The R-word can now be considered a derogatory word due to the way it is used to characterize a person who may have a mental disability or a person is just calling there friend that word. Using this word can be extremely hurtful to anyone around you. Personally I loath the word and everyone knows it, even my friends.If my friends do say it they apologize, but saying "sorry" just isn't cutting it anymore because the word is terrible, hurtful, rude, and disgusting.
Since I was a little kid in elementary school I always disliked it when someone would you that word because there were kids in my classes that had either an intellectual or developmental disability. Once I got to high school and started the Best Buddies program is when people realized that the word makes me cringe when I see it because I was very involved and plan to keep my involvement going whether it is through a Special Olympics Club or the Best Buddies itself in college.
Now for the reasons to stop saying the "R-word":
1. It is not a medically correct word nor has it ever been used in any medical or legal text.
The word was created out of slang so that people wouldn't have to say mental disability or intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). By never being a medical term, other than the 1800's, there is no right for a person to call another human being the "R-word" because like I said before it is insensitive. In 2010 President Obama helped pass the Rosa's Law to make sure that the word "mental r-----ation" would never be used again in any sort of text or documents, and would be fully replaced by IDD.
2. It's recognized as offensive in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The Merriam- Webster Dictionary hasn't fully removed the word because it was once used in texts during the 1400's and 1800's. However they do have a quick blurb that it is "informal and offensive" when referring to another human being. Any word that was also ever used as a synonym has also been given the "informal and offensive" title because none are used in medical terms and are considered offensive slang terms.
3. What if it is addressing a non-disabled person?
Still DON'T stay it! You can easily pick or find a different word when addressing a friend or an item around you. The whole point of the "Spread the Word to End the Word" was created to stop this behavior of people using the term whenever they would want. They want people to know that there are a lot of other words out there to use instead of using one word that is insensitive and hurtful to a group of people or anyone in general.
So in the end please stop saying the word because it is disrespectful to a large sum of the population all over the world. Try to make it a goal of yours to stop using it in your vocabulary if you do because there are so many other words to use to describe a person with IDD, some examples are beautiful, brave, amazing, cool, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, ect. "Spread the Word to End the Word!"