I’m a work in progress. Every day of my life I hope I’m a better person than the day before. My life is a process of taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back but hey, 1 step forward is still a step forward. So I’ll take it.
“Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones But Words Will Never Hurt Me” = One Of The Most Inaccurate Sayings Of All Time
Let me just be very honest for a minute, prior to our son being born I used the word “retarded” pretty flippantly. I would use phrases like “that’s so retarded,” “don’t be retarded,” or “man…I’m so retarded” from time to time without ever even thinking I was using discriminatory language (or hate speech) toward an entire group of people.
This is especially disappointing to me since I’m in a profession where words (and their meanings) are vitally important. I spend hours thinking through the words I use, yet I so quickly let that word flow out of my mouth without even giving 2 seconds of thought to it. Shame on me. (I’ve also said things words “duh” and “lame” which I have also been told are hurtful…I have cut these words out as well.)
Thankfully I know better now.
The “R-Word” Is Hurtful
After our son was born I quickly learned how hurtful and discriminatory the word “retard / retarded” is. There is even an entire campaign called “Spread The Word To End The Word;” in fact today is national “spread the word to end the word” day. (I had no idea this day, or World Down Syndrome Day, even existed prior to Noah being born.)
I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I saw this short, 30 second, PSA for the first time. Please take 30 seconds and watch it. I promise you’ll think about the word “retarded” in a whole new light.
I really wish someone earlier in my life would have taken the time to tell me about the use of this word, and why I shouldn’t use it. I would have stopped immediately.
When I hear people use the word “retarded” like I used to I try to take a moment to help them understand why they shouldn’t. I’m always very gracious about it because I know they don’t mean anything hurtful by it, and they certainly aren’t trying to insult my son or others with intellectual disabilities. In fact there have been a few times where I didn’t say anything simply because I didn’t want to make the person feel bad.
But since there is a large community of readers behind this blog I thought I would take a moment to help educate anyone reading this why they too should help “end the word.”
Why You Should Stop Using “Retarded”
I pulled this info from the spread the word website which gives more than a few reasons why I cut the word “retarded” out of my vocabulary and you should too.
- The R-word is exclusive
- The R-word ignores individuality
- The R-word equated intellectual disability with being “dumb” or “stupid”
- The R-word spreads hurt
- The R-word is offensive
- The R-word is incorrect
- The R-word is derogatory
- The R-word fosters loneliness
- The R-word is hate speech (Ouch! I had no idea I was using hate speech all this time!)
Sign The Pledge To Stop Using “The R-Word”
Spread the word to end the word is doing a campaign where you can pledge to
….support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
I believe that all people are created in the image of God, are valuable, and deserve to be spoken about in respectful and loving ways. I know it would be very hurtful if someone called my son “a retard”or if someone used that word to describe something foolish they did (therefore implying that my son is foolish.)
If you agree with me, I’d encourage you to take 2 minutes and sign the pledge.
Do you sometimes use the word “retarded” in jest? (It’s ok to say so, as I mentioned I used to do the same thing.) If so, do you see “the R-word” differently after this post, and do you think you will try hard to remove the use of that word as a “slag word?” Leave a comment below and let us know.