A Little on the “R Word”

Brandy and I have gone back and forth about a million times about whether to write a post about the word “retarded.” For both of us, the topic is very emotional. One of us crumbles to tears when she tries to write about it. The other, well, she can’t seem to do it without getting so angry that she has to lock the F key to avoid profanity, (guess who.)

In discussions about why people still throw this word around, we usually hear three arguments.

  • I’m not really talking about people, it’s just a word, so I don’t think it hurts anyone.
  • I think we are just getting too politically correct in our culture.
  • I have the right to say whatever I want; this is America after all.

In response to all of these arguments, I offer this counterargument: Sure, you have the right to say many words, racist words, cruel words, words that cut people to the core. However, most people choose not to say the “N” word; not about people, not about things, because it’s an awful word. Why then, should a word used to describe people with intellectual disabilities be considered less offensive? It hurts me, it hurts Brandy, it hurts our kids.

Rather than say anything else, I offer the following videos that are more eloquent than I can ever be about the “R word.” One is about the power of words. Too politically correct?-cue Johnny Knoxville. Does it hurt people? Look into the eyes of this sibling.

We know you have the right to say whatever you want, we just ask you to really think about whether or not the “R word” is something worth saying.

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