Sorry

I’m so sorry for my insanely offensive comments on Watch What Happens Live. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and this is a good lesson for me to make sure I’m aware of the power of negative speech. Please forgive my ignorance as I have little experience with children and mothers and I’m often likely to act very childish myself. All my love and apologies to anyone who may have been hurt by my statements and my inexcusable remarks.

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73 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. @ Ann

    You’re still a hypocrite. Using words that were previously used as retard is used today, constitutes hypocrisy. Nigger has its (did I use the right one, Stunned?) origins in Latin, as well. Niger meaning black. It *evolved* into an ethnic slur. Currently, the black community is reclaiming the word. Thus, sparking another evolution. I think it must be the term evolution that is throwing you. It may not be in 50 years, but somewhere down the road, words we use today as derogatory slang will have new meaning. Take curse words for example. Currently, the f and c bombs are the only ones not allowed on basic cable. 50 years ago no curse words, along with bathroom and sex references were not allowed on television. The sting of words wear off. It may not happen in my lifetime, but it will happen. The whole point of my argument is that she used a word. A derogatory word. A word that has been around for millenia. Only since the 1970s has it been used to describe someone with mental defect. The saying “actions speak louder than words” is true for a reason. Words change, they evolve. One’s actions are permanent. It is amazing how crazy people get over a couple of syllables. Crazy! There’s another one! A schizophrenic would have been labeled crazy. For a short while there people were sour grapes over using the word crazy as it was a bad word for people with mental defect not MR. Now, we have crazy parties! Crazy kids!

    Margaret Cho did not walk up to you and say I would never have a child if it turned out to be a retard like yours. She said she doesn’t want a retard baby. No one hopes for a baby with MR, but you work with the cards you are dealt. I know if Ms. Cho did have special needs kid, she would work tirelessly for it. And she would not get so worked up over one silly word.

    I do wonder, though, what the backlash would have been had she said stupid baby or idiot baby. Would you still be on here tearing her down?

  2. @ Franklin….and the point of my argument was that as a public figure, she should know better…go to her NEWEST blog post…she states exactly what we the minority on this one are trying to state…read it and then I’ll tell you what….have a baby with any cognitive disability at all and have another public figure say something derogatory…you are not in my shoes, you do not know what the parents of special needs children go through, so your argument is one sided…I do not tell you not to be offended if someone uses the derogatory words that are used for homosexuals…you cannot tell me not to be offended that she used the one word that pisses me off more than anything in the world..we will have to agree to disagree on this…because until you have a child with special needs you will never understand

  3. Margaret dont worry about it….if anyone expects you to be anything other that what you are FUCK them….You have brought and continue to bring laughter and joy to a world that has way to little of it….if people are going to get all fucked up about words let them sleep in the streets or go hungry for a week or hold someone dying of AIDS….most of your critics if not ALL are small minded small living retards that do nothing and contribute nothing.

    YOU FUCKIN ROCK!!!

    Bill

  4. Dont be too tough on yourself. Your humour offends every body – even your mum and your own ethnicity. That’s what I call true equality! For goodness sake please don’t become socially acceptable – we love you just as you are. xxx!

  5. You also called yourself a lesbian. Aren’t you married to a dude? I guess I’d have to redefine what I am if I’m a woman who is only into women but refuses to marry men.

  6. Just read all the comments – for goodness sake get over it. It was a joke – j-o-k-e. I have been a loyal fan for ever. I’m a gay man so perhaps I should be offended by your ‘fisting’ jokes! I am in no doubt were you to actually have retarded child you would love it to pieces. People – build a bridge! Sheesh!

  7. Dear Ms. Margret Cho,
    Did you really want to wake a sleeping giant of parents of Special Needs Children? I understand that you are an advocate for many worthy causes. I accept your apology. Now how are you going to show that your are sorry? Actions speak louder than words, and as you know, the words you spoke hurt many, many people. (I am not an eloquent speaker, and if I don’t choose my words carefully, I regret it after.) A change of heart will do. Living your life to the fullest and treating others as you would like to be treated. I respect you as a person who works hard and has accomplished a great deal. I challenge you to soul search and examine your life daily to be the best person you can be. I remember you coming to my campus to perform and was excited when I saw you on the Tonight Show for the first time. Please use your influence for good from now on. That is my challenge, will you accept it?

