Noteworthy progress in the community, anecdotes, recommendations, and more

Spread the Word…

on March 22, 2013

to end the word.

My new r-word shirt!

I celebrated “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day, which fell on March 6th this year. It is a very important day for me because the cause is one I believe in so much that it causes me personal grief when I hear it… that word.

The r-word.

I hate it. It feels filthy coming out of my mouth even when I’m explaining it. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the movement, Spread the Word to End the Word calls for awareness of the harmful effects of the word “r3tard” or “r3tarded” as a derogatory term.

A lot of people question the validity of the complaint that it is a derogatory slur. It’s like the “n-word.” I can prove it. Click on the link.

It’s so hard to explain to people who “don’t get it.” I didn’t get it. Then I became aware of the meaning when I said it in the way it is currently used. I was in math class in my sophmore year of high school. The class was more talkative than usual. We had a substitute teacher that day, so most students weren’t exactly on topic. She was walking around checking on students who might need help and came across a loud conversation between two guys who were talking about something they agreed was laughably unintelligent that a friend had said or done. One of them said, “man, that’s r3tarded!” and laughed.

That’s when the sub said, “Are you talking about my son?”

They stopped. “No, uh, we were talking about our friend.”
She told them she had a son with special needs and that when they used the word in that way, it was making her son into an insult. They didn’t get it. Or maybe they did, but they didn’t seem to care about that as much as they did the chorus of “OOH!” and “BUSTED!” along with other similar comments.

They mumbled sorry and kept their heads down. When class was over, they walked out and saved face by commenting “whatever, THAT’S r3tarded!”
Yeah, if that’s saving face then I’m Paul Bunyon.
I’m not Paul Bunyon.

The word is not even a diagnostic term anymore, so there goes another argument against the movement. “It’s a condition, so it’s not bad because I didn’t mean it that way.”
Wrong. The proper term is IDD- intellectual and developmental delays. M.R. has been removed from almost everything- diagnostic manuals, legistlation, professional use, etc.

Also, you DID mean it that way. You used it to describe something less than ideal, incorrect, defective, unintelligent, foolish, etc. Don’t believe me? Check Urban Dictionary’s version. Their site defines words as used in today’s society.

While browsing their site, which is one I had stopped using after seeing the definitions for the r-word on there, I found something amazing and surprising- a vastly different definition for the r-word. Check it out.
There turned out to be more just like it. I am shocked and so proud of these people. The internet can be a very cruel place and they spoke out to an audience who had already approved the foul definition listed before. Major respect for whoever posted the updated ones.

The last refutation I will mention is one of the most popular- you’re limiting my free speech.
No, I’m not. I’m trying to educate you so you can use your right to free speech in a better way. I am not opposed to others’ beliefs, lifestyles, opinions, etc, as long as it does not harm anyone. This harms someone- millions of someones, plus their friends, family, and advocates.
You have the right to say whatever you want. If you want to use a harmful word just to show off your free speech, I can’t stop you- but the law can.
Ever heard of hate speech? Check out Wikipedia’s article. It has laws and definitions by country and more.

If you don’t agree after all of that, that’s your perogative. You can’t make people agree with you. If I could do that, I’d be a princess who drives like it’s the Indie 500 everywhere she goes.

I will listen to your argument if you are willing to present points that I have not considered. I will be respectful of your opinion. Please be respectful of mine.

If you would like information on the r-word campaign, check out this page on the main site.

I encourage everyone to look into it and take the pledge to spread the word to end the word at

My post feels too angsty for my taste. To lighten the mood, here’s a meme that explains why, even if I become a princess, I should never be allowed to drive like it’s the Indie 500.
Stay off the sidewalks, people

From Ear 2 Ear,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: