Today is Spread The Word To End The Word Day – the R Word. The R Word (retarded) hurts even is you say it because it’s a figure of speech, or because “everyone” says it. Before you say the word retarded again, think. Consider those who have an intellectual challenge. Consider those who have special needs. And consider their parents, siblings, spouses, loved ones.
The R Word is widely used in every day conversation, in the media, in films, and online. It shocks me every time I hear it. People who should know better use it and the cycle continues when young children think it’s OK to say. It’s not. It’s degrading and hurtful. People who want to fit it or don’t want to cause an issue, don’t speak up when the R Word is used by others around them.
Thank goodness for the End The R Word Campaign created by Special Olympics. Their site provides a pledge that you can take online. You’ll pledge is for the “elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”
If you need guidance on how to stop using the R Word and inform others about this campaign, visit their Action page. You’ll find links to the campaigns Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts, advice on having conversations with others who use the word and information on spreading the word online.
The use of the R Word has deep meaning for me. It may be because I grew up next door to one of the many ARC’s, which was then called The Association of Retarded Children. I heard people use the R Word and tease those who attended for years. I cried about it. I have an Aunt and Uncle (he passed away a few years ago) who are intellectually challenged. I hated when people used the R Word to describe them. I also worked at the ARC both as a teenager and adult and got to know the employees in the sheltered workshop. They told me how they felt about the R Word.
If you need another reason not to use the R Word, watch this video by a woman I’m happy to call a friend, Ellen, from Love That Max. Read her post about the R Word and her son.