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Spread the Word to END the Word!

by McKenna on March 31, 2009
category: Down syndrome,In the news,Inspiration,Special needs

r-word-graphic.jpg 3.31.09. Today is the first ever “Spread the Word to End the Word!” I am excited to celebrate this awesome day with all of The Mom Crowd readers! As you know, the word “retard” is abused and misused by so many people. Most people use the r-word as slang or tongue in cheek, however, it is disparaging and hurtful to the millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their friends, and their families.

Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign created by young people with and without intellectual disabilities to create a societal taboo on the r-word. The Special Olympics and John C. McGinley (Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs) are endorsing and publicly representing this campaign. Rallies are being held in work places, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and colleges around the world. The state of Delaware will be asking all 40,000 high school students to pledge to not use the r-word in their vocabulary.

I challenge you to not just roll your eyes thinking this is yet another political correctness movement. I challenge you to hear the words of those with intellectual disabilities, their friends and their families. I challenge you to remove the word from your language that destroys the dignity of so many individuals in our world. I challenge you to “Spread the Word to END the Word” today and tomorrow and the days to come!!!

Any mother would be proud to be Soeren Palumbo’s mom! This kid has defined why the r-word is so offensive. I hope you will watch this high school student’s amazing speech!

I will close this with a personal message from Dr. Cox err…John C. McGinley:

Hi, I’m John C. McGinley. I’m an ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society, and today I’m teaming up with Special Olympics to bring you a message that’s important to me. So many times in life you are asked to change… Change your clothes. Change lanes. Change jobs. Change the sheets. Change flights. Change your tune. Change horses midstream. Change your latitudes and your attitudes! Change, and the ability to adapt, is to the human condition as air is to the lungs. We change, and in the doing, we thrive! In fact, we just elected a president who promised, above all else, to “change.” What if, on March 31, you elected to change the way you use the words “retard” and “retarded”? Hardly seems like the largest of sacrifices. Not when you consider the changes in language that you have, so willingly, already elected to integrate into your vernacular. You no longer use the words nigger, or kike, or faggot, or jap, or kraut, or mick, or wop. Why would you? Why on earth would you? Those are all words that hurt. Those are all racial and ethnic slurs and epithets that perpetuate negative stigmas. They are painful! And that is not okay. It is wrong to pain people with your language. Especially, when you have already been made aware of your oral transgression’s impact. Make no mistake about it: WORDS DO HURT! And when you pepper your speak with “retard” and “retarded,” you are spreading hurt. So stop it. Stop saying “retard” and “retarded.” Those words suck! You are better than that and you definitely do not need to be “that guy.” There is no longer any acceptable occasion to lace your dialogue with the words “retard” and “retarded.” Without fail, those words are the stuff of hurt. They, straight up, are. So, stop it! Stop using the “R-word.” The 7 million people with intellectual disabilities (around the planet) who are on the receiving end of this hate speak are genetically designed to love unconditionally. These “retards” are NEVER going to return your vitriol. Ever! So what could possibly be the up-side of continuing to use the “R-word” in your daily discourse? We love you. We do! And, just in case you missed it and you need an extra hug? We love you! You do not need to love us in any kind of reciprocal fashion. You don’t. (It’s not that kind of bargain.) But, how about on March 31, you elect to change? A word? Two stinkin’ syllables? On March 31, join us and “Spread the Word to End the Word.” And the word is “retard!” It HURTS! So help us to cut it out. Thank you! We do love you! John C. McGinley

3 Responses to Spread the Word to END the Word!

  • Gravatar March 31, 2009 @ 8:41 am

    That is a powerful speech. I will be spreading the word to end the word now.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Vanessa
    March 31, 2009 @ 8:49 am


  • Gravatar
    Comment by Colleen
    April 1, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

    Thanks for posting this, McKenna.

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