Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The R-Word

Today is the national "spread the word to end the word" campaign.

The R-word is often used in very thoughtlessly to refer to those persons who had intellectual disabilities. It is derogatory. It is mean. Meanness is one of my biggest pet peeves in the world. No matter what, everything in life boils down to three simple words - Don't be mean.

Some of the sweetest, most beautiful people I have ever met have been people with intellectual disabilities. This word hurts them. It hurts the people that love them. And I am honestly amazed that there are people who can still use this word given the number of people who have touched my life and I know there have to be that many others who have touched the lives of others.

To say "I didn't mean anything by it" does not help and isn't an appropriate defense. If you do use this word thoughtlessly, there is only one appropriate way to respond - to say "I'm sorry" and to do your darndest not to do it again!

This campaign had gained some national attention thanks to actor John C. McGinley, whose son has an intellectual disability. I continue to thank God for people like him who are able to use their notoriety to share very intimate things about themselves in an attempt to make the world a better place for everyone.

For more information, go to this website. Please!

1 comment:

  1. As educators, we are taught that "mental retardation" is actually a proper medical term. It's the diagnosis doctors give, and it's the label listed on an affected child's IEP. I think it's only derogatory when used in an inappropriate context (much like saying, "I hated that movie. It was so gay").

    By the way, when used in an appropriate context, the trend now is to use child-first speech. Basically, say "a child with dyslexia" or "a child with autism" or "a child with mental retardation." The point is that every child (person) is just a child (person), and no one should be defined by their disability.