The R-Word is not acceptable

Ok so, this isn’t new and I’m a little late on the bandwagon but there’s a reason. You, my readers, are already r-word savvy… you already know not to use it. You already know how hurtful it can be. So I’ve kind of felt like I’d be preaching to the choir if I did a post on it.

I changed my mind.

I still hear the word far too much

R-Word.org

I live in a bilingual city where a lot of people not only speak French but it’s actually their first language. English is second. There are some inherent problems with this that I have noticed. Nothing drastic but there are some things that bother me.

For example, the French here tend to use double negatives a LOT. It’s not their fault though. When you translate French into English, if you do it literally, you end up with a double negative most of the time. I’m not here for a linguistics lesson so just take my word for it.

However this also means that some “slang” and even derogatory words become a regular part of their vocabulary just as easily as it does for teens in high school that throw around the latest trendy verbiage or insults or what have you.

Let’s just say that when something doesn’t make sense to someone around here, the most likely reply I’ll hear is “that’s so retarded.”

Accepting the blame

First and foremost, we all must accept the blame before we can try to make a change for the better. I’ve said it. I’ve never said it as an insult or in a derogatory fashion but I’ve said it as a means to describe something I disagreed with or thought made no sense.

I think it’s safe to say that most people have at least used the word in some way even if not meant to hurt someone with it. Especially those of us that are over 20 or so…. I mean, how long ago was it that we first started hearing that “mentally handicapped” was taking over for “mentally retarded”?

We never meant for it to be a bad thing to say but here we are… it is how it is, it is what it is. Now it’s time to put a stop to it no matter how we intend it’s use.

Making the pledge

There is a website (http://r-word.org) where you can make a pledge to not only stop using the word but to make an attempt to stop others from using it as well. I have made the pledge on their site.

Their site lists a couple of dialog examples on how this subject can be addressed: Example 1 and Example 2.

By doing this, we can help people to recognize when and how they use this word and hopefully stop them doing so.

But I don’t use it to insult anyone

As I’ve said all through this, I have never used the word to insult anyone or in a derogatory way but I still feel that there’s really no reason to use it at all. No I’m not saying that I don’t want anyone else to ever use the word even if it’s with the best of intentions, I am just saying that I do not want to use it anymore.

I feel that it’s use only perpetuates it’s future usage… it’s continual transition from a medical term to a derogatory term to a slang to what ever else it may become. There’s just no need to continue to have it be a part of our vocabulary at this point as it serves no purpose except negativity.

The r-word is not acceptable. Pledge your support.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

, ,

3 Responses to The R-Word is not acceptable

  1. Angel G May 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    It happened to us. My youngest was riding his bike and two other boys walked by him and called him “retarded” – only because he was wearing a helmet.

    We hear a lot of phrases often. “That’s retarded”, “That’s so gay”, “he’s such a bastard”, the list goes on. I’ve tried asking people to refrain from using such phrases. However, people will only stop if they want to – it’s not up to me (in a perfect world I’d be Queen Ruler of the Universe hehe). The best I can do is teach my children that these phrases are inappropriate and to not use those phrases myself.

    Also, I think it’s important to teach my children that words only have power if they allow them to. That’s a difficult lesson, but one that I think will help them throughout their lives.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blog Carnival: The “R-Word” | my english 416 blog - October 18, 2011

    […] “The R-Word is not acceptable” written by a father of two boys, one with autism and one without: http://www.stuartduncan.name/special-needs/the-r-word-is-not-acceptable/ […]

  2. (Language) Awareness Starts With You ... - Kat's Cafe - March 31, 2013

    […] The R-Word is not acceptable (stuartduncan.name) […]

Leave a Reply