Spreading the Word

The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory.

Help me Spread the Word to End the Word™. I invite you to be a fan of respect and join me in an on-going campaign to stop the use of the R-word. Over 340,000 people have pledged their support online since the campaign launched in 2009 and we hope you can join us by making your pledge to end the use of the R-word.

Visit http://www.r-word.org and take the pledge and pass this email along to all your friends so together we can create communities of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (This is the template for viral email. Found at the website above, under the resources tab.)

Why “intellectual disability” is replacing “mental retardation”

The R-word, “retard,” is slang for the term mental retardation. Mental retardation was what doctors, psychologists, and other professionals used to describe people with significant intellectual impairment. Today the r-word has become a common word used by society as an insult for someone or something stupid. For example, you might hear someone say, “That is so retarded” or “Don’t be such a retard.” When used in this way, the r-word can apply to anyone or anything, and is not specific to someone with a disability. But, even when the r-word is not said to harm someone with a disability, it is hurtful. Because of this, Special Olympics, Best Buddies and the greater disability community prefers to focus on people and their gifts and accomplishments, and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes. As language has evolved, Special Olympics and Best Buddies have updated their official terminology to use standard, people-first language that is more acceptable to constituents.

The R-word is hate speech.

“Everyone has a gift and the world would be better off if we recognized it.” – Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics.

All of this information can be found at http://www.r-word.org

It makes me so angry when people call others “retard(ed)”. It’s an ongoing thing that really needs to be stopped. We used to use words like moron, stupid, idiot…Now young and old alike call everyone retard(ed). Why? It’s so rude. It’s infuriating. My in-laws use it like nothing. It’s part of their everyday speech. Even my own family has started using it, even though I’ve tried to sway them away from the word, it still comes back.

Why it makes me angry: I’ve worked with people with mental retardation. I have worked with two young boys with autism. You see them in the community and you look at them with such disgust. Why? I can look at someone with these challenges and I see someone who is beautiful, smart, funny, and happy. Half of the people I worked with were happy individuals. I remember working with “Bubba”, he couldn’t even talk to me, and he was happy every morning! I wish I had more time, I would love to help with the Special Olympics again.

Don’t look down on people because they are different than you. Everyone has a purpose and a place in this world. Remember that.


About Preslee

I am diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic and Anxiety disorders, and PTSD. I write about my own personal experiences and thoughts.

Posted on March 6, 2013, in Life, Support and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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