You know I hate to spend two days talking about this horrible woman Ann Coulter, but after listening to her defend her use of the word “retard” on Fox News Radio, I can’t help myself.
In her appearance on Alan Colmes’ Thursday Radio Show she claims that she does not regret the use of the word “retard” in reference to the president. She defends herself by with the shaky logic that it is ok to use the word because “No one would call someone with Down Syndrome retard” and that “‘retard’ has been used colloquially for 30 years to just mean ‘loser’.”
Well, that clears it all up for me. No problem: I would never use the word in direct reference to the person it offends, and since everyone else is doing it, it’s fine.
You know what, fuck you Ms. Coulter. Seriously, you are like a racist defending a black joke because he told it in a room of white guys.
But the worst part of all is the horrifyingly dismissive tone you took in regards to the discussion of Mr. John Franklin Stevens, a Special Olympics Athlete and global messenger who wrote an open letter to Ms. Coulter earlier this week. When this letter was brought up in the interview she said “I don’t need to be told this…I wasn’t making jokes about the special olympics.”
Instead she shifts the discussion to the “liberal victims” who want to be “word police.”
Ms. Coulter, I don’t think any of us “liberal victims” feel personally victimized by this word…what we are doing is trying to defend people who have been bullied as the result of a perceived difference. What we are saying is that we are trying to create an environment that shields children (and adults) from the implied hierarchy of a word like “retard”…a word I fear might be directed toward my child. A word that is antiquated enough to have been stricken from official medical terminology, but not so distant that I can’t remember it being used as a medical term, a dismissive term directed to special needs population, and an insult to suggest difference among my peers.
It was a word used toward me because I was a bit of a “weirdo” in rural New York, and it was a word used toward my colleagues who had various learning difficulties, social challenges, and physical limitations. You see Ms. Coulter, this is not a word that can be discussed in a black and white way. It is not a matter of it no longer being used toward people with “Down syndrome”–which I will guarantee you it is–it is also a matter of it being used toward children with CP, autism, speech delays, physical differences. It is not a word that means “loser,” as you put it, it is a word that suggests difference and places value on that difference–and no matter who it is used toward, it is degrading to that person AND to people with disabilies. It may not be as loaded as the “N-word,” but it certainly shares some commonality with many ethnic and racial slurs in so far as people like you have defended their use of such words with all kinds of logic about the harmlessness of language.
But it should tell you something that people who are differently abled and the people who love them are hurt by your language. How does it hurt you to just apologize? To just say you didn’t realize that it was hurtful? Why can’t you do this instead of laughing about it–and at people like me? I know why, because you are hateful and hurtful…and because you think this controversy and your reputation as “say what you think” kinda gal will sell more of your inane dribble. And it may. It appears that there are people in this country who are interested in your hateful bullshit. But I, for one, am not going to stop call you out for it.