Change the Conversation
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Change the Conversation

There are 1,025,109 words in the English language. I only use 1,025,108 of them.

Change the Conversation

Most people have someone special who they think of every time an uninformed individual decides to call someone retarded. Personally, as someone who loves learning new words and meanings, I’m baffled that people choose to use the word 'retarded' as often as they do. In my common experience, I’ve noticed a lack of sensitivity towards the language we use to describe people. Why has it become a “thing” to demean people by calling them "retarded?" Every day is an opportunity to make a change, and today, I’m going to do just that.

I’m not a social expert, and I’m definitely not qualified to make factual statements about what the origin of the issue is. I am, however, qualified to encourage everyone to take a step back and think about what you are saying before you say it. I recently talked to a wonderful friend of mine about her perspective on “Spreading the Word to End the Word,” and it was truly eye opening. It made me think, maybe that is the issue. That I simply didn’t know. What do I mean by that? Ignorance is not always bliss.

 Meagan has been a friend of mine since freshman year and we’ve become close with one another’s families. If you know Meagan, you’ve heard her talk about Cody. I always laugh watching them hang out with each other. He gives her a look, she gives him one back, and its game on like any girl with a brother knows. Cody has Tetrasomy 9P, meaning he has four copies of his ninth chromosome while most people have two. Cody’s great at playing basketball, and he loves to play it. He’s an outdoorsy kind of guy but don’t you dare take away his movie time. He graduated high school last year and has moved on to further his education by enrolling in the LIFE program. On top of that, Cody has game. The first time I met him he just came on over and hugged me with a sparkle in his eye. He’s basically the bomb. The point is, Cody can be called a lot of things. He can be called a student, a movie fanatic, an outdoorsman and an athlete, but not retarded.

I’m taking the time to become informed. I encourage you all to do the same. Ask questions, don’t be afraid. Every question you don’t ask is a learning opportunity lost. Be responsible and do your part to become an informed speaker. Don’t dance around the topic or make assumptions. Just be polite. Most people will not fault you for having good intentions. There will always be a few people who exercise their Right to Free Speech and could care less about who they hurt in the process. Well, bless their heart (I mean that in the most southern way possible) and accept that some people are unwilling to be respectful. You’ll probably have a strong urge to step up and give them a piece of your mind, but all you can do is walk away and hope for change.

I do a lot of stupid things. The number of times I’ve walked out of the house with my shirt inside out is embarrassing and I often forget I’m in public and start singing along to the song in Starbucks. We all have our quirks; they are what make us who we are. Words hold the power to break and take away someone’s confidence by making fun of what makes them special. Try to imagine a world where everyone has the same faults and talents, life would be boring and dull. Be thankful for the array of personalities and abilities this world contains. Everyone’s light shines a little differently, so take the opportunity to inform yourself and learn how to appreciate peoples gifts no matter what they are. We can all learn a little from Meagan’s perspective, “People like Cody don’t have a disability, they have different abilities.”

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Two teenage girls smiling

The 2000s were a time that many young adults today can look back on, joyfully reminisce and somewhat cringe at the trends and the fads that we all used to love and adore. Here's a list of things from the golden 2000s that will have one feeling nostalgic about all of those times.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

7 Types Of Students You Will Meet In College

You wish you could be #5, but you know you're probably a #6.

cool group of lazy college students in class

There are thousands of universities around the world, and each school boasts its own traditions and slogans. Some schools pride themselves on sports, while others emphasize their research facilities. While there is a myriad of differences among each and every school, there will always these seven types of students in class.

Keep Reading...Show less
woman in white tank top and orange jacket holding a bible
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Life is hard. There is no surprise there. It’s confusing and scary and hectic, but there are some amazing qualities, too. Sometimes you feel alone and don’t know what to do. School gets in the way of what you want to do or you’re dropping friends you thought you trusted. Everyone has their moments. Everyone has felt in the lowest place and couldn’t find the strength to get back up. But I want to help with that. Here are 10 Bible verses I hope will brighten your day, or at least make you feel stronger and happier.

Keep Reading...Show less
Buddy The Elf Attacked by Raccoon

Finals, the time we all dread. Amidst trying to juggle a social life, lack of sleep, exams, essays, and classes, it can be more than overwhelming to juggle this crazy season of life. Thankfully, Elf gets it. Here's 15 feels of finals week before winter break, as told by Buddy the Elf:

Keep Reading...Show less

10 Pros And Cons Of Autumn

Navigating the Season's Upsides and Downsides

concrete road among autumn forest with bright orange leaves

Personally, Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. The air is crisp but not too cold, there is so much to do, and you're not collapsing from the heat. I asked some friends and family what their favorite and least favorite parts of Fall. Below is the list I put together:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments