Words can hurt

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Words can hurt

Ariella Smith, Online Editor

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Gay, retarded, and stupid are not synonyms.

Calling someone gay when they do something you do not like, or calling someone retarded when they do or say something that is not intelligent is making yourself look dumb.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, gay means “sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex” or “happy and excited : cheerful and lively”. There is nothing in the formal definition that pertains to being “dumb”.

It is not until you look at Urban Dictionary, which is an online dictionary of slang words and phrases, that gay has the definition of stupid. But, even in the definition it says that it is homophobic to say. That dictionary entry reads, “Often used to describe something stupid or unfortunate. originating from homophobia. quite preferable among many teenage males in order to buff up their ‘masculinity’”.

What is most ironic, I feel, is the fact that the people using gay as an insult claim that they are not homophobic. How is it not homophobic calling all gays stupid? When calling a stupid person gay, it infers that all gays are stupid. A=B is the same thing as B=A (A little bit of Algebra for you).

Some people also use the term retarded when they do something unintelligent.

The term retarded cause from the mental disorder mental retardation. Mental retardation refers to a person with an intelligence quotation (IQ) of 70 or below. To put this IQ into prospective, for those who have never taken Psychology, the average IQ is set at 100. 70 does not seem that far from 100, but in terms of IQ, it is a lot lower. Those who have this disorder are sometimes kept in separate classes and learn at a different pace.

The term “retarded” as it is used now, is in no way appropriate. When you use the term in a way to insult a “normal” person, you are actually making light of a serious disorder. So just stop.

If you must be insulting and rude to someone, try and think of new words that do not insult a large group of people.

But, why is it beneficial to insult someone? Does being mean to someone really boost self-confidence?  The answer is, not really.

Words like “gay” and “retarded” are more than just words. Each one represents millions of people, and those words are very insulting to them. Even if you are “just joking” or “you did not mean it in that way”, it is offensive.  So if you do not want to insult that group of people, just stop using them in any context.