Mass. Activists Want Lawmakers to Ban Word 'Retard'

At the Massachusetts Statehouse there is a push to stop using a word activists call outdated, derogatory and hurtful. They're talking about the word "retarded," reported.

It can be very offensive to a lot of people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities

Best Buddies and Special Olympics are among the groups behind the campaign to "spread the word to end the word."

They're asking lawmakers and Statehouse visitors to sign a pledge to stop using the "r-word" in anticipation of national day of awareness this Wednesday.

“I would take the pledge never to use it. As much as it can be used in casual conversation, it's extremely hurtful” said Clarissa Lion from Boston

Jonah Peppiatt from Cambridge said “If you have an epithet that a large group of people is offended by, I don't think you should use it.”

Even the state has abandoned it.

"The Department of Mental Retardation" has changed its name to the "Department of Developmental Services."

Gov. Deval Patrick addressed the change by saying “It's a simple gesture in the direction of acknowledging that people want respect shown.”

So is the r-word really set to become the next "dirty word?" Activists here say they won't stop trying until people stop using it.

This all comes several months after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel used the offensive word to describe an ad campaign proposed by liberal allies.

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