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when did 'special' become an insult?


heavens-champion
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Originally it was a way to describe handicapped people without using a slur in an attempt to not be offensive. Somewhere along the line it got twisted to actually being a slur because people got it in their heads that being politically correct was inherently a bad thing. Combined with the fact that actually calling someone retarded went from being a simple description to practically a controversy and you have a recipe for bass-ackwards ways of not being offensive even when you are absolutely being offensive.

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This is how it always works. Not too long ago, 'idiot' was a clinical term. 'Retarded' as well, among many others. It is a continuous process of authorities inventing new words as the old ones become slurs.

From what I've read, even 'shit' was originally invented German immigrants as a euphemism for 'Scheiße'.

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It also depends on the person. Some people actually use it as a way to insult disabled people, especially if it's meant sarcastically. Sadly, that's society. tbh... I'd rather be called special than be called retarded (I have disabilities). :stressed:

Edited by Team Clayne
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"Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Free Speech is about the objective rule of law - not anyone's personal feelings, because guess what, we all feel differently.

Anyway, there's hardly a way to tell what another might be offended by. Beyond that, political activists will obviously stack the deck against their opponents and claim aggression and oppression, et al.

Punishing people for not using the right language or believing the right things obviously leads to the grossest kinds of oppression we've ever known (ergo, Amendment I).

It's not an easy concept, but, if one simply decides to approach all people fairly and with goodwill, rather than picking sides and enemies; the outcome should bring about more harmony.

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Simple, because some people are complete babies. People get offended so easily over things that are not even offensive.

Honestly, this world would be a better place without baby-like behavior such as getting offended by trivial things.

Words are harmless. They cannot hurt you unless you let them hurt you.

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These people would pick out almost anything and call it an insult because they're bored. I wouldn't bother with it. 

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1 hour ago, Mirage said:

Punishing people for not using the right language or believing the right things obviously leads to the grossest kinds of oppression we've ever known (ergo, Amendment I).

Amendments only protect against tyranny of the government, not tyranny of the people. Social shaming is a wild out-of-control mob of vigilantes acting in lieu of the government "failing" to appropriately punish people for saying a naughty word (or other similar things). Just look at what happens whenever someone isn't convicted the way the public wants them to be. They are no less punished, and in some cases punished MORE to the point of having to flee, change their name, stay off the grid forever, etc.

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15 minutes ago, BornAgainBrony said:

Amendments only protect against tyranny of the government, not tyranny of the people. Social shaming is a wild out-of-control mob of vigilantes acting in lieu of the government "failing" to appropriately punish people for saying a naughty word (or other similar things). Just look at what happens whenever someone isn't convicted the way the public wants them to be. They are no less punished, and in some cases punished MORE to the point of having to flee, change their name, stay off the grid forever, etc.

Saul Alinski's Rules for radicals:

#5 - "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

#13 - "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

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Regarding the initial question, I assumed that 'special' was an abbreviation of 'special needs' (still an accepted term) that was used as a pejorative due to the association with people with learning disabilities. 

 

2 hours ago, Lucid_Nightlight said:

Words are harmless. They cannot hurt you unless you let them hurt you.

I would challenge the concept behind that - although stigmatised, mental health matters and can have a real and measurable effect on people. 

On the wider topic, I think it's worth remembering that some people will genuinely be upset by some things. Society (or, rather, a collection of societies connected by the internet) are still hammering out what is and is not reasonable conduct on the internet, and it isn't easy - I am an optimist, and I think that after a few decades things will have settled down, but until then it's worth erring on the side of caution. What is acceptable in one society (or in a microcosm of a society) isn't always acceptable elsewhere, and getting angry about a rude or intolerant response (or indeed about a response that is simply contrary to your views) isn't going to help matters; by all means disagree, but attributing malice to the opposition will only engender bitterness.  

Edited by Once In A Blue Moon
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3 hours ago, Discordian said:

Free speech is what allows people to voice their concerns about what offends them so you're a bit off-base.

Voicing your concerns is one thing. Using your concerns as an excuse to shut down the right to dialogue on a subject is another. We're seeing this all too often now from the far left. They operate under this idea that we all have some right to not be offended. That right simply doesn't exist, and if it did, it'd be impossible to regulate since we're all offended by different things. 

1 hour ago, TwilySparky said:

People who get offended by the word special are the ones who think being obese is perfectly okay. Then again, that's my cynical viewpoint on it.

It's funny you mention that, because I once had a thread locked for making that same argument. Truth hurts. People here can't seem to handle it.

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"Watch them run, watch them fall, watch them try to catch a ball, Olympics. Special Olympics ..."

 

It's used for mentally retarded individuals, so of course it's also used to express an opinion that someone is mentally retarded in order to insult them. Context matters. That is all.

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3 hours ago, KillerKingBakudan said:

Voicing your concerns is one thing. Using your concerns as an excuse to shut down the right to dialogue on a subject is another. We're seeing this all too often now from the far left. They operate under this idea that we all have some right to not be offended. That right simply doesn't exist, and if it did, it'd be impossible to regulate since we're all offended by different things. 

It's funny you mention that, because I once had a thread locked for making that same argument. Truth hurts. People here can't seem to handle it.

That doesn't make them against free speech. If anything, they're exercising their right to it. To believe you are right and they are wrong, and being able to explain why, is exactly what free speech is about.

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Are we seriously about to have this discussion once again about how your free speech is apparently being destroyed by the left, when that isn't actually happening in reality? 

Freedom of speech protects you from the government. The government can't hold you accountable for what you say. But people have every right to look at you funny is you say something stupid. If you get called out for calling a mentally disabled or an autistic person a retard, you are not being censored, your being reprimanded, and rightfully so. 

 

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