Monday, March 30, 2009

Maybe you’ve said it casually or heard someone else use it in conversation. “I’m so retarded.” Or “He’s such a retard!”
Chances are you weren’t talking about someone who was actually retarded.
You probably didn’t think twice about using the word.
Or that it might be offensive.
According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition of ‘retarded’ is: “slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress.”
When it comes down to it Noah is ‘retarded.’ He is a ‘retard.’ Of course that isn’t how we refer to his disability. More commonly we use the words developmentally and intellectually delayed to describe some of the effects of having Trisomy 8 and C.
I have never been one to worry about “political correctness.” Yet I find the casual use of the word ‘retard’ or ‘retarded’ offensive. I find myself bristling when it is used in conversation - even by friends who have welcomed and loved Noah from the day he was born. While I wasn’t ever a casual user of “the word” obviously Noah has dramatically changed my view - enough to speak out publicly. I find the casual use of the word ‘retard’ as offensive as I’m guessing most African-American’s would find the ‘n’ word, or homosexuals would find the word ‘fag.’
Why all this talk about a single word? On Tuesday, March 31, events will be held throughout the US and around the world to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” The goal is to raise awareness and make people think about their use of the word ‘retard.’

“It defies rational thought to why you would pick on that group. There are 190,000,000 kids and adults in the world with intellectual disabilities… 7.5 million in the United States. When you pick on that group, you’ve picked the perfect storm of cowardice to exercise your {hatred} … because they are not going to return serve. Because that’s not what they are equipped to do. They are equipped to {hug} … not {fight}. So why pick on that group? It doesn’t make sense.” Actor and activist John C. McGinley of the hit show “Scrubs,” said of the goal to “Spread the Word.”
Tuesday I’m going to spread the new R word Respect.

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