40 Alternatives to Ableist and Oppressive Words

Submitted by Defasher moderator in Illegalism

Imagine if a term associated with your identity was considered an insult. It would sting, right? And every time people used it, they would be reinforcing the idea that people like you are bad and unwanted.

Here are some examples of ableist language: retarded, lame, crippled, crazy, insane, dumb, feebleminded, moronic, spaz, psycho, schizo, maniac, idiot, cretin, looney, hysterical, gimp, nuts, wheelchair bound, freak, weak, invalid (as a noun) and special. Some of these terms were used even used diagnostically in the past, like “moron,” “dumb” and “retarded.”

If you mean frustrating or perplexing – ”This is so stupid!” or “That’s retarded!” –consider:

  1. Frustrating

  2. Pointless

  3. Annoying

  4. Irritating

  5. Obnoxious

If you mean intense – ”Woah, crazy!” — consider:

  1. Intense

  2. Awesome

  3. Amazing

  4. Wild

  5. Fascinating

If you mean bad or unpleasant – ”Wow, that’s lame!” — consider:

  1. Bad

  2. Awful

  3. Uncool

  4. Gross

  5. The pits

If you mean it as an intensifier, positive or negative – ”She’s a crazy good artist!” or “This is insanely difficult!” — consider:

  1. Really

  2. Very

  3. Intensely

  4. Wicked

  5. Considerably

If you mean unreasonable or absurd – ”That’s crazy!” — consider:

  1. Unreasonable

  2. Absurd

  3. Outrageous

  4. Unacceptable

  5. Ridiculous

If you mean to describe someone with a bad, dangerous character – ”She’s psychotic!” or “He’s a sociopath!” — consider:

  1. Dangerous

  2. Menacing

  3. Threatening

  4. Evil

  5. Murderous

If you mean to describe someone who’s doing something a little dorky – ”They’re such a spaz!” or “Are you retarded or something?” — consider:

  1. Silly

  2. Dorky

  3. Cheesy

  4. Nonsensical

  5. Illogical

If you mean to describe something that’s difficult to understand, or totally bizarre – ”These mass shootings are just crazy.” — consider:

  1. Fathomless

  2. Daunting

  3. Overwhelming

  4. Bizarre

  5. Bottomless

Not sure whether a word or phrase is disablist? The answer often depends on the context and situation.

“She’s autistic” to describe an autistic person, for example, is just a factual statement — though she may prefer to be called a person with autism, depending on how she views her relationship to autism. “Ugh, she’s so autistic” to describe someone’s weird behavior, on the other hand, is disablist.

If you’re using a word that refers to disability in a descriptive sense to suggest that something is bad, abnormal, unacceptable, weird, strange, upsetting, bizarre, odd, peculiar … you should probably consider using one of those adjectives instead!

Finally, when referring to individuals, you should always ask how they want to be treated. Along the way, you may learn some useful phrases and concepts that could help you change the way you talk — and, more importantly, change the way you think about disability.

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Comments

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Defasher OP moderator wrote (edited )

[CW: Slurs.]

Misogynist slurs to avoid:

Bitch. Whore. Cunt.

Queerphobic slurs to avoid:

Fag. Tranny. "That's gay".

Anyone using these words will be banned.

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j0hn_d0e wrote

I'll admit that initially I didn't agree with banning people using ableist phrases, since I grew up with everyone saying it. But I'm starting to understand how its similar to racist & sexist phrases. Thanks for posting this list of alternative words.

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SylvetteSuade wrote (edited )

so instead of "that's retarded" say "That's fucked" victimless crass language.

I get that right?

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black_fox moderator wrote

i’m locking this thread as the conversation in the comments is no longer helpful. any mods or admins who feel differently feel free to unlock

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ironyburner wrote

Go ahead and ban my burner account, but this is hypocrite BS. A site that has topics such as anarchy, shoplifting, domestic terrorism (antifa) etc is going to go against free speech? I can see being against racism, as that's not acceptable anywhere, but coming from someone who has autism, I think trying to ban words like "dumb" and "stupid" are in fact, stupid. I have no problem with this, and know no one who does. They are just words, you give them power by choosing to be offended, or deny them power by ignoring them. Saying a thing or action is stupid, etc is way different than saying a person is. Insulting people is never a good idea, but trying to ban words is totally against the principles of the ideals you supposedly preach.

In fact, banning free speech is on the order of a dictator or tyrant. Want to be Nazis, then go ahead and make a deal about this, and show everyone you are hypocrites! Way to go full 1984

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Sails wrote (edited )

domestic terrorism (antifa)

You clearly have no idea what antifa does.

