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End the “R” Word – A Best Friend Speaks Up

I am repeating this post from 5 years ago due to the continued relevance of its message.  It was first posted in March of 2010. 

Today I have a guest blogger, and his name is Jon.  I am fortunate to teach Jon and his friend Sam racquetball at the YMCA.  Both boys are 18 years old and have special needs.  Even though I am their instructor, they have taught me more than I have taught them.   What you are about to read is one example.  Recently I learned that Jon and his case worker wrote this plea for sensitivity at their high school and Jon read it over his high school’s intercom.  Take it away, Jon!

“This pencil’s so retarded!”…..  “This class is retarded!”  Using the word “retarded” for lack of anything better is not acceptable.  People may think calling something retarded makes them look so cool.  They think it’s funny.  Well, it isn’t.  It looks and sounds naïve, and every time I hear that word, I wonder if these people fully comprehend the meaning.   The word refers to a group of human beings, a very large group, and a group that, dare I say, includes my only real friend.

Calling something or someone retarded, when you think it’s stupid or silly is in fact speaking in a derogatory manner.   Spread the word, and end THAT word.
Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments.

Some people have developmental disabilities. The word “retard” or “retarded” when used to describe someone or something you think is bad or stupid it becomes another thoughtless hurtful word.  People with developmental disabilities are not bad. Their condition is not bad. The prejudice and discrimination to people with developmental disabilities is BAD…and WRONG! Please stop using the word ‘retard’. It hurts individuals and families of those with disabilities.

Spread the Word to End the Word.  Our language frames how we think about others.  Help eliminate the use of the R-word in everyday speech.  Pledge to not use the “R” word in any way, shape, or form.

Pictured: Sam, Bev, and Jon, our Guest Blogger – “Racquetball Rocks!”

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