Put An End To The "R" Word

Put An End To The "R" Word

These are my reasons why saying "retard" makes you an "A" word.
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It is easy to spot the table at lunch occupied with the students who need aides to help them out with their classwork.

There are always the students that spend their school days in another classroom to learn daily activities such as tying their shoes or signing their names. You may walk by them in the halls and watch as they look down at the ground away from you.

They are the very few students who have access to the elevator key because the school isn’t wheelchair accessible. They leave class occasionally to take medications or deal with bodily functions.

You call them the “R” word.

They seem foreign to some. At universities, exposure is limited. When they are spotted being helped by workers in our facilities with jobs that are considered undesirable, it’s hard not to stare. At this age, transitional care is limited, and it’s difficult for parents to let them go into society. There are agencies that match them with staff to bring them to and from places and care for them throughout the day when their parents can no longer do so.

You call them the “R” word.

They greet you with a big smile on their face as they hand you the movie ticket you purchased. They optimistically clean up after you make a mess because they are proud of the job they have and the hard work they put into it. Some may live on their own, others still need daily supervision to help them achieve tasks that we take for granted. They have lived their entire lives knowing they are different.

You call them the “R” word.

Temple Grandin raised awareness of animal cruelty and used her own experience to alleviate anxiety for animals in slaughterhouses. She is the creator of multiple animal handling inventions that allow animals, especially cattle, to be treated as humanely as possible. There have been documentaries made about her and her research that is still in use today. She is a Professor of Animal Science, an author, and an advocate for people with disabilities similar to her own.

You call her the “R” word.

Frank Stephens testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of research on disabilities, especially Down Syndrome, and the recording of his opening statement went viral. He takes a stance on the beautiful capabilities that those with Down Syndrome have and argues how great his life is, regardless of the beliefs of others around him. He exaggerates the beauty of inclusion in society, and values the incredible source of happiness that comes from him and others with his disability.

I call them “R” words, too. Radiant. Refreshing. Remarkable. Real.

Every day, someone with a disability is chastised for being different, but they are crucial to our society at every stage in life. Without them, many of the revolutionary changes in our world similar to those made by Temple Grandin or Frank Stephens would have never happened. Contrary to common belief, they are capable of making our world a better place and they are driven to make an impact on society.

Hearing the “R” word thrown around breaks my heart, and knowing that so many people have become numb to the hurtful and degrading impact that it has is unacceptable. With the exception of one of my sorority sisters who inspired me to write this article, I have found that very few people even acknowledge the word's inappropriate usage. My mother has always taught me that people don’t choose to be that way, and that they have their own struggles every day without the judgement of others. It is our job to be kind and tolerant. Who are we to put down people who had no choice in the life they were given?

If you use the “R” word, however, you chose to be an asshole, so I use the “A” word.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Rudloff

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16 Things You Know To Be True If Your Name Is Emily

*Immediately sends to five other friends named Emily*
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Emily. The name of legends, great poets and just overall fabulous people. Emily has been ranked among one of the most popular girl's names for literally decades, so it's no secret that people named Emily definitely have a few things to bond over.

1. You have very specific preferences on being called Em, Emmy or Emmers.

And most likely only ~sOmE~ people are given this privilege.

2. Every time you meet someone named Emily you instantly bond.

OMG, our parents were some of the most unoriginal people ever! Besties!

3. But secretly, you like to think of yourself as the better Emily.

Sorry not sorry.

4. Your middle name is probably Ann, Elizabeth or Marie.

Because your name is as basic as it gets.

5. You take great pride in knowing that you were the inspiration for names like Emma, Emmy and Emmaline.

And maybe you're a little jealous that your parents didn't at least try to do something a little more unique.

6. Whether it's work or school you always have to share your name with someone.

So you're probably used to attaching the first letter of your last name or broin' out and using your last name like some sort of athlete.

7. On the flip side, you were ~aLwAyS~ able to find your name on keychains growing up.


8. And unless your barista is feeling extra grouchy, it's impossible to get your name wrong on your Starbucks cup.

Unless you're one of those Emily's that spells it like Emmaleigh... *judging you*

9. Because at least you have a name no one has to ask how to spell.

Unless, well, see above.

10. You have spent hours perfecting the ideal "E" for your signature.

Do you make a backwards "3" or do you do a loopy lowercase "e?" The choice is yours.

11. And you definitely went through a phase where you dotted the "i" in hearts.

Because you just wanted to go for that extra ~GiRlY~ effect.

12. Your friends know better than to call your name in a public place.

Unless they want at least three people turning around.

13. Someone has texted you thinking they're talking to a different Emily.

Nope, nope. I'm this Emily.

14. You can appreciate that when you write the word Emily it's perfectly even on both sides.

15. And contains the perfect amount of loops.

16. Because while it might be super common, it's popular for a reason

Cover Image Credit: M Star News

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Women, Stop Apologizing When You've Done Nothing Wrong, You're Only Acting Human

Saying you're sorry too much can affect how you see yourself and your actions.

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Throughout the journey of life, there are behaviors that we pick up due to social norms. We may not realize that we unconsciously do this behavior until we become older or more self-aware. One of the behaviors that I think is so predominant is the action of women making themselves small for others or apologizing so much in situations where it is not necessary. I myself apologize for things at least 10 times a day, whether it is when someone bumps into me or when I'm not confident in my opinion.

I have learned to stop doing it when guys ask me out, and I now say "thanks for asking" or a phrase that gives rather than receives such as "thank you for giving me the time." I consciously avoid saying sorry. It's not the biggest issue, but it is something to be aware of and it affects how others view you. It can make you feel invalidated in that situation or delay what you really mean.

I've had conversations with all different types of women that have insight on how this behavior affects them. They all agree that it's still a battle for them to stop apologizing and that it stems from not being confident enough or trying too hard to not hurt other people's feelings. Some claimed they would even apologize when they didn't want to do something or were feeling ill, but their health should be a priority over the desires of other people. Being submissive can feel easier because there are no immediate consequences. If women are tough or stand up for something they can come across as harsh, so we use "sorry" to cushion the blow and make our words a little less abrasive. However, when men are assertive, they are respected and taken seriously.

When women apologize too much, they start making themselves and their actions small. And as complex, hardworking women, they shouldn't be sorry about things they can't control. I don't think women realize it much until they become self-reflective or someone else points it out.

One woman I talked to said, "I never realized how apologetic I was until I had someone point out to me saying, 'You apologize a lot for being human.'"

It can make it harder for you to grow as a woman if you're worried about other people constantly. It can hinder your confidence because you're always thinking you're in the wrong.

Realizing that not everything requires an apology is the first step to amending this behavior. It's something that most women have grown to use constantly growing up. I think it stems even from childhood when girls are more open to their insecurities. Instead, we can re-word what we say to take it from apologizing to gratitude. You can say "thank you for giving you your time" or "I appreciate this conversation, it can help our relationship."

This creates a healthy way of expressing emotions without belittling yourself and makes a way for a logical discussion of what you want and deserve. If you are conscious in your choices and living authentically, then there is no need to apologize.

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