The R-Bomb dropped in a group of 19-year-olds with Asperger’s Disorder today. Given my most recent blog (“I Don’t Want to Hear Retarded Again”), I was already primed for frustration. I decided to ask these guys their thoughts on the word.
–“It’s used to describe just how dumb someone is. I mean, it’s like saying, ‘You are that stupid’.”
–“It’s better than curse words. It’s more accurate.”
–“It’s not my problem. It’s just a cause for others who care about not hurting the feelings of others.”
— “It’s okay when it’s true.”
— “It’s more socially appropriate than telling someone, ‘You’re a f$*#ing idiot.'”
I admit, I expected a sympathetic audience, and I was shocked when I didn’t find one. I expected their own histories to promote understanding. I expected their own keen senses of right and wrong and social justice to agree with how heinous I find the R word.
What I found was similar to the thinking of those who use “retarded” without hesitation. Judging the word’s ubiquity in our media and culture, the thinking of these three guys is no different than most anyone else. So, this is yet another time when Asperger’s is perfectly normal. Unfortunately, this is a time when I wish it wasn’t.