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Senators from both sides of the aisle want Trump to clear the air on the Khashoggi killing. Also on the Wednesday rundown: Massachusetts leads the U.S. in the fentanyl-overdose death rate; plus we will let you know why business want to preserve New Mexico’s special places.

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The “R-Word” and Ann Coulter – Raising Consciousness?

Badge of "R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign  Courtesy: www.r-word.org
Badge of "R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign Courtesy: www.r-word.org
November 8, 2012

BOSTON - When conservative commentator Ann Coulter used the word "retard" to describe President Obama in the final days of the campaign, it sparked an angry response from people who consider that "hate speech." Ironically, Coulter may have done them a favor by helping spread word of a movement against that word.

The ARC of Massachusetts, a Boston-based nonprofit serving those with disabilities, says the words "moron" and "imbecile" were once clinical terms, as was "retarded." Now, says Mandy Nichols, the "R-word" is inappropriate and hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities. She does not like Coulter's explanation that she was not aiming the word at someone with disabilities.

"I wish she would have responded that it's something that she learned from and wouldn't use the word in the future, but she didn't. We have no tolerance for people using the word, at all."

At best, Nichols says, the uproar over Coulter's language has brought attention to the issue. It's a problem that she and others are fighting with a national campaign called "R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word."

Adam Hill, an ARC of Massachusetts board member who has a developmental disability, says he has never been called a "retard," but if he were - or if he heard anyone use it about anyone else - he would have this response.

"If someone ever said anything like that, I would say, 'Use your choice of words - think of your choice of words better.'"

In the wake of the criticism of her comment, Coulter complained about what she called "the language police." Mandy Nichols says it's not about being politically correct.

"It's about ending hate. We ask others to expand their vocabulary and find another word out there that doesn't offend someone in a minority group. It's the same as with the N-word. We don't use that word anymore."

Nichols warns that the use of hate speech sets the stage for more severe outcomes, such as physical harm or abuse. People with developmental disabilities are four to 10 times more likely to be victims of crime, she adds.


Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MA