Tuesday, March 2, 2010

End the R-word

March 3rd is End the R-Word Day. The R-word is retard(ed). The idea is that the words we use are the basis for how we think of others.

A lot of people use it and probably think nothing of its use. Here is what a particular mother hears when you use it. When the words are "That is so retarded." I hear "That is just as stupid as your daughter, you know, the one with the intellectual disability." Here is what the bear cub will hear, "I hate that as much as all those kids that teased you and called you retard hate you. You don't deserve to be here and neither does that."

It isn't about political correctness. It is about respect, the basic respect that every person on the planet deserves to receive. The word originates from hate groups that don't believe that people with disabilities deserve to live. When the word is used the people that join Facebook communities against those with disabilities and make calls to action to murder those with Down syndrome are given the belief that they are in the right. They are given the strength to post abortion pictures next to pictures of our children with sayings like, "It's not too late."

I know that a lot of the words we use to refer to things that are less than intelligent were originally used to refer to those with a cognitive disability: moron, imbecile, idiot, dimwit... I also know that the r-word will be replaced by another derogatory word used to refer to those that have intellectual challenges, but until there is a new word, people with compassion will avoid the use of this one.

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