Thursday, March 22, 2012

- the word that hurts -

A sweet friend of mine recently found out her little boy, Cooper, has Williams Syndrome. Williams Syndrome is a genetic condition that is characterized by medical problems, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. Because of this, these children are sometimes labeled or called, "retarded". While technically that is a correct "medical" term, is that really how most people use that word? It's normally a word that is used very inappropriately and can hurt the self esteem and feelings of millions of people. It's a word that is used way too flippantly these days. We all know that it is not the most politically correct way to address people with learning disabilities, but what about the fact that people use the word "retarded" to describe a lot of different things. I understand that most people aren't saying the word "retarded" to purposefully hurt anyone, but it's something we all need to be a lot more conscious about.

From a mom battling against the misuse of this word...
"That movie you saw? It was boring, dumb, or a waste of time...not retarded! The coffee maker isn't working? It's broken...not retarded! You made a wrong turn and got lost? You made a mistake...you are not retarded! My son? He is NOT boring, dumb, a waste of time, broken or a mistake...he is, medically speaking, retarded. He WILL be fighting this word his entire life because as long as people see him that way, they will think of him no differently then they see a dumb movie, broken coffee pot or a wrong turn. Be better then that and help him fight one less battle in life. Find a different word and stop using the word retarded, not JUST when you are around people with learning disabilities, but all the time."

 For more information on the battle against the hurtful misuse of this word, please visit www.r-word.org. My friend, as well as millions of others will thank you!



13 comments:

courtney - larking. said...

In my former life as a teacher, I was constantly on a crusade about this -- students use it so flippantly! I started teaching them the word "asinine" as a substitute, because it sounds vaguely like you're swearing, which always makes kids happy. :)

The "L" in ELF said...

I don't use it. As special education teacher I can't stand it. I get that people don't use it to be mean, but it's derogatory in it's own way. I've seen that site before, thanks for raising awareness!

Carlie said...

I think a lot of people (myself included) need this reminder for a lot of words we use. I have become especially sensitive to ways kids that are a little different than others are treated. It breaks my heart and I worry about the little boy that I watched for years that has autism and the school/social life he'll have. Thanks for sharing this!

Andrea {kerubo mama} said...

Thanks for writing this, Kyna! It's so important to be aware, and to make positive decisions that will affect the world around us, and then to make sure to teach our children about the hard stuff like this. xoxo

Amy said...

YES! Great post and I know how conscious i will be to teach my kids about this. I work with kids with special needs and it's near and dear to my heart. It's sad that our media still uses it!

Melanie said...

My heart goes out to Cooper's mom. What an important post my friend. Words can be the most uplifting or hurtful things. They can be a gift, or a weapon. I think it's important not only to think what a word means to you, but what it might mean to someone else. Leading by example is the best way to teach you children! Thank you for this post mama, & God bless Cooper & his family. XO

the lovebirds said...

so glad you posted about this- It makes me cringe inside when people use this word. Especially in the joking matter. I always try to correct those around me who misuse it. And I am thankful you are trying to spread the word! xo

jas said...

great post and even better reminder!

Diane Writes said...

Hi Kyna! I appreciate and I can related with this post because I have a special brother. I know how it feels when people tag our special loved ones with hurting names. Words are so powerful. When words are uttered no amount of apology could ever retract the hurt.

Diane Writes said...

Hi Kyna! I appreciate and I can related with this post because I have a special brother. I know how it feels when people tag our special loved ones with hurting names. Words are so powerful. When words are uttered no amount of apology could ever retract the hurt.

Courtney B said...

I am one who was a careless teenager and threw that word around like it meant nothing. Especially if my brothers made me mad? I had no problem telling them just how "retarded" they were. Horrible. I have since then grown up and I never use that word... but it hits closer to home more than ever now. Autism runs very heavily in Eric's family... even his little brother has aspergers (sp) and he was teased and bullied and beat up because he was a "retard" as a kid. Big brother Eric started working out in 9th grade hard core (doctors told him that he actually stunted his growth because he worked out too hard core) and started beating up kids that were beating up his little brother (ha ha, men!). But his little brother actually had seizures from the beatings. And there is a real chance that Eric and I will have a baby that is diagnosed with autism. It would break my heart to have kids calling mine "retarded" because people throw the word around so lightly. It's heartbreaking.

Miranda said...

what a great message. I have an aunt on one side of the family and a cousin on the other that are mentally "medically speaking" retarded. I cringe at the word in any other way.

amy@agoodlife said...

ugh, i hate that word. i'm sure i've used it way too much in my day but definitely make a conscious effort to not do so. children with disabilities are so SO special & good for her & you spreading the word.

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