Here's a super accessible and not-long article on the topic: Antifa History and Politics, Explained

for casual raddle browsers, giving these a look will help you to be more literate on these topics, even if you disagree with what is said

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Pop wrote (edited )

Haha, "free speech" is a fascist tool, and you'd know that if you had any idea what it is in practice

we have a wiki w/free_speech

and articles like this, The Liberal Myth of Free Speech

Free speech is a state-endowed 'privilege' that always benefits the current order, is overwhelmingly employed to protect those in power, and is always a distant dream for people a the bottom of political hierarchies

lol you know jack shit about our principles, just search 'free speech' in the search bar and you'll get a sense

and no specific forum/site owes you 'free speech', each can set their own terms of engagement
in your case 'free speech' just means freedom to be an asshole with no consideration for the ways that language maintains structural power imbalances that harm whole groups of people

if you want to see what 'free speech' gets you, check out shitholes like 4chan, where internet anonymity and free speech combine to create one of the most toxic spaces in the world

I haven't even gotten to why your shitty analysis on ableism is crap but now I'm bored

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carhopper wrote

I get not saying the obvious slurs but really? You can’t say something is lame or crazy? I don’t want to be banned but doesn’t this seem way too far?

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ziq wrote (edited )

admins / mods have to answer to the users and the users have made clear that they think raddle is too lenient (to the point of trying to strip me of my admin position for not acting fast enough to ban people).

people won't be banned for saying "lame", but they will probably get asked not to use the word.

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carhopper wrote

Well this is way too far. This is a liberal’s wet dream

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ziq wrote

It's not like I want to spend my days telling kids to stop saying dumbass.

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carhopper wrote

I get that. Not blaming you man. I just think some of these rules need to be reconsidered. Ban the obvious slurs but there shouldn’t be a war on language

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ziq wrote

democracy

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carhopper wrote

We’re all on the same team here for the most part. We’re against the Capitalist system and we don’t need to turn on eachother because of words

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ziq wrote (edited )

f/shoplifting isn't on the same team as the rest of the site. they keep making comments saying they're landlords and business owners and at least 2 people from here keep making alts to send abusive queerphobic pms to people. That's why everyone has turned on the forum.

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Rogue wrote

Not being argumentative but asking for clarification:

f/shoplifting isn't on the same team as the rest of the site. they keep making comments saying they're landlords and business owners and at least 2 people from here keep making alts to send abusive queerphobic pms to people.

if shitlords like titan would stop making endless accounts to tell queer raddlers to kill themselves

IIRC, the offenses mentioned above of claiming they’re a landlord and business owner was Titan, who’s also harassing other raddlers through PMs.

It’s not the entire population of f/shoplifting, regardless of there being individuals who miss Titan’s advice and experiences related strictly to shoplifting.

I don’t see the mod side of it so I can only relay what I’ve noticed while perusing raddle.

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ziq wrote

A couple of users defended titan's statements and said they have similar ambitions (becoming business owners). Other long time users also made abusive or bigoted comments at the same time and got banned for it. I agree that it isn't the whole forum and that collective punishment is shitty. But I know how democracy works. People will burn this shit down if they get pushed to it. The site is run by its community and if they collectively demand f/shoplifting be deleted, there won't be much I can do to stop it without the community turning on me.

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Rogue wrote

Oh, ok! Thank you for taking the time to clear that up for me!

I understand your situation of majority vs minority regarding the community. I have no envy of or desire to see the mods having to be internet firefighters.

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carhopper wrote

Damn. So these rules are enforced by people that aren’t even on this forum or related ones?

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ziq wrote

They're mostly enforced by me and my alt defasher.

https://raddle.me/f/Shoplifting/moderation_log

If people keep spreading classism, misogyny and queerphobia here, someone will surely start a vote to delete the entire forum.

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carhopper wrote

It’s screwed up how people are trying to get this banned. There’s nowhere else like this on the web to my knowledge after the reddit one got banned. I bet it’s because this is now the most popular forum now

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ziq wrote (edited )

if shitlords like titan would stop making endless accounts to tell queer raddlers to kill themselves, no one would care about this forum. either the culture here changes or there won't be any saving it.

this thread is my last ditch effort to maintain the forum.

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carhopper wrote

That doesn’t represent a vast majority of us. He doesn’t represent what we stand for at all they should understand it’s just one dude being an asshole

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ziq wrote (edited )

Thing is lots of other lifters keep defending titan and the other manchildren, making the case for collective punishment seem more viable. The more abusive people use this forum, the bigger a liability it becomes.

