Sunday, June 26, 2011

My view of the use of the "R" word

At first I heard friends from my DS community talk about how they didn't like the "R" word. I guess I never really thought about it back then and how much it really did affect me. You see that word is used to slam people and well that had to come from somewhere. It came from the term "mentally retarded" which is very close to home for me. Down Syndrome is a form of mental retardation. So when I hear people use the "R" word I see it as a slam to Jesse.

A few years ago Jesse was playing in my living room and a neighbor came over. I can't remember what Jesse was doing, but she looked at Jesse and said "what are you retarded or something?" WHAT???? OMG did you really just say that to MY son? My sweet baby boy. All the sudden that word hit so close to home. I was FURIOUS. I didn't even think to educate her about the use of the word. I just told her to leave before she went flying through my front door. Then all the sudden my views totally changed on people's choice of words.

Since then I've always tried to educate people about the "R" word and why I don't like it. Most people understand right away because they know and love Jesse, but there are some who just don't understand why it's so bad. Well, it's kind of like the "N" word or spic, or any other negative terms to refer to one's race. Those aren't acceptable terms and that is how the "R" word is to us in the special needs community.

For those who know Jesse it's easy for me to explain why it's wrong to say. I mean if you know Jesse you would probably do anything to protect him because you know he's the sweetest, most amazing lil' man ever. I normally just explain it as how would you feel if someone called Jesse retarded? Most of the time the response is I'd kill them, or kick their butt, or I'd be pissed. Well when you use the "R" word I see it as you are slamming MY son. MY pride and joy is the one you are attacking when you so lightly throw that word around.

So please think about how your words affect those around you before you speak. My son can't defend himself, it is up to me to stand up for him. So I'm standing up for my son and I'm saying it's not okay for you to use that word and I will not associate with those who use it.