I have posted about the R-word so many times over the past few years that I'm sure you are all tired of hearing about it. But the thing is, people are still using the word. More people are using the word in it's slang term, to mean dumb or stupid, not to be disrespectful towards people with different abilities, and my point is......THAT IS NOT OKAY EITHER!
Something that I read over and over again, especially on Facebook, is someone posting something about people online making disrespectful remarks towards people with different abilities and referencing the R-word and they are rightfully upset about that. Then one of their friends makes a comment that says something like: "I can't believe they would say such a thing! They are the real retards!" WHAT???? It's not okay to call someone retarded, just because they are being disrespectful towards someone who is developmentally delayed. That's the whole problem with this word. People are using the words 'retard' and 'retarded' to mean something that it doesn't even mean, dumb or stupid.
At one time the term 'mentally retarded' was acceptably used to describe individuals like my daughter. It didn't mean that she was dumb or stupid, it just meant that she was a little slower in her development. No big deal. But then somewhere, sometime, people started to use the word 'retard' to describe people acting stupid. Yes my daughter is slower in her development, but absolutely, in no way, is she stupid! So when someone uses the R-word, to me anyway, I feel like you are saying that this person is acting stupid, just like my daughter acts. Now I know that most people don't mean it like that, but to me, that's what I hear. Which is why I find the word very hurtful and extremely disrespectful towards my daughter.
Today, the R-word is no longer acceptable anywhere. Not even in the medical field. The terms developmental delay or intellectual disability is preferred. And just because someone is uneducated and uses the R-word, out of ignorance or just plain disrespect, it is not okay to say, "well you're the one who is retarded."
My hope is that one day people will view the R-word in the same way that they view the N-word. They know that it is hurtful and disrespectful. They would never be caught saying the word out loud, especially out in public and around other people. If they heard someone say this word, their jaw would drop to the floor in total disbelief that someone actually had the nerve to say that word out loud. And as a parent of a daughter with special needs, I wouldn't have to worry every time I talk to someone and they are describing something stupid, and thinking that they just might use the R-word instead.
It's all about respect. Respect. Respect. Respect. PLEASE, choose your words carefully. Think before you speak. And EDUCATE others. When you hear someone use the R-word, nicely inform them that it's not cool to use that word. Just say what they really mean.....that something was dumb, silly or stupid; not retarded.