Spread the word to end the word

Before You Use The 'R' Word Think Of All The Other Words That You Could Use Before You Hurt Someone's Feelings

Spread the word to end the word.

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As we're approaching the beginning of the New Year, it's time to start thinking about those New Year's resolutions. Usually these resolutions we make revolve around a desire to change a bad habit of ours. Whether it's trying to stop eating unhealthy or spend less money, we all have bad habits that we should try to kick in the butt this coming up year.

One bad habit I think people should leave in 2018 is the use of derogatory words, especially the use of the 'R' word (retarded).

Some of you may be thinking what's wrong with 'retard'? I don't mean it in an offensive way. And most of the time, this is the truth. When people use this word in casual conversation, it is not in an offensive way directed towards mentally challenged people. It is said in a way to even further exaggerate the meaning of 'stupid' or 'dumb'. The dictionary itself even has two definitions for it; a dated formal definition which reads: "less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one's age" and an informal, offensive version (yes, Webster's even uses the term offensive) which reads: very foolish or stupid.

To those of you who can't seem to understand what's wrong with saying the word if you don't mean it in a derogatory way, I can only begin to explain what's wrong with it to someone like me who has grown up with a sister with Down Syndrome.

The 'R' word is considered hate speech because it offends and excludes people with developmental and intellectual disabilities as well as the people who care for them.

People with these types of disabilities already feel so alienated from society because of their apparent differences. Imagine how they feel when they hear people use a word related to their disabilities to mock something or someone that is "dumb" or "stupid". It makes them feel excluded and it takes 100 steps back from the world trying to come together in unity and accept everyone for their differences.

Again, maybe I'm bias considering I have grown up with my sister having special needs so that word affects me more than most people. But I think if everyone took into consideration the feelings of these amazing individuals and realized the impact it has on them and the people who care about them, ending the use of the word could truly be an epidemic.

And for those of you who are on the same page as me and everyone else offended by this word, make it known! If you hear someone say the word and if it's nails on a chalkboard like it is for me, there's nothing wrong with politely saying, "Yikes, that word is so offensive, there are so many other words you could say other than that" and it might really open someone's eyes.

So before the 'R' word or any other derogatory word rolls off your tongue, think of the 100 other words you could use instead rather than potentially hurting someone around you.

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From The Girl Who Skipped The Party Stage

Sorry, I am really not sorry that I'm skipping the party.
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What's so wrong with skipping the party stage?

I can't count how many times I've been told I am missing out on the "best years of my life" because I'm not participating in stereotypical college party-girl behavior. I have even been told that I'll have a mid-life crisis because I am skipping this apparently crucial stage of life. Really? A freaking mid-life crisis? Because I'm skipping out on hooking up with strangers and being belligerently drunk every weekend?

Naturally, as a 19-year-old college student, my favorite pastime should be getting intoxicated. For some odd reason, though, I find it hard to believe that the best years of my life are supposed to be filled with moments that I won't remember.

Because my priorities lay in a different place than the stereotypical college kid doesn't by any means indicate that I am uptight, boring or a prude. Believe it or not, I get high on life just as much as you do on booze and weed.

Spending my time reading a good book with my morning coffee definitely tops a nasty hangover. Cuddling with my boyfriend of two years undoubtedly makes me happier than any one-night-stand ever could.

A successful girls' night for me is filled with hours of "Grey's Anatomy," ridiculous singing to Taylor Swift, and one-too-many slices of pizza — not dancing with girls that I barely know at a frat party.

Sorry, but if you're looking for someone to black out with and compliment your dress that is just too tight, I am not your girl. Want to have an actual discussion? Want to go to dinner, maybe even take a road trip? I am totes down for that.

When I look back on the best years of my life, I want my mind to be filled with memories that will bring a smile to my face — not a cringe.

Sorry, I am really not sorry that I'm skipping the party.


Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.

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I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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