Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Worth my discomfort

This same day last year I wrote this post that explains my feeling on the word "retarded" and why I would give almost anything to erase it from today's vocabulary.  Today is the 5th annual "Spread the Word to End the Word" awareness day. 

My feelings haven't changed one bit from that post one year ago but my resolved has increased.  Ann Coulter used it in reference to the president then defended herself saying that it was OK.  Multiple sports stars have used it in interviews although some have since apologized since.   This is still a fight that needs to be fought.  These days I am not afraid to post comments on facebook, to call out friends and strangers alike in public.  It is worth the minutes of both of our discomfort if that person thinks twice before they say something that not only hurts me but might hurt another listener or reader.  I have sent letters to authors who probably never read them about the use of it in their books, I refuse to see movies like "Ted" that I know use it.  I don't care what people think of that - I don't care if they call me names or think I'm taking it too personally.  Because it is personal to a lot of people who won't tell you.  They suffer discomfort all the time whether they are at school or the movie or the mall.  Those people who say the r-word regularly have a million excuses on why it is OK, why I shouldn't care, how "they don't mean my daughter".  But all those excuses are irrelevant because there are ambassadors for special needs of all types not just Down Syndrome, that have made public their reasons for being hurt by the use of the word in any context.  It is an issue of respect, period.
If you need more evidence check out this great post about it by a father - A Simple Matter of Words or visit to see the stories of people with disabilities and their very valid feelings on the subject. 

Join me in continuing to feel a couple minutes of discomfort and call someone out when they use the word "retard" or "retarded".   I really do believe that the majority of people who say it just dont' realize how hurtful it is to this population.  Like the mission I think that this is more a matter of education than a banning of a word.  Anyone can still say that horrible word while looking at this face and knowing she will be hurt by it one day then they are not a person I want to know.
And for Cate and her friends -  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE teach your children and grandchildren why it isn't OK to use it.   

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