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Haillie Deegan and the R word

I saw on Yahoo that the young lady who is being groomed for NASCAR was in trouble for using the R word.

I thought to myself, what the heck is the R word. Before I read the rest of the article, I tried to guess what the R word was. Being Nascar, the best guess I could come up with was was redneck. No, to my surprise the word was retard.

The driver behind her hit her during a yellow flag. My guess is that is not the first time a driver who did something stupid, was called the R word.

The funny thing is, the term Retarded Development came into use as a replacement for moron, imbecile and idiot which had become see as pejoratives. They were just clinical terms for IQ ranges.

We all know that the young lady did not mean that the driver behind her really had retarded development. When she asked her spotter behind her “Who was that retard behind me?” she just wanted to know the name of the driver who did something so stupid.

People who talk like this in real life are shocked, shocked I tell you, when the media picks up and broadcasts other people getting caught doing exactly the same thing.
Any word that replaces a pejorative, quickly becomes a pejorative itself. NY State replaced its vocational high schools with a program called B.O,C.E.S, I don’t know what the letters stand for. The program was not in existence for a whole year before I heard on kid tell another, “You’re so Bocefied”.

AS bus drivers, we were strictly forbidden from using any term except “special ed” for our special ed students.

heard out office call one of our drivers on the radio to go pick up some special ed students. She asked, what kind of special ed students? In a voice dripping wit political correctness, the person just repeated the phrase. Finally the exasperated driver said, look, I need to know ifr I need the wheelchair bus, if these students can tell me where they live, do I need the school nurse, a facilitator or if I need a big strong aide to protect me.

For REAL? Does that make the (SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY) cartoon a crime?

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One time after I had replaced the spark plugs and ignition points in my Ford Maverick, the engine pinged on acceleration. To be politically correct, I solved the problem by “non-advancing” the timing.


The terms Master snd Slave to refer to hydraulic clutch parts has already been attacked. I suspect Male and Female connectors and fittings will be next. Sheesh!


IIRC, it means Board of Cooperative Educational Services, but I could be wrong because I worked in NJ schools, rather than in NY.

That acronym is unique to NY, but that didn’t keep the wife of a NY school employee from asking me, at a college reception, “How big is your BOCES?”. :smirk:
If I hadn’t been somewhat familiar with that term, I might have thought that she was asking something of an… indecent… nature.

Bocephus can be interpreted to a broad range of positive and negative connotations regionally. Even though most everyone in north Mississippi knows WHO Bocephus is music wise today that term is largely used as an insult to someones intelligence.

Oh, that’s so last century. I’ve heard complaints about that for a long time.

The anthropologist credited with categorizing humans by race had no intention of harming anyone with the labels he used. He tried to find pleasant words that described some feature of the person. Sub Saharan Africans were called Negroes because he thought it was a beautiful word, and look how that was corrupted. White people are Caucasians, but people of the Caucasus are dark skinned - think Iran, Iraq, Armenia and Georgia. Indians are not only Caucasian, they are Arians! Talk about things getting mixed up. Oh, and skin color is chemical. It’s all about how much melanin we have in our skin. All skin color tells us is how much melanin someone has in their skin.

Am I in trouble now?


That word is one that I despise with a white hot passion, you might not understand if you haven’t had someone use the term as a reason to discriminate. I was born with a learning disability and some small motor function issues that led to my being mainstreamed special ed for most of my school life.

I can still hear the voice of a fellow student saying to the bus driver that my being a Gosh-Darned-R-word was why I shouldn’t be allowed on the bus. Thank the good lord for that driver because she told the other student to sit down and leave me alone because I had the same right to a seat on the bus as she did. I kept my distance from the other student after that and it was a one time thing but it’s the biggest example of why it’s not just a word to me.

Had a former boss who used the term to explain why another employee wasn’t that good at his job, I hope it was reported to HR along with the 25+ other statements that got the man fired along with his assistant (co-worker’s infant had a amputation below the knee and a soft skull and tha assistant asked if she was bringing in “that circus freak”) Lost track of them but from last reports they didn’t last long at their next few jobs.


From my end, if a certain word causes hurt to people and I can use a different one without changing the meaning of what I say, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and do it. The good news is that “idiot” used to be a pejorative because it was a clinical term for a certain, low-IQ range (as was “moron” and “imbecile,” though I no longer remember the numbers or ranking of the three). Now it’s just common parlance for a dope, and it’s OK to call someone an idiot when they are, in fact, acting like one.

One archaic term that’s always struck me, possibly because my dad spent the last decade-plus of his life in a wheelchair, and my father-in-law is also in a chair, is “invalid.” Seriously? We literally called disabled people “not valid.”

I do agree that sometimes PC language can take things too far. Again on the disability front, my dad used to get irritated when someone referred to him as “differently-abled.” He wasn’t. Differently-abled is someone like Superman. Dad was disabled.

However that’s an example of people who were not disabled choosing more “PC” words to describe the disabled without actually asking the disabled, many if not most of whom think “differently abled” is stupid.

“Retard” is different, because the general consensus amongst people who are actually mentally retarded is that “retard” is hurtful. It doesn’t hurt any of us not to use the term, and certainly doesn’t improve our lives in any measurable way, so why resist that small change?


