Is the word "retarded" really that bad? Apparently some people take certain words so personally that they rally for the stifling of the speech of others. Yes, some words are offensive, and when offensive people use offensive words, they become even more offensive. However, there is never any reason to bully someone into apologizing for merely speaking words. Ann Coulter is currently under scrutiny (when isn't she?) for using the R-word, and now parents of disabled children want her to apologize.
A lot of words once used to be derogatory ways to describe a person who is mentally disabled; idiot, stupid, dummy, etc., etc., etc. Now many of these words are used differently. While they insult intelligence, they're certainly not specifically targeting someone with Down's Syndrome or any other chromosomal defects. Over the past decade, the word "retarded," along with retard and any other version of the word, has evolved to be just as neutral in use as idiot, stupid, and the other words mentioned above. When Ann Coulter referred to "the retarded vote" in this election going toward Obama, she wasn't literally referring to those who are mentally disabled. She was simply calling liberals stupid like she always does.
Curiously enough, Sarah Palin has been completely silent as she has before spoken out against the use of the R-word, because her youngest child is born of a chromosomal abnormality. But other parents want Ann Coulter to apologize for the comments she made.
It's hard to stand up for Ann Coulter because she is, for lack of a better word, garbage. Her political opinions are garbage. The way she talks about other women is garbage. Everything about herÂ—right down to her strangely hypnotic Adam's appleÂ—is just pure garbage. But you now what? Even the most trashy and idiotic of Americans have the right to free speech, and just because some people don't like some words, doesn't mean that some people should be bullied into apologizing for using those words.
If you don't like freedom of speech, leave. England is pretty nice this time of year, and you'll get arrested there for making "nasty" jokes on Facebook like Matthew Woods. He was just arrested and jailed in the UK for making jokes about missing child April Jones. See what happens when your speech isn't protected? If you try to police what people say over what others think is "nasty" or "unacceptable," then where do you draw the line? Demanding an apology from Ann Coulter will solve nothing but grease the wheels of total control of the words people say, and that, no offense, is just retarded.
Crime analyst & profiler Chelsea Hoffman can be found on Huffington Post or Chelsea Hoffman: Case to Case. You can follow her on Twitter @TheRealChelseaH or contact her via her personal blog. Fan the Facebook page for updates on missing persons cases, issues in civil rights and details on Chelsea's fiction works.