Monday, October 1, 2012

Ann Coulter, It's Time to Apologize

Throwing around the word “retarded” to denigrate people you disagree with politically is not a Liberal thing or a Conservative thing, a Right or a Left thing, it is simply a bad thing. And Ann Coulter should know better.

But evidently she doesn’t know better because on Sept. 26th Ms. Coulter tweeted, "Been busy, but is Obama STILL talking about that video? I had no idea how crucial the retarded vote is in this election."


This isn’t a just a gaffe or a poor choice of words... it is blatant disrespect for an entire group of people who, through no fault of their own, are mentally delayed.

This is the sort of insult that prompted the left-leaning media to demand to know why there have not been apologies made to Sarah Palin for jokes about her son Trig. On FOX, the rants about hypocrisy have been flying, and the demands for an apology have not stopped.

Wayne Brady did apologize on Comedy Central for his inappropriate and rude joke about Trig Palin. And when Obama made his Special Olympics joke on the Jay Leno show, there was an outcry from the public and the President did the right thing by calling Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver to apologize.

It’s Ann Coulter’s turn to give a public apology to the mentally disabled and to those who care about them. It is her turn to acknowledge that the use of the slur “retarded” is crass and unacceptable in all situations. It is time for Ann Coulter to make the pledge to stop using the demeaning R-word.

Please join in the effort to educate Ann Coulter on how important it is to show respect for all groups of people. Tell her how it feels to have someone you love used as totem for frustration and disgust. She can be reached on twitter: @AnnCoulter.

Though her website does not have a contact email, you can email the hosts of the shows she regularly appears on and tell them to call her out and ask for an apology from her:

Sean Hannity
The O’Reilly Factor (
The Today Show
Good Morning America
The Glenn Beck Show (

Friday, August 20, 2010


Hello everyone,

By now, most of you are aware of Jennifer Aniston's recent use of the word "retard" during a publicity tour for her latest crummy movie (sorry, I know that's a cheap shot but I couldn't help it). If you haven't seen her finest moment yet, here's the video.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all too frequently. I know that Jennifer Aniston does not hate people with disabilities and did not deliberately intend to offend the disability community. However, her slip-up hints at the fact that she throws this word around casually. And that does offend me, and that does offend a whole lot of other people. And I bet it really offends the people at the Lili Claire Foundation. This foundation, based in Santa Monica, is dedicated to providing support services for families of children with disabilities. This foundation also lists Jennifer Aniston as an Honorary Board Member.

One of Oz Squad's members has asked for our help in writing to the Lili Claire Foundation and asking that Jennifer be removed from the board. And that's harsh - that's really harsh - and I have gone back and forth all day about this. But ultimately I have decided that anyone who was truly committed to helping disabled children would not casually use the R word on national television. Anyone who was truly committed to these children would have surely stricken this word from her vocabulary long ago. But not Jennifer Aniston.

I think sometimes a little slip-up like that has big consequences, and in this case, I think we should voice our displeasure and ask that she step down from the board. You can contact the Lili Claire Foundation here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Daily Emerald

I want to bring everyone's attention to a column written in the Oregon Daily Emerald:

Watching Words is a Lost Cause

Columnist Thomas Kyle-Milward's views on hate speech run counter to everything our group stands for. I think it's likely that he has never had any real experience being the target of a slur (although I am just assuming, here). But he writes like a person who views this whole pesky language problem as a very abstract and minor bother. He writes to tell us that we should just accept the reality that language changes over time, that words like retard aren't meant to personally offend us, and that instead of trying to change things we should devote our energy to something more worthwhile.

I hope everyone will take a few moments to leave a comment on his column.

Thanks for the tip, Jennifer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was recently alerted to an unfortunate slogan used by members of a gym in Hollywood: "Fitarded." They print it on t-shirts and wear them proudly at competitions. Here's how they define the word on their web site:

1. So extremely fit that even trying to comprehend some of the feats of athleticism will make you feel retarded.
2. So athletically fit that other athletes look slow and/or challenged in comparison.
1.Fortunate for nobody ninjas are so fitarded that even gymnasts can’t even flip out as hard as them.
2. That guy is really fitarded. He can pretty much do anything.

So eloquently stated.

I received this alert from a person who was competing at an event with people who were wearing this shirt. His email to me was so well written, I'm going to reprint part of it here so you can see exactly how it made him feel. I can't say it any better myself:

My wife was very upset when she saw the group of people wearing the shirts that said "fitarded." I tried to explain to her that they probably did not mean any harm, nor were they intending to belittle individuals with disabilities. As the day went by, I could not help but glance over to this group of people and see if this "title" that they labeled themselves with had any meaning to them. Sure enough I witnessed a young man acting as if he had a disability and stating that he was "fitarded."

I am sure the young man did not even realize that only two tents down from his was a young little girl with down syndrome that happens to be my daughter. Myself along with the other members of my CrossFit gym have embraced my daughter as family and were saddened by this display of immaturity and lack of respect for people with down syndrome and special needs.

The young man, along with CrossFit Hollywood, have made a complete mockery of people with special needs and have disgraced the CrossFit community by their lack of judgment. Until now, I felt as if the CrossFit community was a group of people that held themselves to higher standards always striving to be the best, while looking out for the best interests of every individual, regardless of race, creed, fitness level, disabilities, inabilities, etc. I never thought that something of this nature would come out of, what I believe, is an elite group of people.

