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Opening Arguments

The "R" word

The language police are on patrol again:

 The governor conducted a ceremonial bill signing Friday for a law that makes the Indiana code more politically correct.

This is all about the “R” word.

It’s a term that was once considered appropriate, but is no longer: retardation.

 “No one wants to be called retarded,” said Melody Cooper of Self Advocates of Indiana. “Nobody.”

[. . .]

The new law means that retardation will be replaced in the Indiana code by two words: “intellectual disabilities.”

 And the bill signing is the end of a process that included unanimous support in the General Assembly.

The state's instincts are good, but I think they're a little behind the curve here. When it comes to physical disabilities, handicapped gave way to disabled, which morphed into "differently abled," all in an attempt to make people think differently about a certain group by changing the word we use for them. I only dimly talking about the issue my psychology and sociology classes, but I didn't believe then that's the way it works, and I don't believe it now. And I don't think those with a mental challenge will like "disabled" any more than those whoe a physical challenge do.