Today is, once again, the day to end the word. The “r-word”. Really though, it’s every day, isn’t it? They just make official days to get us bloggers all talking about it at the same time. Which is brilliant. But really, we all need to be talking about it any time the word comes up or when ever the opportunity arises. Not to preach to our friends, family or even strangers about how we want them to talk but to suggest that there may be a better way.
That’s how I look at this, as an opportunity. And since I’ve been at this for a while, I think I know my audience (that’s you) pretty well. Which means that I know you’ve already heard about this and more so, most likely already removed that word from your vocabulary. Even if not, for what ever reason, you’ve at least heard of it and made your decision. (although I do hope you’ll reconsider it someday)
So I won’t sit here and preach to you. You know how it hurts me since I have a child with special needs. You know how it hurts others from those in care facilities to those who simply learn at a slower rate than “normal.” You know all the things I could possibly say to you to convince you to stop using that word.
Instead, I would ask that you seize your opportunities. As awkward as they may be or as shy as you may be or as uncomfortable as it may become, speak up.
Whether it’s a family member, an old friend or some person on the bus, speak up. Be nice, don’t be preachy, and just gently suggest that you and many people find that word offensive no matter how it’s used or in which way it’s intended. Suggest that, even though you valuable their right to say and do as they please, you just request that they understand that it is offensive to many and to take the time to consider all that this implies.
There is one word that I often suggest as a replacement, not to be used in place of, but to be thought of instead. An r-word to replace an r-word.
That word is respect.
When a person is about to or has already used the r-word, think about the other r-word, respect. Respect those that find it offensive. Respect those that are having to hear it. Respect those that are indirectly implied by your using it. Respect yourself enough to have a more evolved vocabulary and sense of community.
You don’t have to respect an individual, in the way in which you’d respect a peer, but to respect the ideal behind those are trying to do something right. For the good of the children, the children’s parents and everyone around the world.
So no, I’m not going to ask that you not use the word. All I ask is that you take today and any day to speak up when someone does. Be respectful in suggesting that they do the same.
And in the mean time, read and share because the more that we get the word out to the world, the faster we can get the word out of the world.
If you have written a post or found a post about this, please share and I’ll add it to the list above.
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