I’ve been reading a lot lately about celebrities and politicians using the “R” word.
The “R” word being Retard or Retarded.
Two simple, yet devastating words that I’m ashamed to admit I’ve actually been guilty of saying, myself.
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I’m not proud to admit it, but long ago in another world, decades before a brain tumor left my very own precious daughter intellectually and physically disabled, I thought nothing of spitting out those vile and derogatory “R” words.
You see, way back when I was a kid in the 60’s using the “R” word was commonly used to demean others.
If my friends and I wanted to make fun of someone or thought someone was acting dumb we thought nothing of calling them a retard.
Similarly, If we thought something was silly or dumb we would boldly declare that thing to be retarded.
But the fact is, that the words mentally retarded were not invented to be used in a hurtful manner.
Back in the not so distant past, the term mentally retarded was nothing more than a term used by medical professionals to describe a diagnosis.
Tragically, somewhere along the way, uncaring and insensitive people began using it to insult and demean people they did not like.
Now, using the word to hurt others has become an epidemic.
I’ll be generous and give most people who use the “R” word today the benefit of the doubt.
I believe they’re just ignorant to the fact that the word is hurtful to our precious loved ones with developmental disabilities.
However, they do need to be educated so they will have no more excuses!
I’d like to think that most reasonable people these days would agree that everyone, including those with intellectual disabilities is worthy of respect!
It’s been a long time coming, but I do hereby declare that now is the time to add the intellectually and physically disabled to the list of people deserving of respect.
Now is the time to respect, accept, and include all individuals with disabilities.
I suggest we get a new “R” word going around, because the old “R” word needs to be eradicated from the English language!