A fragile X syndrome (mutation on x Chromosome) or an extra copy of chromosome 21 makes a healthy child have either a mild or moderate retardation. People with mild or moderate retardation have relatively normal IQs, but show a distinctive pattern of physical features such as flat nose, upward slanted eyes, and a short neck. If a change in chromosomes and a distinctive appearance is the only difference between people with mental retardation and people without, then why do we discriminate against people with mental retardation? Scott Lilienfeld stated that societal attitudes toward individuals with mental retardation have improved; yet, did they improve enough?
"A 17-year old mentally retarded girl has a baseball bat and a broom handle brutally rammed into her vagina by four high school football players in the affluent suburb of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, while nearly a dozen other students watch on and do nothing to stop it" (Long). The girl was a victim because as an individual with mental retardation she can be easily tormented, because she does not adjust to the society like everyone else. Yet, the only difference between her and everyone else is that she has an extra copy of a chromosome. Still, "People tend to think in terms of a handicapped person rather than a person who is handicapped. It is imagined or perceived that the disability is the central life experience of that person"(Long). Maybe by educating people about individuals with mental retardation, people will be more accepting.
If individuals with mental retardation are accepted in the society, do all of society's rules apply to them too? Several crime cases gave the defended a lower punishment, because he pleaded "mental retardation" For example, in the case Atkins vs. Virginia, Atkins shot a man 8 times after demanding money and then forcing him into the truck (Current). A person needs high IQ to do what Atkins performed; yet, his punishment was less server because he was "a person with mental retardation" Does Atkins deserve the punishment that a person without mental retardation would have received?
"Current Cases - Mental Retardation." The International Justice Project. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
"The Long & Sorry History of Discrimination." A Ragged Edge Online. Cliffwood Organic Works. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.