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carhopper wrote (edited )

You should make a post explaining what could happen to the forum. Maybe people would realize the implications of this It’s not worth losing our entire platform over this

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carhopper wrote

Explain how the entire forum could be gone if people keep defending this shit. Maybe they’d realize it could be the end soon

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carhopper wrote

I see why you’re doing this now we need a forum like this. Guess we have to play by the rules

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zx1300 wrote

Why is n_n's use of the word "cuck" tolerated though? That language is also homophobic and right wing

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ziq wrote

I've never seen n_n use that word

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zx1300 wrote

they were calling me and a bunch of other people that in the threads he made calling for bans

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ziq wrote

Link to it?

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[deleted] wrote

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zx1300 wrote (edited )

Lmao. I deliberately went out of my way to call n_n "they "in my last comment because i figured someone on here would have issue with anything. Apologies for committing the mortal sin of calling them he at one point

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An_Old_Big_Tree admin wrote

Alright. So you've already been banned from this forum for a day as a precautionary measure.

To answer some of your questions, yeah, in this and other queer-friendly spaces we default to 'they' when we don't know a person's pronouns. Each person has the opportunity to list their pronouns in their user bio, and that's a good place to check.

People do make mistakes with pronouns. In that case it's appropriate to apologise and try to get it right in the future (like any mistake), rather than melodramatically talk about mortal sins.

Please cut out the oppressive language, like 'bitching'. Shouldn't be too tough, you're actually one of the few who seem to grasp the logic of this space quite easily.

Since you've already got the ban, I'm just going to give you a one-time warning towards a permanent sitewide ban and take no further action.

If you'd like to debate the use of words further, you're welcome to PM me. Otherwise, I recommend you de-escalate this whole thing by staying out of it. You're skirting the ToS as it is and probably would not have made it out of here if this thread weren't specifically intended for the purpose of talking about oppressive language.

If anybody is interested, I'll also be looking into the use of 'cuck'. I don't come from a context where the word is racialised but since it seems to be in the US that warrants consideration.

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[deleted] wrote

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zx1300 wrote

So what is it then, do we have to refer to everyone by they on this board as default? Is that the rule?

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Plebeian wrote

No, just click their name and use whatever pronoun is listed. If that is too difficult then yes default to they.

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Plebeian wrote

How did you go out of your way? Like you spent 30 seconds to click their name?

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n_n wrote

Oh yeah, you were one of the bootlickers.

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[deleted] 0 wrote

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Plebeian wrote

I feel like a child here. I have never heard of the term and even after reading it I had to look at other sites to understand it.

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Rogue wrote

Additionally, racist and not limited to one user.

The feigned ignorance or blatant disregard of the negative connotations of “cuck” needs to end as does it usage.

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[deleted] wrote

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[deleted] 0 wrote (edited )

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Rogue wrote

How absolutely quaint and coincidental that you, of all people, pick and choose the definition/narrative that fits your agenda! /clap /s.

Since you took the time to use a search engine or source, it’s quite humorous that you omit some of the top results based on a regionless query.

The cultural importance of the cuckold in America is rooted in racism: in pornography, the wife of the cuckolded (almost exclusively white) husband is most commonly sleeping with African-American men, meant to provide an additional layer of humiliation if the white husband sees that man as “inferior.” In the world of pornography meant to elicit humiliation as an erotic sentiment, cuckold porn takes advantage of its viewers’ racist perceptions.

After the Civil War, the white supremacist movement radicalized its supporters with the fear of black men raping white women. Even Shakespeare evoked the sexual element of racial angst: in Othello, Iago attempts to pit Desdemona’s father against his Moorish son-in-law by evoking very specific imagery: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe.”

In 2016, the word “cuck” resonates with white nationalists who feel as though their country has been taken away from them, and not enough had been done by the cuckservative establishment conservative party to protect it. “Cuck” is a concept borne out of insecurity: a fear that one is inadequate, sexually or otherwise, and that inadequacy will lead to the loss of the things that are important to him.

One example.

So you’re admitting that your willfully violating ToS and using punishable/terminology in retort to another user breaking the rules.

You’re the one who doesn’t know what they’re talking about with your wishy-washy rhetoric.

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[deleted] 0 wrote (edited )

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Rogue wrote

You’re the one twisting people’s opinions to meet your narrative.

In my saying a term is offensive in xyz way and questioning its allowance, you accuse me of defending a negative word that you’re using?

🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

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[deleted] 0 wrote (edited )

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[deleted] 0 wrote

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zx1300 wrote

take a look at yourself and you'll know pot calling the kettle black.

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Rogue wrote

Feel free to keep mashing your fingers, which by now must certainly be stubby, on those keys defending your usage of “their words” aka what caused you to have your hissy fit to begin with in a non constructive manner rather than address it where a user could potentially recognize their ignorance and transgression and improve upon it.

I’ll take my leave from this asinine conversation and bid you a great day.

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[deleted] 0 wrote

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cje wrote

Why are you even on Shoplifting? I’ve seen posts from you about how you despise us here. So why do you continue to post here knowing full well you’re starting up drama for the sake of finding it funny to do so?