  8. @ Patrick….you build a bridge…if she were not gay and used one of the many derogatory words out there for homosexuals you would be organizing a lynch mob and screaming for an apology…@ Bill Mance…BRAVO!!! All I have been trying to say all along is that it is the context that the word was used in that was offensive…Ladies and gentleman parents and non parents…the cross that parents of special needs children bear is heavy enough without ignorant comments being dished out to jump up and down on it….PLEASE think before you speak…because that off hand off color remark you make under your breath in the store, in the park, in a hallway or on the street…we can hear you…

  9. holy crapballs! that was hysterical ! your delivery of it was perfect. Had to watch it twice because I laughed so hard. It was so refreshing to say what we are all thinking. I usually say something much worse to people which is if I wait any longer IT will have a horn growing out of its head! That was pure comedy. And for all the haters.. it is called mental RETARDation. Everyone should have one..they are fun.lol Better than the mongo line from There’s Something About Mary.I LOVE YOU.. you ain’t bad for a lezbo. lol

  10. Fuck off Franklin, “faggot” didn’t start out as a slur towards gay people but if it’s used now, it’s certainly is considered to be.

    If late material age was linked to homosexual offspring and she (or anyone for that matter) was a straight woman and said “I don’t want a fag baby” most of you rising to her defense would be up in arms.

    If eugenics is a-okay, then most people would have ended up as abortions.

    Second of all “mental retardation” is a no longer used because it’s not only based on cognition but adaptive behaviors as well. Given all the early intervention therapies now available that narrow that deficit, “mental retardation” is rarely diagnosed because it’s not accurate.

    Margarete FUCKED up, if she is truly sorry and wants to learn from this, it can be a teachable moment. It won’t be if you and people like you continue to defend it yet pick and choose what slurs are tolerable and which are not.

    Margarete coming from a community that seeks, demands and (rightfully) expects acceptance and tolerance should be an example of that attribute herself.

  11. You can’t have free speech without exploring the outer boundaries of it. It was in Orwell’s 1984 where we saw the dynamic link between a culture’s mental freedom and actual freedom expressed in the locking-down of language. How very different is ‘NEWSPEAK’ from Political Correctness? Only a difference in degrees, the intent is the same.

    I’m not sure there’s a need for another monologuist like the late Spaulding Grey or anything, but when a comedic artist feels led to explore the link between language, thought and inner reaction I’m totally there cheering them on. BECAUSE when they succeed in creating that artistic moment, our freedom has been expanded and enriched.

  12. Where is Andy Cohen’s apology for not only laughing with you but also ignoring the many other times the word is used? He is rightfully offended by gay slurs but couldn’t seem to care less about the R word.

  13. Yes- your funny. I like you alot. For all the ignorant people- the difference in making fun of gays, blacks, lesbians etc… (even in tje comedy world) is that ALL of these groups have a good solid platform to defend themselves from. They have the ability to defend themselves. People with special needs don’t have- and are not given that same platform or respect. That’s is why is is so gross- and inexcusable to make fun of them. Be ashamed.

  14. I was offended and I appreciate the spirit of apology.

    You are entitled to your opinions. It is not your thoughts on living life with a special needs child that is offensive, its the words you use to express your thoughts.

    Someone who works so hard for equal rights and acceptance should know that when you use a derogatory term people get hurt. You don’t have to know a person with special needs to know that that kind hate speech is unacceptable.

  15. Your apology is accepted from a mother with a child with Down syndrome AND a Special Education teacher. This word cuts like a knife, not only when used in referring to individuals with a cognitive delay (NOT retarded) but also in jokes and off the cuff comments.

