The R word – it’s everywhere. Friends say it, it is on TV and the radio, it is included in “jokes”, it has become part of our vocabulary in the US … and it hurts. Just don’t say it.
The R Word – retard(ed)
Why The R Word Hurts
It discriminates. People are expected to act a certain way where less is expected of them.
It is cruel. It puts down people who feel pride about their accomplishments and have feelings just like anyone else. Families and friends hurt as well.
It is incorrect. Mental Retardation is an outdated term. Rosa’s law, signed in 2010, “removes the terms ‘mental retardation’ and ‘mentally retarded’ from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with people first language ‘individual with an intellectual disability’ and ‘intellectual disability.'”
It is hate speech. Plain and simple, using the R Word is meant to spread hatred.
The R Word Has Consequences
Some may wonder why ending the R Word is so important. After all it’s just a word. Lots of people say it out of ignorance. How can you remove a word from our common language?
This awful word puts people in a box that they feel they can’t get out of. It takes away hope. Think about when a child is labeled in school. They often live up to that label, even if it isn’t correct. It’s the same thing with the R Word.
The misconception of the R Word is that people with disabilities are stupid and unable to learn. This can lead to loss of opportunities.
It gives us a bad rap. A community that discriminates groups of people who are “born this way” can be described using some pretty awful terms.
How To End The R Word
Today, March 6th is Spread the Word to End The Word day. Take the pledge to end the word and learn more about this movement.
Speak up when others use the word. Although difficult, this can have a big effect.
Learn if your state has passed legislation to to stop using the R Word. If not, take action.
This is a topic that means a great deal to me. I have friends and family members who have been called the R Word and have been hurt deeply because of it. Please make this a priority today and every day.