Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Like an Idiot

Look up "idiot" in the dictionary, and you will see that it is a word used to describe someone with an intellectual disability, the R-word, if you will. We, as a culture, think nothing of throwing this word around, calling other people that in a disparaging way, telling stories on ourselves in all the ways we act and look like an "idiot," and using it in everyday conversation.

I wish I had a nickel for each time I've heard someone say, "He looked/talked to me like I was an idiot." I'd take all those millions of nickels and start an aggressive campaign to end the ignorance (which refers to someone that simply doesn't know, not someone that is "stupid").

Let's break that apart: One could assume that the person saying such a thing thinks only idiots deserve to be spoken to or looked at in a way a person of normal, or please, Lord, above normal, intelligence should be looked/spoken to.

One could assume that being an "idiot"is a terrible thing to be, and therefore any insinuation that one is such a thing, is a huge insult.

One could assume because true idiots aren't capable of understanding the simplest of things, they belong in a sub-human category, undeserving of respect.

It may seem like a small thing to most people - word choice - but it's not. What we say reflects what we think. We, as a culture, have to think differently. We need to choose our words carefully. We need to at least show respect, even if we can't quite get ourselves to a place where we internalize and feel nothing but compassion for all sentient beings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "There is compassion, and there is everything else." I believe there are people that operate from a place of worthiness, their own, and the inherent worthiness of others, all deserving of compassion.

And then there's everyone else.

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Carrie is a parent and advocate of a child with special needs and even more special gifts. She blogs at where this is pretty much her favorite topic. Carrie’s book, WIL OF GOD: Embracing the Relentless Love of a Special Child, is available in print on Amazon and all e-readers.


  1. Well said. It takes practice to be aware of how we are speaking and the messages we are trying to convey. I am all for the creative use of metaphors and analogies, but I agree that we ought not to simply parrot words without truly understanding what they mean.

    Thank you.

  2. Did you use these words before you had a special needs child? If so I would love to see/read how you came to your current views/opinions about certain words. Was it a lightbulb moment? Or a gradual learning?

    I think most people do better when they know better and you are teaching many.