LeBron Using The Word "Retarded" Was A Subnormally Birdbrained Thing To Do
May 9th, 2011

At a training seminar that I once attended, a portion of the afternoon was devoted to a discussion of bad words. In one of the hottest days on record, a dozen of us gathered in a cramped five foot tall training room, sat around an overhead projector and a laptop whose audio output was speculative at best, and then, via the medium of Powerpoint, ran through a list of words that were unacceptable to use in our workplace. None of which was patronising in any way. Of course, the reason for such a discussion was because of the line of work in question. We were attending said seminar as a mandatory part of our training to become support workers for the learning disabled. Inevitably, in that line of work, training for sensitivity towards the learning disabled is essential. We had to go. (You know, just so that we knew not to call them names. Just in case one of us was going to take the hitherto untested insult-comic approach to the job. Seemingly, companies must plan for that ridiculous eventuality.) It doesn’t take much guesswork to know that on that day, we learnt – or rather, were reminded – that use of the word “retarded” was not permitted. It wasn’t just not permitted in its more popular, irrelevant use as a generic word for “dumb” – it was also not permitted as a means to term, address or endear those that we would encounter in our work who were actually mentally retarded. The same was true of “demented,” which was not to be used to describe those with dementia, despite its obvious origins from doing so. Even when done with the best of intentions, these words was not to be used under any circumstances. And the reasons they were not […]

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