Category Archives: The word retarded

In defence of Barbara Walter and Whoopi Goldberg

Bill Maher made a joke that involved calling Sarah Palin’s son with Down Syndrome “retarded”. Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg discussed this on “The View”. I believe that Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg have been subject to harsh criticism because of some of the comments they made and they were accused of defending Bill Maher. This concerns me because the harsh comments can discourage them from having more discussions about this word.

In particular, Barbara Walters has been criticized because she said that she didn’t think Bill Maher meant to be mean spirited. I think Barbara Walters was wrong on this. Because Bill Maher already met with Tim Shriver to discuss the word “retarded” and knows that this word is offensive, and because what I’ve observed of Bill Maher’s attitude, I believe he probably meant to be mean spirited. However, Barbara Walters might not have known that Bill Maher met with Tim Shriver. I think Barbara Walter’s point was simply that some people are unaware that you’re supposed to say mentally challenged instead of “retarded”.

A website claims, “Later, Goldberg picked up Walters’ baton, implying it’s all right for Maher to use the term to describe Palin’s child because the word ‘retarded’ wasn’t always considered a slur.” [1] I don’t think Whoopi Goldberg meant this as a defense of Bill Maher. I think she was simply commenting about her perspective of the word while it was being discussed, and was not referring to Bill Maher’s use of the word.

I have observed some rather horrible comments about Walters and Goldberg on the Internet such as, “And I, definitely, did not find Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters comments to be of intelligent viewpoints. Shame on all you stupid people!” [2] and “Whoopi would stick up for Hittler if he attacked Palin,” [2] and “whoopie is a n—–r. You would expect this from her.” [2] I think these are very horrible things to say, especially since they were not even defending Bill Maher. They were speaking out against using the word “retarded”. There are more comments like this on Twitter.

This is not the first time that the word “retarded” has been discussed on “The View”. Whoopi Goldberg stated, “This word, I’m sorry, it is part of the American language, and it should not be used the way that it is used by anybody–by anybody,” and Barbara Walters stated, “This is a word, as you say, that I have felt having gone through it myself, and seen it as a label that is so detrimental, that it is a word that should no longer be in our vocabulary.” [3] Whoopi Goldberg later described herself as being “guilty” of using the word without thinking. Clearly, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters are against using this word.

I am autistic and I have been called retarded, and I know how hurtful this word can be. That’s why I am glad that people like Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg are discussing this word on their show so that people watching will realize that this is a hurtful word and hopefully will stop using it. However, if people give them harsh comments for their discussions of the word, it can discourage people from discussing it and bringing this issue to people’s attention.