Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Tongue is Mightier than the Sword

Today is Wednesday. It is 3-2-11. It is also a day that I join forces with many other mothers like me out there who have held their hurt inside one too many times. It is the day to Spread the Word to End the Word. That word I speak of is one that is used all too colloquially in modern, everyday conversation. Now, I've never claimed to be a saint and I fully and outwardly admit that before Jack was born, I used this word a few times myself. I didn't even think twice about it. I used it casually when speaking of something a friend did that was "dumb" or "stupid," and some of my friends used it rampantly and, unaware of its piercing effects, still to this day use it in my very presence. The word I speak of starts with an "R" and ends with a "D" ... the word I speak of is: retard (or retarded).

So, falling in line with a few of my fellow blogging mommies, I have taken on the challenge to spread the word to end the word: the "R" word, that is. I pledge to no longer just bite my tongue and turn the other cheek when I hear this word being used inappropriately (or at all for that matter), but to point out it's derogatory nature, to stand up for the people it truly hurts and demeans (namely my son), and to educate the word's abusers about the origin of the word and the pain it incurs within individuals who are in my eyes more capable of love and genuity than any other people I've met. Upon hearing the "R" word, I now pledge to remind people that, although once used to describe individuals with certain intellectual disabilities, it is now no longer culturally acceptable to just throw this word around, and that doing so negatively impacts public perception of individuals who do have such disabilities (and minimizes the many a-bilities they in fact have.) I pledge today to stop acting like I don't take it personally ... because I DO. And, you should too.

So, tonight I ask that you visit and take the pledge with me to Spread the Word to End the Word not just today, but everyday. Be a fan of respect.

"I pledge and support the elimination of the use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities."

For more inspiration, please visit the beautiful blogs of two other blogging moms and dear friends, Erin ( and Kristin (, who have made me feel less alone in this new world I've joined, all the while making me feel more empowered to help change it.

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