illustrated threads linked above, unillustrated suggestions listed below
With a screwed up little face and lots of drool
In the USA in 1910 the magnificently titled 'Association of Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idiots and Feeble-Minded Persons' set the classifications of mentally deficient people as 'moron', 'imbecile' and 'idiot'. These stayed in official medical use until 1959 when they were replaced by 'mild', 'moderate' and 'severe' mental retardation respectively. And now 'mentally retarded' has fallen out of favour in turn.
I've already included 'Dunce' in the alphabet, as one of the very first cards, as this was a common illustration in schoolbooks of less enlightened times. "Retard" would be less likely to have been depicted back then ('idiot' might be more likely), but it's in with a chance.
Remember, they're all God's children.
I read this week in a science magazine* a news item about brain development and intelligence. Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, USA, took biennial brain scans of 307 children from age 6 to 20. The report then reads "The children were divided on the basis of IQ tests into average, high and superior intelligence".
So which was it?
a) Children of low and inferior intelligence were screened out before the study started, which would be odd for a study of intelligence and its relationship with brain growth.
b) The scientists lumped all the low scorers in with 'average', thus losing some of the definition of their results.
c) A new statistical terminology has been invented where 'average' means 'low', 'high' means 'average' and 'superior' means 'high'.
Stuck for a way to describe low intelligence without causing offence? Just call it average.
*New Scientist, 1 April 2006, p.21: "Inside the brains of ...
The School Bully
Other abandoned terms for this are the more verbose "retardate" and "trainable". The 1975 education film "The ABC's of Sex Education for Trainable Persons" is available from the web if you look hard enough.
Thanks for sending me on the path to that charming film. My favourite scene, from a lexicographical point of view, is early in the film where an instructor encourages group of teachers to yell out synonyms for the penis, which she writes on a blackboard. In order that they become comfortable using these words with their students, they then read them back in unison, so all together now: "prick, peter, cock, rod, dick, meat, ding dong, wand, wiener, tool, joint".
Answering my own question perhaps: enjoy the following extract from the 'Hostess' site of the Interstate Bakeries Corporation in the USA.
Hostess ® Ding Dongs ®
Ding Dongs - enrobed with chocolate coating, with rich and majestic crème filling, you can't help but feel like royalty when you bite into one <ouch!> ... you'll be singing a happy tune every time you polish off a package. Nibble them slowly, like a king or queen, and savor the creamy goodness of every morsel, or bite right into that creamy center <ouch again!> and get a mouthful of chocolate goodness.
This posting seems to have drifted somewhat (although amusingly).
So, back to the subject: the current word used by my children and their contemporaries is "special" as in "He's a special child". It probably comes from "Statement of special educational needs". As statements apply to both physically disadvantaged and the less academically gifted it is wide and therefore even more non PC by putting them both into the same category.
Oh, and another description is "different" as in Differently Abled. (NB a sufficient neologism not to feature on MS spell checker)
Mr Headmaster: your missus works at the chalk face: what does she
Mrs W-J refers to "SEN" children - the acronym for "Special Educational Needs" - which as you say doesn't discriminate between the blind, the barmy, the belmers and the bone idle.
Rodney King...inspired by the "riot" thread.
'Rodney King' doesn't fit the entrance criteria in the school rules, not even in a lax interpretation. However, I am intending to add the already suggested 'Policeman' shortly, PC Plod with truncheon raised, to accompany 'Golliwog'.
The text on this page is archived from The Politically Incorrect Alphabet Forum - which unfortunately broke on August 2nd 2006 through overuse. A list of completed un-PC illustrations and their archived threads can be found here.
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