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A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The R Word

I hate the word "retarded". Honestly, it used to be part of my regular vocabulary. "That's retarded" or "You retard". How sad.

Now it makes me cringe every single time I hear it, especially when it comes from people who I know love and care about Lauren. It's no longer a medical term and it's almost always used in place of stupid, ridiculous, dumb, weird or (insert word that doesn't mean anything nice). My heart sinks every time I hear it.

I know that people don't mean it in reference to Lauren. But the sad truth is that someday somebody probably will. And that is not okay. It's a word that will never be tolerated in our home. Why should anyone use it? There are several words that would more accurately describe whatever situation is being referenced. It's hurtful. Every single time.

My hope is that Lauren would never hear that word. Ever. Normally I think sheltering your kids from everything doesn't do them any favors. Not this time. I think it would do Lauren huge favors. Why should she ever hear an ugly word like that? It's a word that people used to (and disgustingly still do) sum up an entire person in one word. How can one person, soul, heart and being be summed up in one word? Especially that word?

Did you know that in Nazi Germany, during the Holocaust, the first group of people that Hitler tried to exterminate were people with intellectual disabilites? Namely Down syndrome. Unspeakable things were done to people who weren't deemed "perfect". Horrible expirements were performed. It's vile to even think about, but it happened. To people just like Lauren.

The truth is, words hurt. The old adage about sticks and stones is not true. I hope I never have to explain to Lauren what the R word means. Or how the people it is referring to were treated accross the world. I hope Lauren only knows acceptance, love and belonging. And that is not possible unless the human race works together to evolve into a society that welcomes and embraces our difference. And assigns deep meaning and value to every person.

So whether you know us in person, or regularly read my blog, or happened to stumble upon it just this once please take this message to heart. Share it with friends. Help eliminate this word from our language.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agree. Someone in a local online mom's group was advertising her blog and asking for feedback, and when we saw the word "retarded," another mom with a child who has Down syndrome spoke up. I was totally shocked by all the people who jumped on her for being "abrasive!" The blog author even said it was "everyday common vernacular." Heartbreaking. I hope your Lauren never has to hear it.