I grew up in a generation where the R-Word was very common. Everyone said it about everything. About themselves, about things, about other people.
"Oh no I forgot my homework, I am such a retard."
"Dude, did you see Billy's new shoes, those look so retarded."
"I can't believe Mrs. Smith gave us a pop quiz. She is such a retard."
And I still hear it all the time. Even worse I read it all the time-- on Facebook. Pretty much every day I will see a comment on someone's picture or wall saying, "you are so retarded", or "you are such a retard".
In fact, just a few minutes ago I read this on Facebook- "Memorial Hermann Hospital is freaking retarded!" Really? A hospital?? Come on now.
I get far more frustrated when I see it typed out than when I hear someone say it. You had time to think about this. You had to type it out, and see the word written, and click a button to share it. You could have thought for a second, deleted it and changed it to what you really meant. Because what you meant was- "frustrating", "stupid", "annoying", "dumb", "irritating", so on and so forth.
I do still hear friends use the word quite often. Friends who have supported us on our journey to Archie. Friends who love Archie fiercely. On a handful of occasions, people have even said it in Archie's presence. People have even said it to me in conversation while I was holding Archie.
But here is the thing, in none of those cases did the R-Word sayer mean any harm or malice. They said a word, that unfortunately over time has become the most common substitute for words like "stupid" or "dumb", without thinking. And so many of those times the person has either quickly apologized and changed their word choice, or apologized later when they realized they had said it.
I get it- I said the word myself growing up. Not even thinking that it had anything to do with a person with disabilities. Of course now, I do think about my son whenever I hear the word. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
Then there are the people who do say it with malice.
There is a huge difference.
Either way, it does need to change.
I really should probably just shut up now and let Ace do the talking. She says it much better than I do.
That about sums it up!
Lots of Love!