The R-Word, Again

Why am I writing about this again?  Because I’m still encountering the word, almost daily.  Granted I work with middle schoolers, but really?  Most of them know better than to say it, at least around me.  It’s the rest of the world that hasn’t gotten the clue, yet…

Here are the most common arguments I see on the internet, about why we special needs moms need to chill out about this:

  1. It’s just a word.  Yep, like the n-word, or any other label for any other minority in the country.  If it’s just a word, go into any urban area and start using these words, and then let’s see if it’s still “just a word”.
  2. Retarded is a medical term.  It is actually being replaced in the DMS-5, and is really still only used in insurance paperwork and research.  In fact the term “mental retardation” began to be used because the previous term used for the condition was deemed offensive.  This argument didn’t work for long back then, either.
  3. You are trying to be the word police, and I have First Amendment rights.  Go ahead and use the word, as long as you use it in job interviews, when you meet your girlfriend’s parents, when trying to get a bank loan, and any other time you want to put your best foot forward.  Huh, you say you don’t want to do that?  Then maybe that’s a clue that it’s a word that makes you look like you have a stunted vocabulary.
  4. It’s not really aimed at people with intellectual disabilities.  I would never say that term to someone’s face.  Well, that’s even better!  You would use it behind someone’s back.  Continue using it and wearing T-shirts with the word on it, so that I can steer clear of you.  If you censor yourself around certain people, who knows what you are saying about your friends behind their backs!
  5. It doesn’t really hurt anyone.  I can still remember being at a family Christmas right around the time when we finally got a diagnosis of autism for The Boy, and his uncle called him a “spaz”.  I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.  I was thankful that The Boy didn’t hear it, but words really do hurt.

Do you think the people who tweeted these disgusting, nasty things about Gabby Giffords were just using it as a slang term?

Gabby Giffords tweets

Do you want to be lumped in with them?  Because you will be.  Arguing that you aren’t using it “like that” won’t get you anywhere.  It’s time to drop the word from your vocabulary.  It’s a losing battle.