Thank you for the apology. I accept it.
And I do not want to prolong what is essentially a very peripheral issue to the topic of the thread. I have worked my entire life to promote free speech but you do not know me so you really have no idea whether I am over sensitive (I cannot afford to be in the rough and tough world of academic medicine and politics in general).
This is not about me or you - nor is it even about free speech. This term is very offensive to society in general. In New Brunswick, it has been taken off the books entirely and someone using it in the school or health care system would be severely reprimanded. In Canada, the association that used to be called "The Associaton for the Mentally Retarded" has been known now for almost 20 years as the Association for Community Living, promoting inclusion in society - as opposed to how we marginalized the intellectually disadvantaged for too many years! The term would never used by even the most un pc politicians or medical professionals here.
The rare place it is heard is where someone who lacks understanding about it (like a child who overheard it and does not recognize the significance of what he or she is saying).
I do not want to belabour this but I am not seeking to curtail your freedom of speech. Freedom of speech means possessing the liberty to speak and express one's opinions. One can surely accomplish that without utilizing terms that belittle and hurt others. Thankfully, we do not use the "n" word any longer in reference to black people. We have progressed and do not refer to Native women as "Squaws" and nor do we use other ethnic slurs when we talk about groups of diverse cultures.
I do not know how old "you" are (university age? Older?) but I find it hard to imagine it is cool to use this term where you live and among your peers. If it is, you might want to share this information with them. I do know the students I teach (medical students and residents- avg age 20-29) would never utilize it and in explaining case studies, they sometimes have to refer to someone with an intellectual disability.
I am sorry you felt the need to delete something you had already written. You seem to have already judged who I am and what I am open to. I am open to everyone's opinion and viewpoint - and I know you did not mean harm in using the term. It is just that I have spent my life as a woman in what has been a male dominated profession (though that is changing
) as well as being the first woman to break certain barriers politically where I live and I see the struggle for human rights as inclusive of everyone and opted to point out the hurt and lack of awareness it conveys.
There is an old Native expression that we should not judge anyone until we've walked a mile in their moccasins (sp?) Put yourself in my shoes (and I am trying to put myself in yours) - I spent 20 years plus lobbying for the rights of disabled (among others
) and have several patients who are thrilled to live in a society that is becoming more inclusive (sadly, we are not completely there yet) and happy to be working in a real job (not just some workshop for "special people") and where they do not have to deal with that ugly term. (There will be bullies who may use it with them but they, like everyone else, need to learn how to stand up for themsleves). I've seen the effects of a child being called that by someone at her school who did not know any better and that is heartbreak no-one needs.
So you have to understand that it is very distressing to see it utilized so flippantly by you. I am not coming down on you for it - you would know if I did that, lol - I am just explaining as diplomatically as possible why it is not appropriate. I have to believe that anyone who advocates for animal rights cannot be that narrow minded and that it is a case of truly not realizing how horrible it is to hear that.
Anyway, nuff said!