The R-Word Is Not A Word You Should Be Using

The R-Word Is Not A Word You Should Be Using

Spread the word to end the word.

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I'm having a conversation with a group of friends and it's going well as conversations with friends should go. Out of the blue, one person says something along the lines like, "Yeah, I looked retarded."

Excuse me, what?

Out of all of the adjectives in the world, you pick that one?

Allow me to elaborate. The R-word is not a word you should be using in an everyday context. You shouldn't call someone that and you should never describe someone or something as the R-word. Why? Because it's an offensive, derogatory term to humans with special needs. Basically, you are degrading others and their abilities by saying the R-word as well as not being accepting or inclusive. It's crude and needs to be eliminated from everyday speech.

Now don't get me wrong. This hasn't always been the case with the R-word; This word was socially acceptable at one point (back in like, the 17th century). In fact, the word comes from the Latin verb "retardare" which means "to hinder" or, "to make slow." We see it pop up in older literature and conversation but around the 20th century, it became a word that describes people living with mental disabilities and quickly became associated with other terms such as "moron," "idiot," and "imbecile."

In fact, on October 5, 2010, President Obama signed S. 2781 (known as Rosa's Law for the young girl who worked to get it signed) into law. This bill replaced the term "mental retardation" with "mental disability" as well as the phrase "mentally retarded individual" with "an individual with an intellectual disability." Now, the former terms and phrases no longer exist in federal health, education or labor policies. The overall goal for this law was and is to eliminate this harmful language permanently to prevent hurting and offending the vast number of people and families that have a loved one who may live with intellectual disabilities.

This concludes the history lesson portion of the article. For these reasons, the R-word has become a degrading word with negative context and we as a society should realize that, find a dictionary, and pick another adjective to describe how you look.

Still don't get it? Still think that it's socially acceptable even after my history lesson?

A former teacher of mine once used the following as examples to prove this exact point that I'm trying to make and as much as I hate typing them out, it hits hard and it will shut down any person that tries to argue that the R-word is fine to use. To sum up the examples in the softest way possible, it's basically the equivalent of calling an LGBTQ+ person a "fag" or an African American the n-word. You don't. Because all of that is WRONG and DEGRADING and you have no right to be using terms such as those. Does it make sense now? Yes? Good.

If you're interested in finding out more about ways to stop the use of this word, I recommend checking out https://www.r-word.org this organization raises awareness about the negative context of the R-word and encourages people to pledge to "spread the word to end the word." You can check out personal stories and find out when events that promote the organization are taking place.

The world isn't that big but our vocabulary is. If you use the R-word, chances are you'll seriously offend someone. Instead, please find another adjective. It's not that difficult. By doing so, you'll be helping to end the use of the R-word permanently.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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Hi. I'm the girl who has seizures.

That's probably a weird way to start an article, but a lot of the time that is what people see first. They see me as the one who has seizures. For a while, it was like it was my name. Sure, I had other identities, too. This one, however, stood out the most. I couldn't go a day without hearing the words- "Let's not have a seizure, ok." Or "Are you OK?" It truly sucked.

I didn't want to be the girl who was known for her seizures, but I was. I wanted people to see me first. Well, it has been almost three and a half years since my last seizure, and to put it simply- I'm terrified. I had my second seizure three years after my surgery. That's not necessarily what I'm terrified of, though.

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I'm terrified of being at concerts with strobe lights and blaring music. To the average person, that might sound dumb, but for me, it's a reality. I have to be so careful when it comes to flashing or bright lights. It can set a seizure off.

I'm terrified of insane time changes. For instance, I went into a 12-hour time difference, and while that's easy to deal with when it comes to switching your dosages, it's still scary.

I'm terrified of waking up one day to find out I had a seizure while I was sleeping, and now I'm completely confused by everything. That might not make sense, but you can't necessarily tell if you're having a seizure if you're sleeping. That is the scary part. Think about it. It is scary enough having a seizure while you are conscious, now imagine having one you don't even know happened. Scary, right?

Seizures are definitely terrifying, and the thought of having one at any time is even scarier. It's even scarier risking the life of someone else solely because you want to do something you are not supposed to. I want to drive, but due to my seizures - I shouldn't. I think about driving frequently, but it isn't worth the life of someone else.

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I'm the girl who has seizures, but I'm not giving up.

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