Tuesday, March 5, 2013

End the Word 3.6.13

According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the adjective form of THE word is:

retarded (adj): slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

No where there does it say "stupid", "ridiculous", "brainless", "dense", "dumb", "idiotic", "meaningless" or "moronic".  So, why do so many people still use the r-word when describing themselves (or others or situations) as such?
My son Jack is developmentally delayed in some areas, but emotionally and socially he is well beyond his typical peers.  And, I have known plenty of "academically limited" people without any medical diagnoses in my time, and no one ever called them "retarded."
The truth about the r-word is that it is no longer even accepted as proper medical jargon to describe individuals with cognitive disabilities. And, when you use THAT word in everyday language to describe someone as "ridiculous" or "stupid," most likely you are (1) offending someone around you (like me and my son), and (2) you're in fact making yourself look like the one who is "mindless."  The English language is full of plenty other adjectives out there to pick from, people.  Ones that are relevant to your situation at hand, and ones that won't make me cringe and want to high five you ... in the face.
My son Jack is many things ...
He is a beautiful 2 and a half year old boy.
He is happy. He is healthy. He is funny.
He is giggly. He is loving. He is giving.
He is stubborn opinionated. He is smart. And, he is very cute.

What he IS NOT is an "idiot" or a "moron."

Yes, Jack does have Down syndrome and may have an intellectual disability, ...
 but he is also the very air I breathe.

So, when I hear you or someone else say THAT word, it takes the breath right. out. of. me.

Tomorow, March 6, 2013, is this year's Day to Spread the Word to End the Word.  Please be a fan of RESPECT, and visit this site to pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.  I beg you to share the knowledge of this movement with all your friends, families and coworkers as well, in a united effort to end the pain that this one little word can inflict.

Learn it and live it.  Like it, and share it on facebook.  Email it to friends.  Blog about it.  Have a private, educational, constructively criticizing (but polite) conversation with a repeat offender.
Be an adult, and stand up for what is right.

And for the love ... please just think before you speak.


Do it for the millions of people out there affected by this word.
Do it for Jack.

To this day, I hear people say the r-word around me and, believe it or not, some still even say it to me without even thinking about the pain they are causing.  At these times, I politely pull these individuals aside to educate them about their poor word choice {misuse} and to tell them that, although I know they did not mean for it to be, it is incredibly offensive and hurtful to me and my family.  Even so, I still continue to witness repeat offenders in my very own life by some of the people closest to me, from coworkers to friends in my social circle.  I know it's "just a word" to you, but if it is "just a word," then just stop saying it.  It's that easy.  Because to me, that word is offensive, and it hurts me like a dagger to my heart.  That word is derogatory.  That word is NOT COOL.
And, quite frankly, well ... I'm tired of it.

Jack is my son, who just happens to have an extra chromosome.
He will continue to grow and learn, and he will be a contibuting member of society.
He will be respectful, and he will ALWAYS be your friend.
So, please ... be his friend back.  And, show him and others like him the RESPECT they deserve.

The NEW R-word = RESPECT

1 comment:

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