This is going to be rough to read...please don't leave me. Hear me out and know that I have said the R-word. I am not judging you. I am simply trying to continue in my mission to advocate and raise awareness for Down Syndrome. Also, if you notice that this message does bother you, I assume you are one of the people who say it. I KNOW you are good people, just please think about what you are saying.
Look, I know you aren't referring to my daughter when you say the word "retard" or "retarded" so you don't need to be defensive.
I know that it's a habit.
It's happens to be ingrained in our vocabulary as an acceptable word. I don't know what happened or when it became mainstream to categorize, stereotype and use this word to describe something or someone that seems "stupid."
I mean...I tell people that my daughter has DS and they still use the word (like in the same paragraph of conversation). Honestly, I know you aren't referring specifically to my girl but someone, some day might.
Put yourself in my shoes.
Hazel hears this term being used, maybe not referring to her, and comes home from school and asks me what it means. What do I say? How do I answer? How do I protect her from being offended, hurt, becoming insecure, learning that others think that something is "wrong" with her, or worse she learns or believes that she is LESS than someone else. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but imagine that your kid is called like the worst, most offensive, name that is directly related to some characteristic that they actually possess. It's a little different than just some innocent name calling, right?
Remember as well that it's one thing that kids say it, but another thing entirely when an adult says it. You should know better, right?
The major problem that I have is that if you are here - on Chasing Hazel - reading this, chances are that you probably try your best to not say the R-word. If you do happen to say it, you are probably very conscious of the fact that you said it and realize that you could have chosen a different word.
That is, LITERALLY, all I ask. That you think about it, consider why you chose that particular word and maybe try to bring attention to the fact that it could be very offensive to someone who might not be considered to be as "intelligent" as another person based on the simple fact that they have an extra chromosome.
Moving forward, please don't feel guilt about what has or hasn't been said in the past, and just simply try to choose a different adjective to describe something. There really are so many other more intelligent ones to choose from.
Thanks for reading all the way down here and sticking with me. Know that if I hear you say the word I do not get angry or offended. I send you love and hope for that might be the last time you ever say that word.
Here are a few relevant posts that have been written to raise awareness about "ENDING THE WORD"
From Catharsis - "Just Another 'retarded' post"
Unfortunately, what people don’t realize is that intent and perception have nothing to do with one another. One may not intend to hurt another with his choice of words, but the reality is others may perceive the words as hurtful because of the way they’re used.
To read more here is the link:
From Shannonigans - "R is for Reason. Let's show we have some"
Happy "END THE WORD DAY!"