News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Say It Another Way

Ashley Lanuza

As I continue to meet new people, I start to realize that our culture has a tendency to over exaggerate. Phrases  such as “I’m so hungry I can eat a horse” have integrated themselves into our society. These expressions are generally acceptable, but a few statements, namely that of a serious medical disorder, should not be used to express emotions. Retardation and depression, among many others, are medical complications that are often used in a joking manner. However, “depressed” should not be used as a term for a temporary sadness. According to the Mayo Clinic website, it can lead to suicide, serious physical and mental fatigue, and other complications. Depression isn’t a bout of temporary sadness over a frivolous situation, but a long-term illness that requires treatment; therefore, it shouldn’t be used to describe a feeling that is of lesser intensity. Moreover, calling a person “retarded” for making a mistake is uncalled for. According to the website, “…mental retardation is characterized by below-average intelligence or mental ability and a lack of skills necessary for day-to-day living.” If a person makes a simple mistake or an awful joke, it does not mean they are “retarded.” They simply made a mistake, like everyone else can make. It is an improper use of the name for a difficulty in life. Additionally, the remark “I’m so hungry, I could die” said by a well-nourished, first-world citizen is the most ignorant hyperbole I have ever heard. There are people in our country who are malnourished and homeless. We live in a world where third-world countries suffer with poverty, war, and illnesses that continue to hurt its people. A skipped meal or snack will not kill you; so survive a few more hours and be grateful for your next meal.
Using these words or anything similar is indirectly offensive to those who live with the indicated complication. They are serious conditions and problems in life that others have to live with. The silent girl near you may have been suffering from depression for years, yet you say you are “depressed” because you didn’t get tickets to the Bieber concert. You may call your friends “retarded” like it is no big deal, but one of them may actually have a sibling with an intellectual disability. You don’t think you can survive the next few hours before your next meal; however, there may be a little boy on the other side of the world who doesn’t even know if he’ll survive another night with his empty stomach. Don’t interchange sadness, stupidity, hunger, and other emotions with serious disorders that weigh people down. The use of medical disorders as a way to express your feelings shouldn’t be acceptable. It is offensive, idiotic, and plain ignorant.

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