I heard it three times today.
During the movie "Disturbia" two kids hurl the hateful epithet 'Retard' at the main character. It was unnecessary and they could have easily used other words - if the writers weren't lazy and casual about hurting others. I had to shake of my annoyance in order to enjoy the movie. Luckily the movie was quite intense and I was swept into the story. Until it was over, but then it was impossible for me to think of the movie without thinking about that useless moment.
Joe has hurt his ribs so I've been hauling the wheelchair in and out of the car so he can heal. It's a good way for me to remember the physical cost of supporting someone with needs like mine. So when we decided to go shopping for a few groceries on our way back to the hotel, I almost gave going in a pass because I didn't feel like lifting the chair in and out. But I knew Joe would feel guilty (when he shouldn't) about leaving me in the car so I hauled butt and chair out.
As we went through the store there was a dad and two girls. I'm terrible at guessing ages but I'd put them between five and ten. Cute kids. Dad sounded a little silly talking to them. Uncomfortable, almost. It was like he didn't have the care of them solo often because his chatter was stilted. I think that's why I noticed them.
He actually told them to "chill".
Then he told one of the girls to "stop being so retarded".
The girls looked embarrassed. Both of them.
Waiting in the checkout line I saw them again. One of the girls was asking to go to the makeup section. MAKEUP. She was less than 10!!!
Dad said it again, "That's just so retarded."
She spun on her Dad and said, "Stop saying that word, Dad. It's mean."
He looked stunned.
Then angry, at her.
Then angry, at himself.
Others beside me were watching. He went every shade of red that he could.
"You're right, I'm sorry."
"Just talk normal, Dad." The youngest one offered.
"I will." He wanted to fall into a pit.
Nice thought though ... that 'talking normal' was also 'talking respectful'.