someone use groovy, outside of the occasional Scooby Doo episode?

See Spot Run:

Seekster:
Meh, I'll use it unless I know there are actually gay people around. Using it then would just be inappropriate. I saw commercials like the one you posted and I did a facepalm because in my experience telling people not to do something in an infomercial is one of the fastest and surest ways to get them to do just that, especially when its directed at kids.

"I'm ok with being offensive so long as I know I'll not get called out on it".

Political correctness for its own sake annoys me and I am not overly concerned with people being offended by what I say when I mean no offense.

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