It’s Just A Word

Still using the "r-word"?  Find yourself a dictionary...

Still using the “r-word”? Find yourself a dictionary…

Recently, the r-word has reared its ugly head again in my purview.  Several weeks ago, I was on Pinterest, and saw a pin with this “joke”: “Sometimes your knight in shining armor is just a retard in tin foil”.  Hilarious, right?  No.  Not funny in the least.  And I usually don’t jump on people on that site, because I don’t know them from Adam, and don’t want to get into it with strangers.  In my experience, that can get a little scary.

But I noticed that several others were posting comments to the pin that took exception to it, so I chimed in.  And a couple of people responded to me, jumping all over me to “get a grip”, “life isn’t always nice”, “people are too damn touchy today”, “get over it”, “cool your beans” and plenty of expletives.  Now let me explain that my comment was in no way heated — it was: “Just because it doesn’t hurt you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt someone else.”  But I was told to “cool (my) beans” and “get a grip”!

One person responded specifically to me, and in her response, said this: “If the word hurts you, it is because you allowed it to. I am overweight, if I cried every time I heard the word fat, I would be a constant mess.”

So, it’s OK for people to use derogatory language, because I’m supposed to be stronger, and those on this planet with Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Cognitive Impairments, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are just supposed to be stronger, and “get over it”, if the word “retard” hurts them?

Another commenter said this: “Oh goodness it’s a word for crying out loud! I have a cousin with Down syndrome and a cousin with autism and not a single person in my family over reacts over the word ‘retard’ you know why, because we don’t use that word to describe them so why the hell should it be offensive, do you actually sit there and call your mentally disabled children retarded? No? Then get over it!!!”

So, because I don’t use that word to describe my son, it shouldn’t be offensive to me??

Um… What???

I think the people on the wrong side of this, those who accuse us of being the “word police”, need some stronger arguments, because theirs just make no sense.  I am not the word police.  But I will point out to you when a word you use is hurtful, because I believe people should be nice to each other – didn’t we all learn that in Kindergarten?  Because I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you just didn’t realize you were being mean.  If you dig your feet in, because you should be allowed to say whatever you want, you are correct.

You can say anything you want.  But that doesn’t mean you should.

If you agree, check out this awesome info-graphic about the word “gay”.  We should totally get one of these made for the r-word!

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Your Most Pressing Liebster Questions, Answered!

Question Mark Graffiti by Bilal KamoonWell, Meredith from Looking Up With Down Syndrome nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I’m going to attempt to answer a few of her questions today.

1.  Why do you blog?

I have always loved to write.  If I hadn’t taught music, I would have taught Language Arts, because words are my thing.  I get that from my mom.  I also blog because I’m not too far from the bewilderment of getting a diagnosis of autism for my son, and also the crazy, life-altering process that is divorce.  Neither experience was fun, and it was difficult to find resources at first.  It still can be, even in this day and age.  Writing this blog helps me to help others, all the while processing my own learning curve with autism, with parenting solo, with blending a family — all of it!  In my book, it’s a win-win-win!

2.  What are you passionate about?

There are so many people on this planet who have less than I do, whether it’s food, money, resources, opportunities…  I know in my heart of hearts that I was put on this planet to help people, and that’s what I get passionate about.  Over the past several years, I’ve come to believe that while government programs are definitely needed and have their place, nonprofits are going to have to be a part of the solution to the world’s most dire problems, because governments are fickle and changing (and usually broke).  It’s going to all come down to each one of us, helping our neighbors, friends, and fellow humans.

3.  Who do you admire?

I admire everyday people who stand up for others.  I admire the strength of regular people who have so much to deal with on a daily basis.  I admire people who think before speaking, and people who always strive to do their best.  I admire people who keep their word, and people who are compassionate.  I admire people who are non-judgmental, and people who are not too proud.

How about you, dear readers?  How would you answer these questions?