I know you think it is harmless. I know you think that you aren’t talking about Ella. I know that it isn’t personal. But what you are saying is that it isn’t personal to you, but it’s personal to a lot of people (yes, I just stole that from Meg Ryan). You wouldn’t call me a chink, I wouldn’t call you a nigger, so please don’t use the word retarded. When you use the r-word all you are doing isperpetuating the stigma associated with developmental disabilities. Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and their friends. When you use the R-word you are:
– dehumanizing individuals with intellectual disabilities
– perpetuating the stigma and negative stereotypes that face people with intellectual disabilities
– making it harder and harder for individuals with intellectual disabilities to find work, to have opportunities, to experience life to its fullest.
– you are hurting people like Ella.
So please. Whether you think it’s not personal or not, please just don’t use the R-word. Because the reality is, is that people with intellectual disabilities are capable of enjoying and sharing life experiences just. like. you. Let’s work together to make this world a better place, shall we?
Visit http://r-word.org to find out more.