Last summer when I was was taking Evie to her summer school program, I had walk through a classroom to enter the school because the main door was locked.
In the room, there were 3-4 kids working. When we entered, they all said, “retard” in some way shape or form about Evie. The adult in the room said, “that is not okay to use that word.” I don’t know what else because I was busy hurrying through and biting back tears.
As always, in hindsight, I wish I stopped and talked to them about how language can hurt. But I didn’t because I was close to tears. Maybe I shouldn’t have hid those tears from them.
I am reminded of this because I just signed a permission form for Evie to be filmed, again, this year as a group of students and educators work together on a campaign to end the use of THAT word. This makes me so happy.
The thing that makes me very sad and very fucking angry is that some kid learned to use that word from an adult. Maybe some of the kids that said it learned it from another child. But some kids learned it at home.
The “stop being so sensitive”, “it is just a word”, or my personal favorite, “it doesn’t have anything to do with people who are retarded and I would never say that to a person with a disability” just don’t fly with me.
It has everything to do with a community of people who are repeatedly subjected to their medical diagnoses being taken and used in a way that is derogatory and offensive.
Oh you need to roll your eyes when I say offensive? Tired of hearing it? Tired of political correctness?
If you are an adult, I have no words for you and your insensitivity. Well I do, actually, but “fuck you” seems a little hypocritical at this moment.
I would one hundred thousand million gazillion times over rather my kids drop fuck bombs left right and center than use words like: retard, retarded, stupid, dumb, moron,idiot etc.
Why are we so aghast words like, “fuck” and “shit” that don’t refer to people in a derogatory way when we are fine with using words that are derived from making slurs about a vulnerable population of people?
Currently, and for the last few years, I have been trying to stop saying “crazy” and “insane.” I get it, it is hard to stop saying something we have always said without thinking about the consequences and meaning of our words. I slip up all of the time and one of these two words floats out. If I catch myself saying it, I correct myself–especially in the company of Maxine. But I know that I can strike these words from my vocabulary.
And you can strike the words that humiliate and degrade other people from your vocabulary too. And you should. And if you don’t at least try, you’re an asshole.
Asshole or retard? Which one is more offensive to you? Which one refers to a population of people in a derogatory way? Which one just refers to a part of the body? Squeamish folks with puritanical hangups be damned if you’re still using. “retard, stupid, dumb, idiot, moron” in your everyday language without any sort of guilt or attempt to change that.
I maintain, if you don’t, you’re a fucking asshole if you don’t at least try.