Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Guess I Just Don't Get It

Lately, there has been a lot of hype over the use of the word 'retard', and I guess either I just don't get what all the fuss is over or my child is not old enough yet for it to affect me. Either way, it seems to me that we sometimes create issues for ourselves that doesn't need to be which I have been guilty many times. It does seem that the stronger we feel about a certain issue, the more we are easily offended by people who abuse the subject whether it be mental or physical retardation, social issues, or politics.

People have been misusing words for years now. This is partly because of ignorance and partly to aggravate and get a rise out of people. I have been a party to this in my past as I am sure most people have at one point in life. And to be honest, my motive was to get a rise out of people, for shock value, to get attention which is what I usually got.

I realize that this word is highly offensive to parents with children who are indeed delayed (which is what the word really means anyway), but there are also many other words that are just as offensive to other groups of people.

I guess it just depends upon what 'group' you are in that determines which words offend you. Yes, the word 'retard' offends me, just like the word 'goddamn', calling people 'assholes', and using the 'F' word offend me. But the way that I have learned to deal with offensive words over the years is the way that I have dealt with offensive people over the years - 1)politely let them know how their choice of words offends me and to ask them to refrain from use of those words while around me, 2)if the use of words does not stop, then I will usually stop my association with that person. This is the way that I have taught my kids to respond to people who use words in an offensive way and this is how I will teach John to respond.

I have found that the people who really want to be my friend will respond positively to my pointing it out to them while others just couldn't care less. And it is the people who couldn't care less that are in it merely for the shock value so why should I continue to give them ammunition by letting them get to me.

Sure, I would like to live in a world where there is no offensive language used but honestly, there are just some people in this world, and I admit that I am one of them sometimes who do not care or think if we offend people or not with our speech.

Ignorance and insensitivity of people is not worth making me unhappy - there is too much of both in the world for that.


Lovin Mama said...

To be honest, I don't think my husband really gets it either. But, here are my two points.
1.(I'll assume you read my post)My daughter is only nine. She is still trying to figure out who to be friends with and what makes a good friend. She feels that somebody who makes fun of a person that can't control their arms isn't a good choice for a friend.
2. Retard is being used as a hate word. Just like the N word or fag. Asshole and the F word don't single out a specific group of people. "Racism" against people with disabilities needs to stop.
Eliminating the R word is one of the first steps in eliminating the stereotypes against our children.

Tausha said...

I was looking at another families blog who has a little girl with DS and that is how I found your blog. We have something in commone. We both gave birth to a little boy with DS on July 29th 2008. His name is Sam. He also has been very blessed with no heart problems, digestive or hearing issues. I hope you don't mind if I follow your blog, your little John is darling!!!!!!!!!

Jeanette said...

I hate to hear the word myself. It doesn't bug me as much when I hear it being used in flippant passing, but do make a point to gently say that it can be hurtful to hear. I have yet to have anyone get hurt or offended during one of these conversations. It usually ends with, "Oops, I didn;t realize." I used to use it caually as well before I entered the world of DS. It just never occurred to me that it meant anything. Anyway, It does make the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I hear of it being used directly and hatefully. So far that hasn't happenend in my presence, but I am not so sure I will keep my cool if and when it does. Personally I have NO tolerance for bullies of any sort and anyone that would directly use that word to another individual is indeed a bully.