Greenfield Attempts to Ban 'Mentally Retarded' from Official City Publications

Councilman David Greenfield, who sees the term "mentally retarded" as derogatory, wants the city to use "developmentally disabled" instead.

City Councilman David Greenfield on Wednesday introduced legislation that would eliminate the term "mentally retarded" from official city publications and documents, replacing it instead with "developmentally disabled."

The topic of mental health has been at the center of fiery debate in recent months, and Greenfield, D-Brooklyn, said he is seeking to ban a term seen as a "schoolyard insult" from New York City's Charter and Administrative Code in favor of more sensitive language.

"It is unfair to stigmatize individuals with developmental disabilities with this derogatory label," said Greenfield in a statement.

“The time to remove this inaccurate and offensive term ‘mentally retarded’ from New York City government’s vocabulary is long overdue."

Currently, the term "mentally retarded" is used in documents and on the websites of several city agencies and departments, including the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Greenfield was also a co-sponsor of Speaker Christine Quinn’s resolution to change the name of the City Council’s "Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services" to the "Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services."


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