I am a huge advocate for this. Hearing the R-word is my biggest pet peeve. It gets underneath my skin, and I immediately lose respect for people who say it. If someone says it around me, I’m quick to say “don’t say that word”, but if they say it again, I most likely won’t talk to them again. There is no excuse for it. There are a million other words you can use to describe something.
The verb “retard” means to hinder or to make something slow. “Mental retardation” was introduced as a medical term for people with intellectual impairments, replacing terms that were considered to be more offensive.
According to an article I read on the Special Olympics website, people with intellectual disabilities consider the R-word to be the R-slur, as it should be. “The R-word, also known as the R-slur, is a hurtful term that remains prevalent throughout social media, according to a Kantar Social Listening study. The research shows that when social media users are posting about people with intellectual disabilities, 7 in every 10 of those posts are negative, and 6 in 10 contain a slur.”
In the years since the term “mental retardation” was introduced in 1961, “the R-word has become an insult used all too commonly in everyday language. Those who use the R-word often do so with little regard for the pain it causes people with intellectual disabilities—and the exclusion it perpetuates in our society.” Individuals with intellectual disabilities are not “dumb” or “stupid”, so when you call someone a retard, in place of “dumb”, you are essentially calling people with disabilities stupid. That’s not okay, either.
Using the R-word is a form of bullying. Calling someone the R-slur is no different than calling someone the N-word or using any other slur against a minority group. Eliminating the use of the word is a step towards respect for everyone.
Advocates started their campaign to end the word “retard” or “retardation” in the medical field, and in 2010, Rosa’s Law was passed. Rosa’s Law eliminated all references to mental retardation in United States federal law, replacing it with the term “mental disability” and “an individual with an intellectual disability.”
Ending the R-word starts at home. My kids know how I feel about that word. They also know what would happen if they were to say it. Would you let your kids walk around saying the N-word? No? What’s the difference? There isn’t one. They’re both slurs. Just like slurs against Asians and Hispanics.
Spread awareness to your friends. Most likely they know that the word is wrong, but some may not. Be like me. Don’t be afraid to tell someone not to use that word. I say it at least once a day during our stream. I don’t care who you are. I will tell you not to say it. It’s not an acceptable word, in any situation.