Dear Editor:

I was dismayed to read Mr. Dave Blake’s recent letter to the editor titled, “Social Capital.” In it, he uses the word “retard” as an insult. When used in this manner, the terms “retarded” and “retard” are offensive, yet for some reason these words keep popping up in some people’s daily dialogue as a substitute for “pathetic,” “weak” or “stupid.” Just as with the “N” word, this practice must stop.

Mental retardation is a disability and you never know who you are hurting when you use the word incorrectly. The word “retarded” actually means “delayed,” so allow me to use it properly in a sentence: When one uses a disability as a synonym for stupidity, his or her empathy and emotional maturity is retarded. We should allow the thoughts that originate in our brains to filter through our hearts before our hands write them or our tongues say them.

Brenda Blackmon

This story was posted on September 5, 2013.