6 Letter Word

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.


9 thoughts on “6 Letter Word

  1. Thank you for fighting this fight instead of just looking the other way, thank you for putting one more voice out there, thank you for having empathy for families and children whose shoes you do not even have to walk in…but choose to. Thank you for loving us and my girl. ❤ This made me tear up with understanding and frustration all at the same time. One step forward….

  2. So important to say. I’m going to be teaching middle school this year, and so this word will most likely come up, and I am in a position to influence the way young people think about and use words. Now I just have to figure out a game plan.

  3. Beautifully written about an ugly subject. Heartfelt and confrontational, a perfect combination to break through thick heads and bad choices.

    Thank you for the link to allow us to act on our love for all children, particularly our exceptional ones.

  4. Powerful. Thank you so very much for speaking up for those who are marginalized by society. I hope you don’t mind that I linked to you on my facebook page. This is too important not to share.

  5. Pingback: Day 2 – 30 Days of Truth « Where Love and Chaos Reign
  6. Powerful post. On behalf of my beautiful son with a “little something extra,” I thank you for writing it. Also – thank you for commenting on my r-word post to @Anonymous. Some people are so resistant to even the suggestion that they might be doing something wrong – I’m sure that you believe, like I do, that we must work to change hearts, as that is the only way to change minds.

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