Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's talk about the word...respect.


Well, let us just get right to the heart of this today with a picture....

...or two.

The internet is in an uproar this week about this.  At least the people I associate with.  You know, the ones who don't promote hate speech.

I've been reading articles and blog posts the past few days about these comments and just felt the need to put it in my own words.  I'm not nearly as eloquent as so many other writers on the internet, but what I say does come from the heart.  This word, is so much a part of people's vocabulary that many don't even realize the implications of using it or even think about who they may be hurting with their "joke" or "insult".  Just LOOK at the number of re-tweets and favorites in the pictures above.  It sickens me.

I'm not innocent of this either.  I had to decide to remove this word from my vocabulary.  Or attempt to, because I'm still guilty of it as well sometimes.   I'll get angry and then it will just slip out because it was just so much a part of my vocabulary.  (Wrongfully so I may add). Change has to start somewhere though, and what better place than with me.

I don't think anyone really understands why comments like "That's so r*tarded" or "Look at that r*tard" hurt so much.  The simple truth is that using this word is hate speech.  It is derogatory, offensive, and it excludes.  It puts those with intellectual disabilities [and those that care for and love them] outside your group and makes us different (in a negative way).  It is a mockery and de-humanization of people with intellectual disabilities and just as hateful as racism or sexism.

I wonder if the fallout of comments like these would be greater if Ms Coulter had used the word n*gger instead of r*tard.  Wouldn't that be a different story.  But it is the same to me.  Hate speech.  An insult directed at one person at the expense of a group.  There are words developed to demean every group of people in the world, and yet somehow while those words are whispered in shadows this one still remains acceptable to speak  to write, to publish.  Why?

I think the difference is people in those groups can stand up and say something (and DO). But in this instance - the intellectually disabled often only have their family, friends, and loved ones.  Those advocates who are willing to stand up and say NO.

This is not acceptable.
This is not okay.
This will not be tolerated.
It's not about free speech, people  It's about respect.
Show some.

Spread the word to end the word.

Update:  Elizabeth Higgins Clark posted a wonderful article about this as well.  Read it here.


  1. PROPS for speaking up! I, too, used the word retard when I was a kid. I didn't think much about it as an adult till I had a child with special needs...and then I became painfully aware of how hurtful it is to hear when someone you love has a disability.

  2. Thanks, Ellen! I love what you posted as well. It is so great to see the SN community banding together on this one (yet again), even if it is more publicity for her.