New Jersey Bans The Word ‘Retarded’

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. Photo: Walter Burns (CC)

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. Photo: Walter Burns (CC)

One is tempted to say that this new law in New Jersey is, um, mentally challenged. Story from NJ.com:

Gov. Chris Christie today made it illegal for state laws or rules to identify anyone with a developmental or intellectual disability as “mentally retarded” by signing legislation sought by people who have felt belittled by the term.

Mental retardation was once a medical diagnostic term, but society turned it into something derogatory, said Tom Baffuto, executive director of the Arc of New Jersey. The nonprofit was founded as the Association for Retarded Citizens until people complained and it changed the name nearly 20 years ago.

Elizabeth Shea, the Arc’s assistant executive director, said the law’s passage is one step in the direction of ridding the hurtful terms from every day conversation.

“We’d like New Jersey to get to a place where you can’t use the ‘R’ word with it being inflammatory,’’ she said.

Christie said he regretted people had to wait so long to get the bill passed, and said he was proud to have signed it. “This is making sure each citizen in our state is treated with the respect they deserve … It’s their government, too,’’ he said.

The 81-page bill includes the citations in state law and regulations that have to be changed, including: “mentally retarded,” “physically handicapped,” “feeble-minded,’’ and “physically or mentally defective.” The law also applies to language involving people with mental illness, such as “the insane,” the “mentally deficient,” and “the mentally ill.”…

[continues at NJ.com]

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27 Comments on "New Jersey Bans The Word ‘Retarded’"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Aug 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm |

    Unconstitutional ploy by Left Wing cabal. How could you ever discuss Sarah Palin without at least hinting at the 'R' word?

  2. retarded is thoughtcrime.

    doubleplusungood.

  3. Hamsanath437 | Aug 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

    christ this is ridiculous.

  4. Gemmarama | Aug 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

    may i offer you guys a british alternative in its place – “spazzy”. so much more descriptive.

  5. Hadrian999 | Aug 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm |

    yet another reason never to go to NJ

  6. Earbudcontender | Aug 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

    Retaaaared!!!

    • You retard, you spelled it wrong!

      P.S. I don’t live in NJ so this is totally legal!
      Bwahahahaha! 🙂

  7. “developmental or intellectual disability”

    Woah, hey, slow down, shit. You'd think that NJ.com would show a little sensitivity with this term, you know?

  8. DeepCough | Aug 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm |

    I didn't know I was hurting the asbestos suit's feelings when I was callling it flame RETARDANT.

  9. Well…we should be more considerate of the special needs of NJ. After all…when a state has such an enormous population of people with limited intellect, it becomes necessary to reflect this through legislation. An insulting and demeaning word like 'retarded' no longer merely infringes on just a small percentage of NJ residents…it covers most of them…especially all subjects of Jersey Shore and anyone affiliated with them.

    • I am from NJ (we’re not all idiots) and I’ll be the first to admit this law is retarded.

  10. In another 20 years they'll be banning “disabled” and “challenged” as derogatory. You already hear people use the word “special” in an ironic way. Its much like how funeral directors started saying “casket” instead “coffin,” but by this point both terms sound equally morbid. The connotation of whatever word you pick will eventually change to reflect social attitudes, so its an exercise in futility to constantly revise the vocabulary every generation or so in hope that using different words will somehow change how people feel about something.

    • Connie Dobbs | Aug 19, 2010 at 11:59 am |

      I used to date someone with spina bifida who HATED being called handicapped. So much so that after the 100th correction, I decided “crippled” was a much better description. Mostly because Whiner wasn't specific enough.

      • I had to chuckle at your comment. I also have spina bifida and your comment reminded me of when an acquaintance, obviously worried about politically correct terminology, asked what he should call me. I said, why not call me by my name? Personally, I find all this fuss about labels and terminology to be a lot of meaningless drivel, or, as someone very close to me once put it, “all wind and no rain”.

  11. GoodDoktorBad | Aug 17, 2010 at 6:45 pm |

    We todd it!

    Sofa king wet odd it!

  12. bigncornfed | Aug 18, 2010 at 9:47 am |

    And in a related story…The entire cast of 'jersey shore' has been asked to move to west Virginia where the word in question is still considered a compliment.

  13. Dear Gov. Christie:

    While we’re at it. Don’t call me “short”. I prefer “petite”.

  14. Origin:
    1800–10; retard + -ed2

    —Related forms
    non·re·tard·ed, adjective
    un·re·tard·ed, adjective

    —Synonyms
    backward, disabled, handicapped.

    to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
    –verb (used without object)
    2.
    to be delayed.
    –noun
    3.
    a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.

    french
    retardé
    to be delayed, to be held up

  15. Origin:
    1800–10; retard + -ed2

    —Related forms
    non·re·tard·ed, adjective
    un·re·tard·ed, adjective

    —Synonyms
    backward, disabled, handicapped.

    to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
    –verb (used without object)
    2.
    to be delayed.
    –noun
    3.
    a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.

    french
    retardé
    to be delayed, to be held up

  16. You retard, you spelled it wrong!

    P.S. I don’t live in NJ so this is totally legal!
    Bwahahahaha! 🙂

  17. I am from NJ (we’re not all idiots) and I’ll be the first to admit this law is retarded.

  18. I had to chuckle at your comment. I also have spina bifida and your comment reminded me of when an acquaintance, obviously worried about politically correct terminology, asked what he should call me. I said, why not call me by my name? Personally, I find all this fuss about labels and terminology to be a lot of meaningless drivel, or, as someone very close to me once put it, “all wind and no rain”.

Comments are closed.