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The R-Word

March 18, 2016

    The R-Word, defined by it is: to make slow delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede; to be delayed. The noun is recorded from 1788 in the sense "retardation, delay;" from 1970 in offensive meaning "retarded person".
    This topic is important to discuss because if you use the R-Word you are being exclusive, ignoring individuality, as well as it fosters loneliness and is a form of hate speech. As someone who works with types of people with mental or physical disability, I have always found this topic to be an important one to bring awareness too. Additionally my little cousin has Down Syndrome and I have seen how hurtful it can be towards one to be called such a hurtful word.
    According to Crystal, Special Olympics Volunteer, Sanford, CA "The R-Word equates intellectual disability with being dumb or stupid. When saying the R-Word, what we mean is that someone is as stupid as someone who is mentally handicapped, and we meant that in the most derogatory sense. The implication is the only characteristic of mentally handicapped individuals as their stupidity". Sara Mitton, Board Member, Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association says that "Because the word has become a casual description of anything negative or flawed, "retarded" is no longer considered an appropriate way to describe people with intellectual disabilities. And any use of the word, even when used as slang and not intended to be offensive, is hurtful- because it will always be associated with people who have disabilities".
    In 2010 the Rosa's Law was passed by President Obama. This law "eliminates the use of the words 'retarded' and 'retardation' in federal health, education and labor laws. The bill changed the terms 'mental retardation' to 'intellectual disability' and 'mentally retarded individual' to 'individual with an intellectual disability.' This shift made the terms more consistent with language already used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations, and the White House. Currently, 43 states have passed similar legislation or have similar bills pending according to the Special Olympics." (Grinburg) Having all 50 states pass this law is a dream of mine. As I said earlier I have a cousin who has been called these hurtful words. Whether it be from her doctor, or people asking about her condition. Also when I first started my job I had to read the introduction papers to meet my client and they refer to these people as mentally retarded. Rather than calling these people hurtful words I suggest calling them by either their name or the type of disabiltiy they have. 
    In conclusion we should not be calling these people the R-Word. It hurts the people who are being called this and also the family of the mentally or physically disabled person. Join the movement today and stop the R-Word.
Works Cited

Grinburg, Emanuella. "Ending the R-Word: Ban It or Understand It?" CNN. Cable News Network, 7 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.


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  • March 18, 2016 - 11:40am (Now Viewing)

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