I’m late with this post. It was supposed to go out on March 5th as part of a campaign to help end hate speech. In French you would say it was en retard meaning late. Somehow this French word has entered the English lexicon and become an insult,a word full of hatred and prejudice-the r word-retard.
Using the r word can be comparable to using the n word. It instantly elevates the user to a perceived higher platform of existence. It says I am better than you and always will be. It seeks to strip power away from its target. It dismisses a group of people in a flash and in doing so dismisses their hopes and dreams by thinking they ll never amount to much.
People with intellectual disabilities have been institutionalised,been torn away from their families,had their human rights trampled upon and experience prejudice very single day. The r word is compliant with this shameful practice. Its usage belongs firmly in the past as a glaring example of how not to be a decent human being.
But, but, it’s just a word!Don’t be so sensitive, some of ye may cry.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” and all that.
Tell that to the people who have been bullied and driven to suicide by unkind words.There, the words have done far worse than break bones,they have broken souls and stolen lives.
And everyday I watch Mini struggle with words-trying to find the right one, trying over and over again to pronounce the right one the right way. They say that 70% of communication is non verbal but try telling that to a toddler desperate for her wants and needs to be met. Pointing and screaming don’t always get the message across. Words do matter.
So today, myself and Mini are asking you to do a few simple things that we firmly believe will help make this world a better place-
3.Check out this site www.r-word.org for more information on action you can take.