Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The R Word

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time now. It's about the word "retarded" and how it's used in everyday conversation. I hear it A least a couple of times a month. I hear it from friends, people at church, even people in my own family have used it when speaking to me. I hear things like, "I'm so retarded, That is so retarded, My retarded ______ wasn't working", etc.

I take such offense to hearing this word. I have a son who is mentally retarded. Times have changed and now the term developmentally disabled is used more often. But, the fact is that the word retarded is a medical term and not something to be used interchangeably with words like clumsy, silly, or broken.

I was so glad when I opened the newspaper this week and read an article claiming that today is End the R-word Day. The article says "End the R-word day is an awareness effort designating Wednesday as a day to “spread the word to end the word.” A Web site,, lists organizations supporting the campaign, including Special Olympics, Autism Speaks, the Arc of the United States and about 200 others."

So, somebody else is bothered by the mis-use of the word retarded. Good. Now, please if you are one of the people who uses this word. Stop. Please stop using it and speak up and encourage others to stop using it too. Be a good example. I'm never quite sure how or what to say when I hear the word. Often it's in friendly conversation and I don't want to seem rude. But, the word is wrong to use and unless people start saying so it will continue. So, what I've said in the past is, "Please don't use that word in that way". Once I say it I can see the wheels spinning and the person realizes what they have said AND who they have said it to (a mother of a precious boy who fits the clinical term of this word).

So, today is End the R-word day. Let it be so.


  1. This is a pet peeve of your dad's too so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in our family! It is so odd that everyone is always trying to be politically correct yet this word continues to be misused.

  2. i am 100% with you!
    great post.

  3. Late responding here, but I have raised my kids to speak up against the R word. I am very proud of my oldest. She is in student government at her high school, and she led an "end the R word movement at her school last week.



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