“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Friday, October 12, 2007

Defining the meaning behind the word "retard"

I found a video at a weblog called Kei Unlimited. It describes the use of the word "retard" from the perspective of the brother of a girl with down's syndrome. The speaker's name is Soeren Palumbo Fremd.

I thought I would share it here. You can view it at the bottom of the page.

The weblog address is,




Anonymous said...

Wow! Young Mr. Frem has it so right. The ACLU will never to go to bat for someone who has been called "retard" in a disparaging manner. Who cares? Who is hurt? What does it matter?

Humanity is represented across a wide spectrum of ability. When we marginalize, dehumanize anyone at any place along that spectrum we marginalize everyone on the spectrum.

I am not sure Soeren is exactly right when he says Olivia will never hate. I have heard the prayers of persons with cognitive and emotional disabilities and I know there are things they do hate. Sickness, injustice, intolerance, ignorance and the withholding of mercy are examples of the things my friends with mental disabilties hate. The difference is that my friends hatred is just and righteous; they hate the hatred, never the hater. And they pray that all will be made healthy one day. I think that is what Soeren is really saying about Olivia and himself; and the hope he has for his classmates, teachers and community.

Thank you for posting this powerful video Jeff. I am going to do all I can to show it to as many people as I can, especially to the staff at the school where I work.

Anonymous said...

I think that Soeren does an outstanding job of painting a picture of hatred amongst our society. I think that he is absolutley right on about how our society thinks about, talks about and treats those who are disabled. I think that the story he has shared will open the eyes of all who hear it. I think that people will be able to understand how the misuse of the word "retard" affects others, especially those who are disabled or those who know someone who is disabled. I know that I am just as guilty as the next person for using this word to make fun of friends, which is completely unacceptable, and I am now more conscience of that. This presentation is excellent and I think that it would do a lot of people good to watch it and share it with others. I know I will.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the thought provoking words and video. It surely makes one aware of the cruelty many of our disabled citizens face on a daily basis. Sometimes we only focus on racial discrimination as an evil in our society and disregard how the most innocent of our society are being treated unjustly. Perhaps it is because the targeting of the latter is easy and they can not fight back by organizing or otherwise striking back. I am reminded that some ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs considered disabled persons as truly special and having been touched by the gods and treated them with respect and honor. Soeren speaks from his heart and invites us to take a look into his world. You can not help but accept the invitation to consider our actions and be touched by his compassion to help others and his Olivia.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to let you know that I read the bible lessons you posted for people with disabilities and I think they are great. They are a great pattern to use. I will keep them in mind when I am putting any lesson together for our church.

Anonymous said...

I think that Soeren described it well. People are quick to claim discrimination when defending themselves, but what about those that can't defend. Having been in schools where people wouldn't dare use the "n" word I have to notice that "retard" was losely said not only in labeling a person with a handicap, but also in calling peers names. It shows that our society has not gotten any closer to non-prejudicial than we may like to think.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this video with us. Often times there are people making reference to the word retard, and how you should not use it. However, it is not often you hear from somebody it directly affects. Because the usage of the word directly affects Soeren he is able to convey in a passionate and personal way of the hate and hurt behind such a nasty word. Therefore, it allows us to examine ourselves deeper and begin changing much quicker. It allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of the brother of the mentally handicapped sister. It allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of a mentally handicapped person. Most importantly it allows us to become fully aware of such a word. I must admit here on blogspot.com I am guilty. I've used the word, not towards anyone that is mentally handicapped but as a mockery and a joke. In fact I used often. However, used is past tense. I no longer do, this video will made me "pinch" myself and stop hating and to develop a deeper compassion and love to those who know how to love the deepest.