Critics: 5 Words that Should Be Put to Bed, Already

Sticks and stones aside, some words do hurt. Just look at the reaction to Dr. Laura Schlessinger's use of the N-word and Jennifer Aniston's R-word slip.

Earlier this week, Schlessinger announced she was ending her successful radio show a week after she went on a five-minute rant in which she used the N-word 11 times.

VIDEO: Jennifer Aniston used the R-word during Live with Regis and Kelly interview.
Jennifer Aniston Blasted for Using R-Word

Now Aniston is the latest celebrity to come under fire for using the word "retard," which is considered offensive, during an interview Thursday on "Live With Regis and Kelly."

While discussing dressing up as Barbra Streisand for Harper's Bazaar, Aniston let the word slip.

"You're playing dress up!" Regis Philbin told her.

"Yes, I play dress up!" she replied. "I do it for a living, like a retard!"

The reaction was immediate and harsh.

"Special Olympics is always disappointed when the R-word is used, especially by someone who is influential to society," the group's spokeswoman Kirsten Seckler told ABCNews.com. "The pervasive use of the R-word, even in an off-the-cuff self-deprecating manner, dehumanizes people with intellectual disabilities and perpetuates painful stereotypes that are a great source of suffering and negative stigma."

VIDEO: Dr. Laura Schlesinger repeatedly used the N-word on her radio show.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger Apologizes for N-Word Rant

Aniston, who took Bill O'Reilly to task on "Good Morning America" for saying she was "destructive to our society" after she defended single motherhood, has so far stayed mum about the flap. Her rep did not respond immediately to ABCNews.com's request for comment.

Given the controversy generated by both Schlessinger and Aniston, here's a look at five words that some advocacy groups would like to see put to bed already.

The N-Word

In 2007, the NAACP held a public funeral for the N-word, complete with coffin and headstone, during its annual convention in Detroit.

VIDEO: Rev. Jesse Jackson apologizes for off-air remarks made while on Fox News.
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"Today we're not just burying the N-word. We're taking it out of our spirit," then Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said at the time. "Die N-word, and we don't want to see you 'round here no more."

If only it were that simple. But every year, it seems, some public figure is heard using the N-word, reigniting the firestorm over its use. Earlier this summer, it was Mel Gibson during an argument with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Griegorieva, in which he told her: "If you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault."

Now Schlessinger is in the hot seat, although she has her defenders, including Sarah Palin.

"Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist?" the former Republican vice-presidential candidate asked in a post on her Facebook page.

"Those who oppose her seized upon her mistake in using the word (though she didn't call anyone the derogatory term) to paint her as something that she's not," wrote Palin, adding that she too has felt "shackled" by critics and sympathizes with Schlessinger.

Schlessinger, who apologized for using the word, has said she did so to make the point that black comedians use it freely. But even conservative black scholar John McWhorter said that's unacceptable.

"As Jews may observe kosher laws, so too, America can observe a historically minded brand of politesse under which whites step away from a term that blacks use in a different meaning," he wrote on the website the Root.

The R-Word

While defending Schlessinger, Palin attacked White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel -- whose name she misspelled -- for using the so-called R-word earlier this year.

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