Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spread the Word to End the Word

I won't preach to much but today is "Spread the Word to End the Word" day.  A day designated by an organization determined to remove the word "retard" or "retarded" from acceptable language to bring to light the reasons why it is hurtful to families of people with disabilities.  I'm not an overly politically correct person.  I understand that people do not mean to offend me or Cate when they say "I'm such a retard" after doing something stupid.  But here is my reality - I have many pieces of people from doctors or the government that says Cate has a diagnosis of "mental retardation".   It of course totally unrelated to who Cate is - because she is joy, sunshine and mischief not a diagnosis.   But all the same this diagnosis is a fact, it is not a perception.  When I read or hear the r-word I cannot help but think of the day that I will have to explain it to Cate - its is that simple - I can't stand listening to a word that will ultimately hurt my daughter.  It is part of our current culture and it is everywhere - I read it in a book just yesterday where a police officer character used it to describe his clothing, I heard it in a live comedy show last week multiple time, I've seen it on facebook too many times to mention and its in so many movies I couldn't list them all.  So regardless of if you think I "need a thicker skin" or "shouldn't take it personally" - I do take it personally.  When I started my current job, I heard it all the time.  Each time I heard it my heart would constrict and a couple times in more descriptive cases I even cried.  So finally I said something - almost everyone in the office understood immediately and since they all love Cate they did their best to remove a word they used without thinking from their vocabulary - at least at work.  Even the person who was resistant saying "it has nothing to do with Cate" finally relented.  In the last year I think I've heard it one time and I'm incredibly grateful.  So I feel in a tiny way my speaking out made a difference.  So please gently mention it to people who use it in your presence or call them out on facebook when it is appropriate (and I know it isn't always  the right time to say something) because it needs to be stopped.   Take a look at this video and visit to see other information on the fight to spread the word to end the word.

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