Today is THE day. It is the annual Spread The Word To End The Word day of awareness and action. PLEASE visit www.r-word.org and take the pledge to end the use of the R-word.
I have never liked the word “retard” or any variation of it. When I was in seventh grade, I was blessed to start volunteering in the Special Needs classrooms in my middle school. In high-school, I spent a lot of time in the nurse’s office learning about anger management, and in detention, because when I heard that word I usually punched the person. When people used that word they were talking about people that I loved and considered friends, and YES in my day they were talking about the students in the LD, ED and BD classrooms.
Fast-forward 25 years and people use the word about EVERYTHING they don’t like, consider stupid, think is less than, etc… Some people when you explain why the word is upsetting will apologize and stop using it. Others defend their right to use it, because they aren’t talking about anyone specific and it’s “just a word.” I have people in my own family that feel this way. The first thing I ask them is how would they feel if someone called Beth the R-word. Well, no surprise that is different, and they would be angry. Well, there is NO DIFFERENCE between using that awful, disrespectful word flippantly or directed at a specific person. It is the same word, and spreads the same horrible perception that anyone (or anything) described by that word is less than. It is INSULTING and HURTFUL to people with special needs, as well as their families.
I have lost friends, and no longer speak to certain family members, because they refused to stop using that word. It makes me sad that people cannot see the damage they do with “just words.” Every year so many young people take their own lives due to “just words” they could not handle hearing anymore. I am raising my girls to stand proud in the face of ignorance. I am teaching them that “just words” have a VERY strong impact on people. I am teaching them to talk to (and about) everyone with Respect and Kindness. As I tell my children EVERY day, if it would make you sad, then don’t say/do it to (or about) others.
PLEASE go now and take the Pledge to End the Word. Then share with your friends and family.
There are two posts that I read this morning, that are phenomenal, and really describe why people need to STOP using the R-word (and all it’s variations), MUCH better than I can. Please take the time to read these two posts:
***Addition of Another post, because I LOVE it and it can be so useful to provide people with alternative, more respectful words.***
Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥
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