The Oppression Olympics

As played by: the Special Olympics!

In case you can't view the image (which can be clicked to view a larger version in a new window), the ad reads: "N-gg-r. Sp-c. F-g. Retard. And therein lies the problem. Most people who would never knowingly use disparaging terms don't see a problem with saying 'retard.' This must change. It's just as hateful as any other slur. And for millions of people with Intellectual Disabilities, their families and friends, it hurts just as much. Please, don't use the R-word."

Great message ("Don't use 'retard' as a slur"), with atrocious framing. As Shaker Esme, who gets the hat tip, said in an email, "these ads are based on the assumption that people AREN'T using racial and sexual epithets, that those have already been removed and retard is the 'last acceptable prejudice' as is often claimed by groups engaged in oppression olympics."

Indeed. And it's informative that their list of allegedly "unacceptable" slurs doesn't include a misogynist slur. Do you think that's because it's so patently obvious that a word like "bitch," which isn't even bleeped out in primetime television, is far too ubiquitous to claim that it's culturally unacceptable? Perhaps that should have been the first clue to the ad designers that maybe "retard" isn't the only remaining acceptable epithet—and that maybe there's a way to educate people about the hurtfulness of its use without conjuring an imaginary world in which no one publicly and shamelessly uses racial and homophobic slurs anymore.

The bitterly hilarious thing about that fantasy is that, meanwhile, in reality, "-tard" is getting tacked onto every other flavor of slur imaginable, making plain the foolishness of declaring any prejudice dead. At Urban Dictionary, there are one or more entries for all of the following: nigtard, fagtard, gaytard, bitchtard, sluttard, whoretard, pussytard, dwarftard, deaftard, lametard, gimptard.

And I'm sure there are plenty I missed. If that list doesn't make unambiguously apparent how stupid it is to pit one form of discrimination against others, I can't imagine what would.

We are natural allies. Maybe we could try behaving that way.

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