Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I bet the title got your attention didn't it. To some people it's a bad word...just as bad as a four letter word. Not to be mentioned in their presence in any way shape or form. To the people on the other side of the fence it is a funny word. Said in jest because "I didn't mean it THAT way".

How do you mean it? When you say the dreaded "R" word? Do you mean that someone is beautiful, smart, amazing? No. You are saying it because you think something or someone is stupid, "slow", or...Heaven forbid...a mentally retarded individual. (Society at large now uses the term cognitively delayed). There is no "nice" way of saying the "R" word. It's rude, offensive and shows a lack of respect for people who are a part of this world. Who live this life every single day. I am not trying to be the word police. You are more than welcome to use the word and hurt people's feelings. Go for it. But why use it when there are so many other words that you can use? So many other adjectives to clearly state what you REALLY are trying to say.

I am no saint and I've never claimed to be. I was so completely self absorbed before I had Violet. I never took in to consideration how my words could possibly hurt another individual. I used terms back then that honestly make me sick to my stomach to even think about now. You know I even have cards addressed to me as  "window licker".  I swear the word retarded, tard or retard probably left my lips 20 times a day. I guess I just never stopped to think about what I was actually saying. Ignorance is bliss right? Wrong.

I look back now ashamed of the person I was... But proud of the person my daughter has helped me become. Since the day I found out that Violet has Down syndrome, August 18, 2010, I have not used the word in any form. It makes my skin crawl to hear it come from people's mouths the same way I used to use it. I WISH someone had told me it was hateful. I WISH someone had told me I was being disrespectful. I WISH I had known how bad I may have hurt people's feelings. I WISH I could personally apologize to each and every person that was offended by my hateful language. Because now, I know. I know how much it hurts. I've been the mom crying on the next aisle in the grocery store because people are making fun of those with intellectual disabilities. I have had my daughter called a retard. I have had people whisper and stare at her, laugh and call names. And it hurts. It hurts down to your bones. And unless you have ever been in that situation, you can't even begin to understand HOW bad it truly does hurt.

So, if you have been educated about the word, why continue to use it? If the word means nothing to you, it's "just a word" why use it? The word evidently means so much to an entire community of people. Of families, of children. To us, the word is acid on our skin. Out of respect for people that just want to live their lives in peace, dont use it. Find a different adjective.

I'm not saying that people that use the word are evil or bad people. Just misinformed or maybe they were like me...they just never stopped to really think of how it would hurt people.

Here is a link to one of my favorite articles. I hope you will read it and take something from it. The new "R" word needs to be Respect.

The People Who R

also, another wonderful organization that is fighting to make a difference

Spread the Word to End the Word

When you use the R word, you are insulting a large population of people with intellectual disabilities.  Make a difference and take the pledge.