Every March I’m asked why out of all the fights I have to compete in for Bridget, why is ending the use of the word retarded so important?
I understand the question. I know that I have to choose my battles. That I only have so much mental energy and need to be careful how I expend it.
To those who ask the question, why is the R word fight so important I have this answer:
Because having Bridget accepted for who she is, for opening up doors for her and to have her be included… every one of those battles begins at the R word. I never want to imagine that when it is said that something is retarded, they mean mentally challenged. The truth is, they usually do when the term is used to describe a person or a person’s actions.
When someone uses the word retarded to describe another person they are saying that person is less-than, that person doesn’t have value or that person is “not right” in their head. They are saying that the person is mentally incapable or intellectually challenged.
Bridget is intellectually challenged. When you say, that Bozo is retarded you are not saying he is brilliant or spectacular. You are saying he is mentally challenged. Or are you saying something else?
If you are saying that Bozo is stupid or dumb or crazy or annoying, why do you decide to use the word retarded instead?
The argument that when the word is used is not a reflection on Bridget, or others with intellectual disabilities, may be a truth that is only in the eye of the beholder. As your friend, I’m tell you that word hurts me. As my friend, you would say “oh I didn’t realize”.
You would find another word. There are over 171 thousand words in the English dictionary. I am sure you can find a different word to show how you truly feel about that person, idea or thing you find so disgusting.
I am sure that after knowing Bridget, you would never use her diagnosis to describe someone’s hateful actions.
So please join me Spreading The Word to End the Word
I’ve noticed a lot of shortened forms of the word which are also incredibly offensive. But what do you do about well known organizations such as ARC that includes the word in their name?