Hello brilliant, funny and charming individual who clicked on this post! You are clearly a very curious, conscientious and compassionate person. Why else would you want to learn more about what word it is that a whole community of human beings wants us to stop using?
Of course, you don’t use the word – which is retard, by the way – because you already know that using it in any manner is offensive to everyone around you. You already know that that word is no longer used in medical or government language. The term “mental retardation” was replaced years ago with “ID,” as in, intellectual disability. And we don’t use the word in place of other words, like, “silly,” “stupid,” or “dumb.” Yes, we live in the land of free speech, but when a large group of people has asked us loudly to please stop, it’s only decent of us to listen and be respectful.
But what if you hear someone else use the word? What if someone uses it on Facebook? Should you take that extra step and speak up? Of course! Help the cause! Is it awkward? It may be! A little bit! But don’t stress, you’re in the right. I myself have had to interrupt friends to ask them not to use the word. Did they scream at me? No! Did they never speak to me again? No! Did they sulk? Not even that! They just said, “You’re right, I shouldn’t use that word. Thanks for calling me out.” You may have to remind them again sometime. That’s okay.
This campaign isn’t just about asking people to not use the word. It’s about reminding everyone that those with special needs are humans, who deserve respect. When your brain suggests that word and you choose not to let it out of your mouth, you are making a choice to be respectful, and perhaps that choice will help lead you to a smile to a stranger, read a book to your children about those with special needs, or be more inclusive in your everyday life.
There are some brilliant blog posts out there about why we shouldn’t use the word, so if you need some ammo, here you go!
“I really wish someone earlier in my life would have taken the time to tell me about the use of this word, and why I shouldn’t use it. I would have stopped immediately.” – Noah’s Dad Blog Post (maybe someone you know needs to hear this!)
“You degrade and insult us all when you use words that degrade and insult others, period.” – Hillary Savoie’s Blog Post
What are your favorite blog posts about this issue? What stories do you have about ending the use of this word? Tell us in the comments!