Words For Stupid People
Words are important. And few words are more important than the words we use to describe other people. Sometimes we describe other people nicely. We say they are charming or intelligent or sophisticated. More often, though, our descriptions are not so kind. We focus on things we don’t like about people.
It is more common to hear a person say what they don’t like about someone than what they do. I know that I call other people stupid a lot more than I call them smart. This probably says more about me than it does about them, but there you go.
I like the word ‘stupid.’ I use it to describe people and things all the time. That idea is stupid. Those people are stupid. The whole world is dumb.
I do not like the word ‘dumb.’ At least not as much as I like stupid. Stupid is a word that is easy to understand. Stupid just means stupid, and that’s all. But the word dumb has multiple meanings. The word dumb can apply to a person who is not intelligent. But it also applies to a person who can’t speak. Dumb means the same things as stupid, and dumb means the same thing as mute.
This makes sense, when you think about it. Traditionally if you want to make your intelligence known, you have to speak to other people. You can have a vibrant universe of activity going on in your head, but if you can’t communicate, other people will assume you are empty. Its sort of like how you can forget people in other countries don’t exist until you see a picture of them.
I don’t believe it’s fair for the silent to be assumed stupid. In fact, people who keep their mouths shut are usually smarter than the mouth-breathers who don’t. But if you don’t speak, people will think you are stupid. That is the way it has always been. That doesn’t mean it is the way it always has to be.
Using the word dumb to describe an unintelligent person reinforces the false link between silence and stupidity. Just like using the word sinister to describe bad things reinforces the false link between left-handedness and evil.
In my experience, the thing about stupid people isn’t that they don’t speak. It’s that they don’t listen. Therefore, it is more accurate to call a stupid person deaf than it is to call them dumb. Of course, this isn’t fair to deaf people either. Nobody wants to be associated with stupidity because of a disability.
All people struggle with stupidity, whether they are disabled or not. So when you see a stupid person, don’t call them dumb or deaf. Just call them human. You get to feel smug, and they don’t have to feel bad.
Just remember that you’re a human too. Probably.