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The Use of the Word “Retard”

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 809
  • Category: Emotions

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Have you ever used the word “retard” without thinking about what the word really means? Patricia Bauer author of “A Movie, A Word, and My Family’s Battle” writes about how the movie industry uses the word “retard” loosely with no regard for the intellectually disabled community. Bauer explains how society has accepted the use of the word “retard” as a common phrase to mean or make fun of a mistake that was made. The writerThere are many qualities needed for a good argument. A good argumentative essay must not only show a good grasp of the issues, but also delivers a well-structured essay that communicates clearly. The argument must be organized and structured so that it lays out a clear agenda; it spells out the question to be answered and the issue to be covered, so that the reader has a clear and focused idea of what the argument is supposed to be about. Clear use of valid evidence is needed to argue the views on any subject. Valid evidence must show two sides of a topic (briefly) and provide proof as to why the reader should be persuaded to one side or position. The conclusion should sum up the argument without adding any additional information.

Bauer’s argument to end the derogatory use of the word “retard” was ineffective due to the lack of organization and structure; it was based solely on an emotional standpoint and invalid evidence to prove her argument. Bauer’s argument is not organized or structured, which makes it very hard to follow. Bauer does not follow the basic rules for a good argument. She does not give the reader enough information at the beginning of the story to tell them what the argument is about. Firstly, this essay lacks an introduction or thesis statement. From the start of this paper, the reader has no idea what the argument is about. Secondly, Bauer jumps randomly from one paragraph to another with no structure to her thoughts. She provides examples of the movie Tropic Thunder, and progresses to people’s use of the word “retard.” Thirdly, the writer provided no reasonable conclusion to describe the summary of her argument on the subject. She states two statements, “The studio never considered that its portrayal of people with disabilities would touch a nerve” and “for millions of Americans like Margaret and me, it does” (121). With no formal conclusion the reader is left with a few questions.

Is this essay an argument or a story based on emotion? Bauer’s argument is based on emotion which makes it hard for the reader to follow. It is solely an emotional essay. The writer seems to have a very personal stance on the subject. She has raised a daughter with Down syndrome and she has tried so hard to shelter her from the hurtful word “retard.” Emotional essays provide no new ways of looking at the problem. Bauer’s argument was mostly a lot of finger pointing at the movie industry and their lack of compassion when using the word “retard.” Furthermore, the writer expresses society’s lack of compassion for the intellectually disabled community. The writer demonstrates examples of people’s use of this word as a means for expressing careless acts. Bauer states, “A clerk in a store apologizes for being “such a retard” when she can’t find an item for me. Ouch. Kids at the mall call one another “you big retard.” Ouch.

A friend tells a long, involved story at my dinner table about her recent fender bender, with a punch line about “some retard” who parked behind her” (119). Bauer does not argue either of these points but just expresses her feeling about it. Bauer did not use any valid evidence in her essay to argue her point. Bauer states, “With the release of the film Tropic Thunder, the public has plunged headlong into an overheated disagreement about the border between comedy and hate speech, political correctness and over sensitivity” (118). Then the writer attacks the movie industry wanting to know why “the filmmakers did not consult people with intellectual disabilities or their families on the script” (121), referring to the movie Tropic Thunder.

Bauer’s argument shows no evidence the movie industry used the word “retard” in a hurtful way. After reading “A Movie, a Word, and my Family’s Battle,” I did not find the argument to be effective. The essay was not organized or structured to effectively convince the reader to agree with her argument. Bauer shows no evidence that the movie industry uses the word “retard” crudely toward the intellectually disabled community. Bauer’s essay appeared to be from an emotional standpoint and not an argument. The author seems to just be complaining, instead of arguing. In the end, the reader was unable to identify what the writer’s goal is, making this argument ineffective.

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