Former George W. Bush presidential speech writer Michael Gerson has come out strongly in a recent op-ed against the use of the “r-word” in our commonly used dialectic.
The media is least attractive when it offers the pretense of fairness to cover a desire for self-serving controversy.
Professor Christopher Fairman of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University takes to The Post today to defend the word “retard” against taboo, censorship and other forms of social repression. He argues that the r-word must be rescued from the terrible fate of the f-word. Even the n-word has “varied and evolving uses.”
Defending the r-word is not the protection of free expression; it is the defense of bullies.
There is a long tradition of religious and and moral reflection on the words we choose to speak. According to the Hebrew scriptures, “Death and life are in power of the tongue.” Jesus of Nazareth argued, “It is not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Epithets gain and lose currency. Which means that standards of morality, respect and tact must be constantly reapplied in new circumstances — not that all standards should be abandoned entirely.
What the Special Olympics is proposing is not government censorship, it is social stigma. In this case, such stigma is a sign of moral maturity.
I have signed the pledge at www.r-word.org. I hope you do as well.
I also encourage you to sign the Special Olympics pledge against using the derogatory label “retard” against any person for any reason.
I would also challenge any person of any variety of partisan politics, which includes myself as well, to try and refrain from personal attacks and all statements that most people would honestly agree is a simple lack of “standards of morality, respect and tact” as Gerson describes it.
Seeing as how American Society has decided that racism against blacks is anathema there leaves little room for modern racists and bigots in which to move.
Clear evidence of this is the fact that most anyone who reads this knows what racial slur I refer to the “N-Word” but no such complete verbal bans exist within any other racial slurs or forms of hate speech.
More evidence of the intolerance in American Society would be found in classrooms, schoolyards and off-record public gatherings. Time and time again I find my strongest divide with my peers is that of bigotry and racism. Even in some who no doubt assume themselves to be ‘free’ of cultural hate.
Brown Racism seems most strongly found in the older generations of racists. Very possibly the remnants of the Anti-Civil Rights Movement. I imagine many of these individuals have much of the same prejudices against all minorities and they are seemingly focusing their hate toward illegal immigrants from Mexico. Using the political stance of border reform as a guise for their radical and often completely absurd notions regarding Mexican-Americans. These are clear examples of American Racism.
Gay Bigotry seems most strongly found in the young generations of bigots. Not in any way unique from any group that hates another for a belief except that this belief is not a religion but rather a concept that sexuality is unbound between genders. Philosophical considerations are not made, for or against, and openly expressed prejudices go unchallenged as any non-heterosexual person is declared a ‘pervert,’ ‘immoral,’ ‘abnormal,’ ‘evil,’ or ‘flawed.’ In my perception this is the most commonly found example of American Bigotry.
The implications are simple. These forms of thought are purely destructive to American Society. Allowing the fears of the past to dictate our future will only lead to failure.