Jennifer Aniston’s r-word controversy is the buzz of the day. During an interview, Jennifer Aniston said the r-word. What is the r-word? Retard. Yes, I know – I was reading CNN’s site this morning and I had to click on the story because I had no clue what on earth the r-word was.
Speaking about her Harpers Baazar Barbara Streisand photo shoot with Regis Philbin and Kristin Cruz she was asked how she got in to the mood to “embody” Streisand. Aniston replied “I play dress-up. I do it for a living, like a retard.”
The interview went on without incident. The audience chuckled and it appeared as if the whole thing would be overlooked. Wrong.
The backlash has been astounding, and I cannot help but think that political correctness in the country has gone a little overboard.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not cool to downgrade those with mental illnesses, or those from different ethnic backgrounds. However, why do we have to walk on eggshells, being careful not to make a slip.
And I am not saying that we shouldn’t try to train ourselves to choose our words carefully. There are certain words we shouldn’t say like the N-word. We shouldn’t call someone with a mental illness the “r-word” because it might hurt their feelings. We should avoid all racial slurs as well.
Growing up, I remember using the r-word quite flippantly. To this day, I probably still slip – just like Jennifer Aniston, and I really don’t think that her “slip” deserves so much backlash.
I highly doubt that the actress was trying to downgrade those with mental illnesses. I don’t think she was making fun of people, and I don’t think she even thought before she spoke. To think that people – even celebrities – craft their every word, trying to make sure that nobody is offended is naïve. I don’t think that people should be expected to do so, either.
So has political correctness gotten out of hand in our country? Are we in a situation where we can barely communicate without an onslaught of “politically correct” terms?
Some people have tweeted that they are re-thinking going to see Jennifer Aniston’s “The Switch” because of the “r-word” scandal. I think that’s a little overboard.
In respect of those who are offended by the “r-word” we should try to reduce the usage of it in our everyday language. However, in respect of those who don’t use the word in a rude or disrespectful way, occasional slips should be overlooked.