With that being said, last week during an open discussion in one of my substance abuse minor courses, I watched the very horrible example of someone failing to reconsider their choice of words before allowing it to spew out for all to hear and possibly offend within earshot.
The dialogue went a little something like this:
Professor: "Does anyone have anything they would like to discuss or any concerns they have about starting fieldwork?"
Student: "Well, I'm a Social Work major, so I'm starting my second semester at my placement. One time I had a patient ask me if I had ever done drugs myself and I didn't know what to say at first and I stuttered so I knew I had to come up with something. I ended up just giving her some retarded answer."
Professor: "We have or all will encounter that question at least once throughout our career"
Mistake number 1: I didn't say anything, but in my defense I think I was experiencing shell shock and couldn't even muster out an "um" to interject.
Mistake number 2: The professor didn't address the fact the student, a social work major and future addictions counselor, just used the term "retarded". Also, the professor is a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), a counselor in the addictions field, and should be culturally competent/ humble at this point in their career.
Mistake number 3: The student, again, a social work major and substance abuse minor, used the term "retarded" to improperly explain her mistake at her field placement.
A little side note: As I have stated, this student is a social work major with a minor in substance abuse, the same undergraduate career path I am about to complete. Seeing as I have finished my major requirements and am 2 classes away from finishing my substance abuse minor, I have a pretty good idea of the courses she has already taken. We are trained to be culturally competent, aware of how we present ourselves, speak, and work with our clients and colleagues, and to most importantly adhere to the NASW's Code of Ethics, which might I add, is engrained into our brains.
With my rant just about over, just remember the golden rule our elders lectured us with time and time again: