Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spread The Word To End The Word

Mostly everyone has said the "R-Word" before, we've all heard it being used in a certain context.
 But how many of you have resisted saying this term? How many of you let your friends say it? 
How many of you know someone who has an intellectual disability? Would you ever say that term around them? To their family? To their face?

Growing up the words "retard",  "retarded", "re-re", etc. were the norm insults, they were on the same level as stupid and dumb. There was no differentiation, there was no understanding of what those words meant. I may have even been in the same class as those with intellectual disabilities, but was too young to tell the difference. I learned what the term actually meant in about middle school, but by that time it was already etched in my brain. From that point on it became simply odd to hear the term, and much awkwarder to have it escape my lips. it wasn't till I actually met a peer with noticeable intellectual disabilities that it truly hit me. That just wasn't an appropriate word. So far in my life I've known several peers with intellectual disabilities, and I don't see it as a problem. Their "disability" isn't what defines them as a person, or as a friend.

 Everyone is on different levels socially, intellectually, athletically, etc. so where does the comparison start? What is the norm? Average? There can be someone who's missing a leg and still be faster than a "normal" person. Someone who has intellectual disabilities and still be smarter than a "normal" person. Frankly their "disabilities" aren't even that, they're advantages. Those who struggle put more effort into doing something, there's more passion and commitment, because they want to prove that no matter the difference they can keep up with everyone else. Then there's "normal" people who don't even bother because there's no obstacles, they live their whole life with the mentality that, "if the path is easy why put more effort than necessary?". Just taking what they have for granted, when there's those that need it and could put it to better use. People talk down on these individuals, pity them, separate them from their peers and force them to feel different. To look upon the rest of the world with jealousy or mourn their differences. When instead they're stronger than we'll ever be. Those individuals wake up everyday willing to fight another obstacle, time after time again; they know what it truly means to be strong when odd's are against them.
"Normal" people have no idea. 

As far as I'm concerned the "R-Word" is on the same level as racial slurs, and if it's a general conception that those are inappropriate then why not the "R-Word"? Every single time someone says that word or words that stem from it, they're enforcing the misconception that these individuals, that had no choice in the matter what so ever, are lower than everyone else. Every time you say that word, you're tearing down millions of people who spend every living second building themselves back up. Babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers, adults, and elderly. All souls that have to endure another second of the world's stigma on disabled individuals, who fight for their right in the world harder than anyone else. Every time your friends say that word they're spreading the hate, allowing it to bloom to reach future generations. Every time you don't stop this word from being said, you're letting it reach millions who feel these insults stronger than bullets. Every time you don't spread the word of to end these words, some of these individuals are faced with thoughts of suicide, because you're allowing the stereotype that they will never amount to anything to spread to their ears. The "R-Word" is murder, for self-esteem and lives alike. 


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