Honestly, it’s tiring and has driven myself and plenty others to leave this site, or not visit as often.

Appreciate you ruining a forum that at one time had little offensive remarks and functioned quite well.

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zx1300 wrote

So true Rogue. Yet they want to nitpick over "stupid". The hypocrisy is outstanding

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zx1300 wrote

So why not call them "fag" too then?

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black_fox moderator wrote

i don't know if you're trolling or just picked a horrible hill to die on. i'm not warning you though, here's a 24 hour ban.

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Plebeian wrote

I'ma thinking this is gonna earn you a ban.

Let's see if my magic crystal ball is correct.

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Rogue wrote

I also agree with the sentiment of violating ToS by using “cuck” in turn for another violation being hypocritical and setting a bad precedent for new users.

The word “dumb” could also mean “unintentional” or “circumstantial”, such as “It was dumb luck that I bypassed the traffic accident when I was running late for work but made it in at the same time as my coworkers.” Yet using the word regardless of content is penalized?

I’m not arguing for or condoning the use of negative or discriminatory words, but it’s rather confusing how some terms are permissible because of various definition - if that makes sense? It can be quite confusing for those familiar with knowledge of only the negative connotation(s) of a word being permitted.

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[deleted] 0 wrote

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cje wrote

Can we all agree that your continued use of cuck is done solely to stir the pot? Again, your agenda is to send a message to people who wronged you. I get it, many of those people were from this specific board. But to continually restate the same thing over and over? Your point has been made, folks are moderating heavily now. You’ve won. Move on since you have no interest in what us thieves do.

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What_The_Fuck wrote

Is pussy banned in the context of "Don't be a pussy"?

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n_n wrote

Weakling, wimp, coward, craven, spineless and milksop are some alternatives.

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Rogue wrote

Disagree regarding the usage of “spineless” as an alternative. It’s discriminatory against those born with or having acquired a deformity or defect involving the skeletal backbone and the perception of the physical handicap rendering those afflicted inadequate to “able bodied” individuals.

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waitwhat wrote

Imagine thinking anyone identifies as "stupid" lol.

Everyone just wants to be a cop.

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n_n wrote

What makes you think that you can use that word to make apology for bigotry?

The ToS states:

Users that demonstrate a pattern of intolerance or attempt to use raddle.me as a platform for fascistic ideas and bigotry will be seen as violating these Terms of Service and will be banned from using this site.

4

Sauce wrote

What

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radgirl_ wrote

What what?

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Sauce wrote

Thin skin for a bunch of thieves

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thekraken wrote

Stealing from capitalist fucks isn't immoral. Being an abelist / fascist / sexist or an apologist for any of those is, in fact, immoral - and it also makes you an asshole.

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ziq wrote

Stfu.

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Sauce wrote

Yes if you use other words to describe other words we still know what you are talking about. Changing a ducks name to golduck isn’t gonna make anyone think Pokémon are real.

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Defasher OP moderator wrote (edited )

After the fucked up queerbashing threats sent to various raddle users by users of this forum, there will be no more tolerance for bigotry. Either follow the rules or get the fuck out.

Utter one more whiny fucking word and you're permabanned. Try me.

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Sauce wrote (edited )

But I’m not breaking any rules? Just posted my opinion. I’ve been called whiny and an asshole for it. Those words are okay to use still? Maybe a better rule would be to not allow users to insult each other or anyone else? For Christ’s sake your list includes dork which is probably the only hurtful thing I can think of that I was called the most often in elementary school.

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Pop wrote (edited )

radicals are simple creatures

If your insult is part and parcel of a political/social/economic structure of oppression built into this world, it is not ok

(like now racial slurs are part of and contribute to the maintenance of the racist structure of our world)

if it isn't, like 'whiny', or 'asshole', then it is ok

separately, it's literally listed in rule 2, and is part of the terms of service, so I don't know why you think it isn't breaking any rules. you come across as insincere when you say things like that

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n_n wrote

radicals are simple creatures

And majestic. :D

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ziq wrote

For Christ’s sake your list includes dork which is probably the only hurtful thing I can think of that I was called the most often in elementary school.

That's a sign of your great privilege in life. Be glad.

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n_n wrote

Pokémon are real yo! Gotta catch 'em all!

Also shut the fuck up. Nobody care what you think.

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Thebootyholewarrior wrote

The problem with the Language police (in my opinion here) is that the terms of 11 to 15 could be seen as Abielist in some way especially Awful and Gross (both which can be used in correct contexts but as so called abelist and potentially even racist insults) and at least Gross is a insult i remember from my Childhood and Teen years (People who got called gross compared to the clean kids).

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