"That's So" image by Alison Rowan
That is 391 additional ways of saying one word that is synonymous with calling someone stupid, slow, and deserving of public ridicule and scorn.
392 ways of saying someone is less than acceptable in the eyes of everyone around them.
People think it's funny to call themselves retarded when they trip over a table leg or when their friends make a mistake. They laugh when celebrities, comedians, and movie stars use it. The word is thrown around by people referencing elected officials, organized religion, etc.
But, I know a large number of people who do not find it funny.
They are not laughing.
They want you to stop and really think about the words you say.
Especially that word.
People like me.
People like my friends raising children with special needs.
People I know and love.
People just like my sons, Sam and Noah.
When you use the word "retard" or 391 of its equally offensive relatives you are insulting my children. You are saying that every developmental milestone they mastered late or not at all is merely fodder for your sick sense of humor. These words further perpetuate the stigma and negative stereotype that those with intellectual disabilities are a subset of our society and less worthy of respect or equal rights and nothing could be further from the truth.
Today, millions across the world are taking a pledge towards changing their hearts and their minds, but most especially, their words. I hope you will consider joining them here and do the right thing.
Do it for your kids because we have the power to completely erase this word from society's vocabulary by refusing to use it ourselves and teach it to our children.
Do it for my sons and those like them who want your respect.
Do it for you because your words have power. They can lift up or break down a person in a single breath.
Just do it. Please.