Language change is slow but inevitable. I think calling an imbecile, idiot or moron, an imbecile, idiot or moron would be hurtful. however as you pointed out, those words have entered common usage so it is becoming acceptable to use them, I don’t think it is completely acceptable yet. I think the word retard is on the same journey and I don’t think that anyone overhearing Deegan’s radio transmission to her spotter would be confused into thinking she meant any differently than referring to the offending driver as an idiot.

It seems important to judge someone’s language based on context and situation. My mention of a SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY sign was due to a cartoon I recall seeing long ago where a woman was adding a comma to avoid confusion regarding her children playing in the neighborhood. The humor seemed harmless then and seems harmless now. Being bald, marginally educated in a state where ‘ya’ll’ is perfectly proper English and often being seen in public with grease stains on my clothes face and hands I have heard comments not meant for me to hear from people who seemed that I should be ashamed of my appearance. It never bothered me and when my bank offered me a job as loan manager starting at 1/4 my earnings at the time and found myself run down by one of the loan managers hoping to loan me some money every time I stepped into the bank and gladly offered to shake my dirty hands it became somewhat satisfying to hold back a good laugh when I overheard such remarks. If someone had intentionally insulted me I might have replied to them in kind but that was never necessary.

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I am large , bald, and overweight and cannot even approach a car with the intent to work on it without getting grease stains.

I was temporarily out of work and was calling our union hall daily to get day jobs.

I stopped at a branch of my bank, about 40 miles from my branch. I was driving for one company but stopping to cash a bank draft from another company.

I had to see the manager and he wanted to see my company ID. I told him I had never had any of the trucking companies I worked for provide an ID. and this was just a check for one days casual work, I was not an employee of that company.

He said "One day!, that is more than I make in one day and I have to buy these expensive suits!

I told him it was too bad he wasn’t in the teamster union.

I didn’t bother to inform him that the check was for a 14 hour day.

One year I decided it would be fun to enter the NY State trucking Rodeo. I went to get an application and see the rules. I saw that you got points for neatness. I told the person that gave me the forms that I would be back when a guy with his shirttail hanging out could win it and it would be even better If they held it at night in a blizzard.

You have to be really high up in a Bank to get paid well. My middle son had a part time job as a bank teller while going to college. When he was about to finish his engineering degree from RPI one of the Executive VP’s from the bank came in to offer my son a full-time job as a manager. The VP told him because of his excellent work history and experience they could start him out at a very good salary at a full time management position. He politely informed him that he already had multiple offers from several companies at well over 3 times their offer. Needless to say he declined their offer.

Well all my life I have been exposed to folks with those mental and physical challenges including deaf and blind. So it’s no big deal-everyone has their own challenges and limits. Also been exposed to kids whose folks can pay $40,000 a year for high school.

When we were kids, one of the guys in the neighborhood had become friends with an older kid who had been blinded (legally) by fireworks or something and we got to know him. Couldn’t drive so rode a bike. He was kinda gruff but mechanically inclined. He got a job at the local junk yard so he was always covered in grease, more than usual. So we were in Perkins a few years ago and he comes in and sits down in a booth with his greasy clothes and cap and thick glasses for the one eye that had been restored, and people kind of kept their distance. Could almost hear the crowd gasp when I went up to talk to him, like who could talk to this bum off the street? Oh people are so quick to judge other people knowing nothing about them at all. Elete meet the masses.

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I know, one of mu granddaughters worked as a bank teller right out of high school for just pennies over minimum wage. She was told that because of her good work they were going to make her an assistant manager, with no raise in pay and she would on salary now, which meant she would have to stay until any discrepancies were resolved and every other Saturday with no overtime pay.

She laughed and said no thank you and was told her choice was that or the door.

She chose the door.

She went to Geico ,worked on the phone in the service dept, became a claims adjuster and is now a fraud investigator.

Speaking of RPI, one of my daughters did a years internship there as an athletic trainer. She was living in the 87 gymnasium. I thought , good, she has an almost new building to live in.

When we went there to visit her, we found out it was the 1887 gymnasium.

Yeah my son worked at the bank one summer too. Came up $20 short in his cash drawer once and had to make it up. People that get an extra 20 need to know that it’s not the bank’s money, it’s that poor soul handing it out-so return it.

I was discussing careers though with the VP and he said you’ll never see a rich banker but you’ll never see a poor retired banker, because they (or at least the little banks) dump a lot of money into retirement funds. He worked for GMAC and said he went to a lot of funerals and no retirement parties but just the opposite at the bank. Worse jobs but don’t be a teller. I almost ended up at a little bank in rural South Dakota but the deal kept getting worse the more we talked.

I stopped at a Marine Midland bank at Tonawanda and Amherst street to cash my paycheck and the teller gave me $20 too much. I counted it twice to make sure and then a third time for good measure. I said , I’m sorry miss, you have made a mistake. She said she didn’t make mistakes. I asked her if she was sure, I said OK. I saw a man sitting in a cubicle and asked him if he was in charge and he said he was the assistant manager. I pointed out the teller and gave him the $20 and said, lrt her sweat a little, she told me she doesn’t make mistakes.


Maybe it depends on who you call a banker. My niece’s ex-husband’s grandfather owns a bank in the Norfolk, VA area. He’s rich, very rich. So rich that he can easily afford two ex-wives and his current wife. That ain’t cheap.

A distant in-law spent 20 years in bank management here and did fairly well but quit and cashed in his retirement to work for the federal government closing and cashing out banks across Texas in the S&L crisis. He was a multi-millionaire when he finished there but lived discreetly with is wealth.