It’s the first Wednesday in March! Do you know what that means? You don’t? I bet you might if I remind you! The first Wednesday of March is a day set aside for “Spread the word to end the word”. It’s a day me, and parents like me, friends and family members of people with special needs take a minute to spread a very important message.
Stop saying the word retard. Stop using it in a derogatory manner. Stop. Really, just stop.
It seems so simple right? Even if you, like me, grew up in a time where it was totally normal to use it in every day context. It was a thing. It was a habit.
It seems so easy to me, and so important, but I have actually gotten in heated discussions with family members about how people need to stop using the word retard or retarded. Why it hurts, what it means, and what it says about people who continue to use it after they know that it hurts feelings.
Am I offended? Personally, no. I cringe though, I recognize it’s a word that should not be used, it just takes a lot to offend me. And, by refusing to use it and sharing the message with others I am doing my part to create accepting attitudes and communities for people with differences.
I may never live to see the hurt in Dylan’s eyes when she hears the word and thinks that someone is talking about her, talking about people like her, in a derogatory way but I will likely see the hurt cross one of her brothers faces. I hope that they are confident enough to share a message of respect when it comes time.
Take the online pledge today at www.r-word.org. Tweet your support. Share on social media. Let everyone know when you stand with the r-word. You can make a difference.
After all, if you know a word hurts ONE person, not to mention one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, why continue to keep it in your vocabulary?