I know that there are people with down syndrome and other special needs that use CrossFit as their day excercise regiment, and I do not want CrossFit's reputation of excellence in fitness and athletics to be destroyed because of one gym's ignorance.

I hope that the Oz Squad will handle this accordingly.

I think Oz Squad can tackle this one by leaving some comments. Click here to visit the gym's blog and see their definition of "fitarded." Notice the "comments" section waiting at the bottom with open arms.

Crossfit Hollywood is a franchise of CrossFit Inc. They are based in Washington, D.C., and may have no idea what this particular affiliate is doing. So we can alert the parent company as well. Here's their contact information:

CrossFit Inc
1250 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036


Friday, March 12, 2010

Twisted “More Alike” Posters

Many of you have already been informed that the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) has temporarily removed the poster gallery for their More Alike Than Different campaign due to malicious activity. This campaign allowed parents to upload pictures of their children and make their own personally meaningful More Alike Than Different poster.

NDSC decided to remove the gallery when they became aware that people were downloading the posters, modifying them (changing the headlines, text, graphics), and reposting them in online forums. The resulting images are hurtful and hateful. We see this as a violation unlike others we have posted on OS. This group of people is using images of our own children to poke fun at people with Ds, and to demean them.

We have been in contact with NDSC and know that they are researching legal avenues, in addition to other avenues, to rectify this. The hope is that the forum will remove the images.

In the meantime, we can visit the online forum and send emails to the forum administrator asking the content be removed. Be aware that this particular online forum requires users to register (and pay $9.95) before they can post comments. That means that without paying to combat this, our best avenue to make an impact is by emailing the forum administrators:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dear Sarah,

You are fortunate to have a platform from which you can advocate and educate our society about Down syndrome (and all intellectual and physical disabilities). As you well know, when you post something on Facebook, the whole world hears about it.

That is why we—a group of parents of children just like your youngest child—are asking you to strengthen your position on the pejorative use of the word "retarded". It is important that you understand the connection we see between the insult and Trig so that you are better able to articulate our position on this issue.

Everybody knows and agrees that the word "retarded" used in a clinical setting defines a group of individuals as having limited cognitive abilities. In this respect, the term carries similar effects as racial or sexual orientation categorizations, in that it invokes a specific class of individuals with immutable characteristics.

But what not everybody seems to realize is that the current, common definitions of the word "retarded" as stupid, wrong, ineffective... the catch-all for anything that is annoyingly deficient, are steeped in our cultural view of people with mental retardation.

So whether one is using the term as an insult or to raise laughs through satire, the speaker is tapping into our common cultural understanding and belief that people with mental retardation are characterized by those negative definitions listed above. The speaker references a group of individuals defined solely by their cognitive limitations, denying them their individual personalities, and by extension their essential humanity. He agrees that this group is inferior and worthy of our scorn. This use of the word "retarded" has become so deeply ingrained in our society that the user probably doesn’t even realize that he has done this.

Many people, when called out on their use of the word, insist that they meant no harm to the mentally retarded community, that their use of the word had nothing to do with this minority group. These people must be made aware that there is no separating the insult/joke from its basis for understanding it.

No one believes that Rahm Emanuel or Rush Limbaugh thought that they were insulting those with true mental retardation when they called people whose ideas they objected to "retarded." But we do believe that both men were making the point that their targets' ideas were of so little merit that they deserve to be grouped with an undesirable category of people. Both the direct target of the insult, and the class of people it refers to, are indisputably demeaned by such a slur. You cannot have one without the other.

Put a simpler way, if people with mental retardation were generally well-respected and thought highly of, the insult "retarded" would not exist.

Having the government remove the term retarded from the books, and having the medical community change the diagnosis terminology to "a person with intellectual disabilities," is not enough to eradicate the insult. The public must be made aware of how the insult relates to and hurts an entire group of people. This is not a word police PC thing, rather it is a matter of common decency.

Some argue that the insult "retarded" will simply be replaced by another word that is just as hurtful to the intellectually disabled community. But just because some group of the population will always turn clinical or descriptive terms into epithets does not mean that we should condone it. Such a standard would condone the use of virtually any racial, ethnic, or sexual orientation slur.

Sarah, we are asking you to take advantage of teachable moments by calling people out on using terms that systematically demean specific groups. If you are going to fight for what you believe in, and you believe in Trig and all those like him, then you cannot give anybody a pass on this issue. Whether used as an insult or a joke, coming from a Republican or Democrat, it cannot be tolerated.

If you stand up on this issue and speak clearly about the relationship between the word and our children, real change can happen. It will become less and less acceptable to use this entire group of innocent people as the butt of jokes and insults.

We thank you for taking the time to read this letter and look forward to your continued support on this issue.

Oz Squad November
Oz Squad Alpha

Please view the comments to see the rest of our signatures

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Fallout from the Rahm Emanuel slur continues to percolate across the Web. Here's a few more related articles that were recently brought to my attention. Comment away:

Sarah Palin Embraces 'Retarded' Political Correctness

The Morning News: Oscar Nominees, Other Peacocks, 520, and DADT