I’ve never thought it was okay to say the word “retarded” in a derogatory way. It bothered my long before I was ever holding Evelyn in my arms. But now it carries an extra little kick to my heart. It shocks me to hear/see so many of my friends casually throwing this word around.
I’m making this personal. Evelyn has an intellectual disability. When you use the word “retard” or “retarded” in a derogatory way, you further exclude her. You tell her, you tell me, that she is not accepted. The word has become a description for negativity. A description for something flawed. It is a hateful word. You spread hate. You hurt my Evelyn. You hurt me. You hurt your children. You hurt our beautiful world and all of the beautiful people in it.
I hear people say things like, “you’re being overly sensitive” or “people are too PC” when they are called on the carpet for using this slur. What does that even mean? Too sensitive? Too PC? How can we associate attempts not to offend other human beings with negativity? If you would rather hurt my child than stop using “retard” that is certainly your right. But your attempt to pass it off as some sort of stand is a miserable failure.
Why should our desire to use a word be stronger than our humanity? Is our vocabulary really so limited that we just can’t drop a word from it? A word that hurts and some of the most vulnerable members of our world? A word that deeply hurts me. My family. My beautiful daughter.