Last Wednesday was "Spread the Word to End the Word" Day. A day to raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word in hopes that more people will take the pledge to eliminate that word from their vocabularies completely. I have done a couple of different posts about my feelings on the R-word.
But I often feel like my voice is not really being heard. Almost as if people are thinking, "oh so all of the sudden she has a kid with Down syndrome and she's some vocab police..."
But the truth is it is not only Archie who I am concerned about the use of this word affecting. It is also my good friends, and teammates who I have known for several years.
There have been a couple of incidents in the last few months that have made me want to fight even harder for my friends in regards to this issue:
I recently had a conversation with a friend who had been throwing the R-word around left and right. Calling various people "retarded". When it was finally pointed out to her that she could probably find a better word, she defended her use of the word. "It's just a word". What I found most ironic about the situation was that said friend was also a special education teacher and in fact used that as her justification for using the word. She went on to explain that people needed to chill out and realize that it's just a word and it doesn't matter..
More recently than that, I saw a post from an old high school friend on Instagram that really got me heated. It was a screen shot of a text conversation between he and a friend. I don't remember the exact words but the gist of it was that he was talking about his training for some athletic event and his friend said to him, "yeah that's great, I am sure the Special Olympics can always use more retards."
So this dude not only thought that was funny, but thought it was so damn funny that it was screen shot/instagram worthy. Well I was definitely not LOL'ing. But were other people?? It made me sick to my stomach to imagine other people seeing that post and laughing. Was that actually what was happening? I hope that there were at least a few others who were disturbed by that post. I immediately thought of my Special Olympics friends and how something like that would make them feel. They work SO HARD. They fight battles every day that you and I will never have to face.
So I decided to give them a voice here. My rants may or may not change your mindset on this topic. But I hope that their words will make you think twice...
Lots of Love!