“You’re such a retard!”
“That’s SO retarded!”
Sometimes it’s even accompanied by an expletive. “You’re such a f_____ retard!”
How many times have you heard these phrases? Or maybe I should ask how many times A DAY you hear these phrases? The tough question is do YOU use the “r-word”? If you don’t use the “r-word” does it bother you when you hear it? Do you think it’s acceptable?
The debate over the movie “Tropic Thunder” isn’t anything new for those of us who love people with disabilities. I’m sure I speak for many other parents when I say we are very aware of the use of the word “retard” and “retarded” that is used daily around us. It seems to be the preferred choice among kids from kindergarten through high school. My son is a junior in high school and I hear it regularly from his friends. I’ve even caught my son using it. What’s even more disheartening is that my husband is surrounded by it in his workplace. He’s made his co-workers and employees aware of their use of the “r” word, but unfortunately, they still use it and these people are adults who should know better. Unfortunately, he has to keep his mouth shut when a customer uses the “r-word”. Good thing I don’t have to deal with “customers”.
Interestingly enough, the use of the “n-word” is grounds for immediate termination in my husband’s workplace, but the use of the “r-word” is ignored. This isn’t to single out my husband’s workplace, though, as I’m sure it’s common policy (of lack thereof) throughout the work world. My workplace is likely the same way. I’m just trying to say that something is wrong with this picture. My daughter can’t change her developmental delays anymore than a person can change his/her race. Why is one slur acceptable, but one is not?
There’s an excellent blog called The “r” word campaign . Please give it a visit sometime.
Hopefully something good will come out of all this “Tropic Thunder” debate. If anything, it will bring awareness of how we speak and how we show respect for people with differences.
The only “r-word” our kids deserve is respect.