Yesterday Continued

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yesterday was my first time to hit "publish" on a post not knowing if it would be received well by all. Typically I write posts that I know will be well liked, and won't offend anyone. But I often times feel very strongly about something, and really want to blog about it, but I don't for fear of offending, or upsetting someone. Or for fear of someone simply disagreeing with me. How silly is that? Pathetic really. I want to be real and authentic and speak out about things that I am passionate about, without worrying about stepping on any toes. So it's official- I am a recovering people pleaser.

However I do want to share my response to one negative comment I received on yesterday's post. At first my reason for sharing it was because I wanted to be sure that anyone else who felt the same way had a chance to read it. I know, I know, still trying to please with a justification. Well, it's just day one, steps. No but really, I don't actually feel a need to justify anything, but I do think this further explains my feelings.....

i give you a tip, dont put your clean hands in dirty water or in other words, dont put archie in this stupid context.

after reading your blogs i recognize your sensible side but it make no sense at all because archie is what he is, 

a lovely , god given human being. 

go archie gooooo 

My Response:
Thanks so much! You are exactly right-- Archie is what he is, which is AMAZING. Smart, funny, capable, loving, kind, caring. A perfect son and brother. Which is the EXACT reason why I DID write this post. When Margaret Cho said those words she was referring to Archie. Of course I know that she wasn't referring specifically to him, but any child like him. 
Archie will one day understand what it means when he hears the word "retard". And it will hurt him. So if I can do anything to prevent that from happening, I will. If I can open a few people's eyes and minds, I will. 

I never fully understood the power of the word until I had a child with special needs. Now, the fact that my stomach knots up and turns when I hear it, I recognize its power. Especially when said in the context that Margaret Cho said it in when actually referring to a child with a disability. Many people still thoughtlessly replace the word "retard" or "retarded" for "stupid" or "dumb" when referring to situations, rather than people. Still not okay to use the word for any reason at all, but it stings a little less when used in that context.
But I also still hear people almost every day saying to another person, "you look like a retard..." or something to that effect. Of course the person being called that name is never actually disabled in any way, so everyone gets a good laugh while my child and other children like him are being mocked and ridiculed. Dehumanized even. When we say things like that we are taking away their worth. I was on the phone yesterday with a friend of mine who also adopted a precious little boy with Down syndrome,  and she reminded me that this is why the abortion rate for babies with Down syndrome is so high, and it is also why children with disabilities all over the rest of the world are sent straight to orphanages and institutions and hidden from society. Because we dehumanize them. We take away their worth and value as humans beings. Like they are just "things" that should be discarded.
To see my son's picture, even on my own blog, underneath a sentence with the word "retard" in it, makes me cringe. But it is reality---That is who you are talking about when you use that language. Or when you compare your lack of skills in a sport to being in the Special Olympics. I work with a Special Olympics team. Last summer they went to Greece and and competed in the World Games. They brought home the gold medal for volleyball. They are incredible. So don't compare yourself to them just because you happen to suck at something. 

I have no idea what Archie's future looks like. At least not specifically-- I do know that it is BRIGHT. And the last thing that he needs are senseless, ignorant words bringing him down or making him feel less than amazing. I am and will continue to be his number one advocate. And I will teach him to be his own advocate and to speak out. And I can't teach him to do those things, if I don't do them myself. 

I will leave you with my all time favorite R-Word video. 

Eddie Barbanell-- You are awesome.

Lots of Love!


Hi, I'm Alysha -But you can call me Lysh said...

Oh..did I tell you your awesome? :D Thanks for giving my exact feelings a voice.. ♥.

Anonymous said...

do you feel offended by my post, because you say "negative comment"??
i am coming from germany and my english isnt so good,only to clearify.i only wanted to build up your moral.
wanted to say that archie is a normal human being and what other say should not bother you because they are "retard".THEY are not working like normal humans, THEY ARE OUT OF ORDER. you can learn archie later in the month or years that those people have a failfunktion ....and to be honest, i dont think that it will be a big problem, may be there are 10 of those failfunktions humans, but there are thousand who arent, only look at your response at your blog or facebook(i will add you as a friend ok:-) or your surroundingpeople, mostly love your kids

could write very much but my english su..s :-(

but the main thing is , i like you all very much


Lisa said...

Hey again, Toni! No, I really wasn't offended, just wanted to further explain my feelings. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments and I understand what you are saying. I do blow things off and ignore comments quite a bit, but there are also sometimes when I need not be silent. Words can cut deep and it is important that people be aware.
Yes, please do add me on Facebook! Thanks for your sweet comments... We like you too!!

Gesci said...

I just can't tell you how much I love your blog. The two humans you're raising are already doing so much to change the world- just by being the best humans they can be, and having parents who support them fully. I want every one of your blogposts to be read in every school, gathering, church, meeting, etc.- because it isn't about being too sensitive, or being overly P.C. and becoming a doormat- it's about respecting others and not causing pain to others, either physically or emotionally. Laughter is amazing and healing, but not when it comes at another person's expense.
This is applicable across the board, too- I feel like you could take out your specific names and insert almost any situation or word that is careless used out of ignorance. Thank you!

belehcar said...

I'm just de-lurking to tell you that I think you did the right thing by blogging this. :)

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and have been a reader of yours for some time, although I've never commented. I felt now was the time to come out of the shadows and tell you how much I support you posting this!!! I get so stinkin' mad when people say such hurtful things without thinking! So, THANKS again for posting such a great message.

Suzanne said...

Go Lisa!!! Can you please put your blog on our list for the idscforlife website? Its such important work and I just know you would reach people...also I am just about dying to put a link to this on Face book, its just so good, but I won't if you don't want me to, although all my friends and family already love you all! Also, I wrote Andy and Margaret myself....
xoxo from memphis-
suzanne and clay

Anonymous said...

Archie is a wonderful little boy!!
He is funny loving caring and everything you can ask for in a child
Yes Archie does have Downs syndrome.
Yes people are going to be mean and say hateful things. Retarded stupid and other hateful things to him. Sometimes you will be able to protect him and sometimes you won't be able too !
I have been down this road and it is painful. You are a great mom and Archie's love is unconditional !!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I will give You a good advise. When something like this is happening, just say to Yourself "I love and accept myself, I love and accept my kids" And forget about people. People are people. You won't change that. Just stick with the "good" people. That love You and support You.
Look for the gold in people, not for the dirt. Even if You see tons of dirt, always look for the little amount of gold.
God bless You. Love Your blog.

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