Today what I am writing about is an issue very near and dear to my heart. Ending the r-word (retard, or retarded). If you've known me long, you've heard me talk about this before. But sometimes we need a reminder, because I still hear those I love say it.
Here's the deal. I personally, have no problem with medical use, or governmental use of the word retardation or mentally retarded. They use it in a clinical sense, and it means delayed or slowed. I don't care about all that. What I cannot stand is when people use the word retard as slang, or as an insult. "I had a retard moment." "Dude, you're a retard." "That's so retarded." Those words are like nails on a chalkboard. You see, when you say these things, you are essentially saying. "I had a Karis moment." Dude, you're acting like Karis." "That's so Karis." I know, you would never say anything like that, but when you use the r-word, that is what a person with an intellectual disablity, or someone who loves them, hears. You are taking what makes my daughter all that she is, which is wonderful, and using it to call someone or something stupid, bad, less than perfect, dumb, horrible, not worthy. And, she is certainly not any of those things.
Many people disagree with me about this and say that parents of people with Down Syndrome, are being over sensitive. But if you say, "that's so retarded," I can guarantee that you are not saying, "that's as wonderful as ice cream!" No, what you are saying is, "that's as bad as a person with Down Syndrome" (or any intellectual disability). It's a derogatory word that's origin is an unflattering comparison to someone with a disability. The argument that the use of the r-word is NOT offensive, intentionally or not, to people with disabilities, is like saying that you could call someone with an impolite mother an S-O-B, and expect that person not to be offended by the term. The r-word is offensive.
I know none of you, being my friends and family would ever call Karis a *r-word*. So please, would you try to remove that word from your language all together? I'll love you for it! And, if you feel so inclined, join me in the crusade to end the word. Let people know, when they use the word, that that's not very nice, pick a different word. I'd love you for that too!
If you go to r-word.org you can make the pledge! Or, if you would like, leave me a comment here with your pledge! I usually get about 40-50 reads per blog post. Can I get 50 people to say "I promise!"? Holla back now!