I thought I’d post about something different for a change. I have posted about this before, but it has recently come up again due to a face.book notification I received. And I fight this issue every day.
We leave a lot of leeway for the things that are talked about in our house. I didn’t grow up with censorship or topics that were hush hush. If we asked a question about something, we got answers. I try and make sure my kids don’t hear swear words, but they have heard them and we have discussed that they are adult words and they aren’t nice to use but sometimes adults forget. There are few words that aren’t “allowed” in my house. And truthfully, if I had to pick a word I’d prefer my children never learn, I wouldn’t pick f*ck, or sh*t, or even the “c” word (which I hate).
No, the word I hope my children never learn? It breaks my heart to even type it. Because it’s a word that hurts the innocent. A word that has actual non-derogatory definitions, but has been bastardized into a slur. Something to put someone else or yourself down; to call them stupid. And it equates disability, or different abilities, with being unintelligent, incapable of learning, of being less than.
And it’s not ok.
We spend a lot of time talking about language, and what are the proper things to say when it comes to race, religion, sexuality. People complain about political correctness taking over our language, but this isn’t about politics or people being hypersensitive. This isn’t about “just a word.” It’s about changing a belief system.
When prominent people like Jennifer Aniston go on national television and without a second thought use a word that classifies her behavior as stupid by using a word that also equates children and adults with special needs as stupid? It’s NOT OK.
We all know what she means when she uses that word. Do you have a picture in your head? Most people do. That’s why she uses it. The problem is, it’s a fallacy. It’s based on a lie. On misinformation. On ignorance.
That face you can see in your head when she uses that word. Make it your child. Your brother. Your friend. Now try. Try and utter the word. Make it someone you would give your life for. Can you say it now?
Every time you say, or let someone else in your life say the word “retard,” there’s a mother fighting to make sure her child has access to an equal education. Every time you laugh when a celebrity uses that word, there’s a sibling coming to blows with a schoolmate who is making fun of his brother or sister.
There’s a little girl I love very much who I’ve never met. Her mom and I have been friends now for almost 6 years, through an online group of moms who were all due the same time. When she was born, right around when the twins were, her parents discovered that she had an extra chromosome. When I hear that word, I know that people are talking about little girls like her daughter. She doesn’t deserve that. Nobody does. Look at her face.
Can you say it now?
Look at her. How much is that word worth to you? More than her?
Pledge to never say it again here. And spread the word to end the word.