    Please, educate yourself on the correct, and current terminology – which is using PEOPLE FIRST language. You probably wouldn’t want to be referred to as that gay, Margaret. You are Margaret, who happens to be a lesbian. Your identity is so much more than just your sexuality. Just as my child is so much more than just Down syndrome. You say “the individual has…Autism, Down syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, etc.”

    As your apology is nice, I strongly urge you to take further actions to undo your damage. Like, connect with the following organization: http://www.r-word.org Or even connect with the Council for Exceptional Children and do something good for them. You can even give money – a good chunk of it – to support any research on disability. And check out my blog about having a child with a disability: http://www.extra-ordinaryfriends.blogspot.com/ There is so much joy that BOTH my kids bring. It doesn’t take a special person to become a mother of a child with a disability, but a special woman is often made from the birth of such a child.

    I hope, if you do choose to have a child, that you do have a healthy child. But if, by some chance that doesn’t happen, I also hope you embrace the beauty and joy in that child. And in ALL children, and adults, with special needs.

  16. As a sibling of a young man who has Down Syndrome, and a kindergarten teacher, who was blessedly entrusted with a child with Down Syndrome and 2 children with autism this year, I fear the only cognitive or social/emotional delay I can speak to today is Ms. Cho’s. Day one of this past school year I had 3 special children in my class. Day 180, I now have 18 special children! Their lives have been affected, touched, and irreversibly bettered through the daily interactions they have had with these amazing human angels this year! If you need an example of the positive power these children possess, I’ll gladly comply! Upon completion of a ten minute discussion on global giving and charity, I asked my 5 to 7 year old students what their number one wish for every child on earth would be. In other words, what they wished every child on earth could have. The very first response from a “typically-abled” five year old was, “A BRENDAN!” to which the rest of the class cheered their agreement! Brendan is my student who has Down Syndrome. If my students haven’t mastered their addition and subtraction facts to 10 this year, at least they have experienced humanity, character and kindness in its purest form! I will continue to pray that public, popular and famous figures who lack the vision, emotional intelligence and empathy of five year olds will be silenced and humbled by the purity, innocence and brilliance around them. Open your eyes and you, too, can start to enjoy the beauty and magic of difference!

  17. Christin: You are correct in saying Mental Retardation is a legitimate diagnostic term in the USA at present. However, that doesn’t mean that the term isn’t inappropriate or offensive. Other previously official diagnostic categories are ‘imbecile’, ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’; I’m sure you would not argue that these would be offensive terms if they were still used today.

    “Retard” is widely used as a derogatory slur against not only people with intellectual disabilities, but also those with other types of disabilities. It is because of this that the term is recognised as offensive by the international community of mental health professionals, and “Mental Retardation” has not been used in countries other than the USA as an official diagnosis for a number of years (‘intellectual disability’ has replaced it). Indeed, it is being removed from the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders in 2012 in the USA, to be replaced with “Intellectual Disability”.

    Take a look at the bigger picture before you defend the use of offensive language that only serves to marginalise others. Just because some things actually exist in the world (such as the official diagnosis of retardation in the USA) does not actually automatically make them just and correct.

  18. Regarding Margaret’s joke: I don’t object to the use of the offensive slur as much as I object to the message behind it. Margaret essentially made a joke that implied that having a child with an intellectual disability is one of the worst things that happen to a person, and that having an intellectual disability yourself would be even worse. I wonder how people would feel if someone made the same joke about having a gay child? I’m betting no-one would defend such comment, even if it was said in jest.

    Believe it or not, people with disabilities can and do lead productive and a happy lives. And even more shocking is that their parents may even sometimes get joy out of raising such children.

    No-one has the right to judge the quality of another person’s life based simply on things like their cognitive or physical abilities, skin colour, weight, or sexual orientation. I would have that someone like Cho, who is obviously a great defender of gay rights and equality, would have known better than to make a comment like she did against another minority group. In the words of the gay advocate Harvey Milk “Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up.”

    Think about it.

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