It’s just a simple word, right? Freedom of speech or whatever. I’m sure you think your words don’t have an effect on the ones around you. And I mean who cares, right? Who cares what other people think. The word, “retarded” can’t hurt that bad. Well, let me show you what it feels like when you use such a vile word. A word that cuts like a knife.
You’re in the grocery store and your friend says something you think is stupid. You say, “Man, you’re so retarded.” The woman behind you pushing her cart hides her frustration because, at home, she has an absolutely perfect son that has autism. Some people use the same word to describe him, but he is the most beautiful thing that God blessed this earth with. He is intelligent and ahead of you in your class. If you called him the “R” word, he would shut himself in his room for hours and wonder how someone could be so cruel. But it’s just a word, right?
You’re in class and your best friend is making a funny face. You say to your friend, “Wow, stop acting like such a retard!” There is a boy sitting behind you whose face is slowly starting to turn red. He quickly grows angry because he has a sister with Down syndrome. To him and many other people, his sister is a gift from God. She can dance and sing and brighten anyone’s mood. Some people use the same word to describe her, but she is an amazing sister and a better friend. If you called her the “R” word, she would be confused and ask herself, “There is nothing wrong with me, is there….?” But it’s just a word, right?
You’re on a date with a girl and she’s having a hard time deciding what to eat. She wants you to pick something out for her, and you jokingly say, “Seriously, are you retarded or something? You can pick out your own meal!” To you, it’s a joke, but she’s fighting back tears. She wants to cry because she has dyslexia and can’t read the menu. Normally, she always orders the same thing to fight being embarrassed but you took her somewhere new. But you called her the “R” word and now she thinks that she’s imperfect and that no one will love her for the way she is. But it’s just a word, right?
It’s not just a word. It’s a painful word that effects someone around you at any given time. It’s a word used out of ignorance and immaturity. So before you go slinging around the “R” word, I would like to ask you to locate the nearest thesaurus and find an adjective that is a bit less offensive. If you find yourself saying this, I hope you follow up with a very swift apology. Always think before you speak. And if you think you might hurt someone’s feelings by saying something, chances are you shouldn’t say it in the first place.