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An insensitive choice of words

To the editor:

While there is no shortage of derogatory language circulating on Penn's campus, I was shocked to see an example printed in the pages of Friday's DP. In his article "It's the network (or lack thereof)", Stephen Krewson nonchalantly uses the term "retard" to describe Sen. Ted Stevens. Despite one's political inclinations or personal grudges, labeling someone with whom you do not agree a "retard" is both inappropriate and hurtful. It is unfortunate that the author felt compelled to use this degrading term in his column. When used appropriately, to retard means to move more slowly. In Krewson's column though, the word is used to characterize a person as "stupid" or "dumb."

It is precisely this type of incorrect usage which perpetuates the hateful and degrading associations of the word "retard" with the developmentally disabled. At a university as progressive as Penn, this type of language should not be tolerated. I urge the author, as well as others in the Penn community, to think carefully about the meaning of a word before using it.

Julie Gutowski

SAS '10

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