Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The "R" Word

March 2nd was National End The R Word day.  It calls for an end to the word retarded used as slang.  I remember growing up and slinging that word around thoughtlessly.  I cringe at those memories now.

Many twitter folks were tweeting and retweeting about ending the R-Word.  I just kinda passed those by.  I had been uncomfortable playing word police.  I don't know why.  If someone used the "n" word in my presence, I'd have an aneurysm.   Why was the "r" word any different?  Especially now that I'm raising a child with special needs. 

Yesterday a coworker was goofing around with another coworker.  They were, well, to be honest, using the speech patterns you'd typically hear from a deaf person and just laughing and laughing.  The more it went on, the angrier I got.  Don't they realize they are doing this within 20 feet of a parent of a special needs child?

I had been feeling that polital correctness has been way out of hand.  But then I realized what being PC boils down to, not policing what words people use but educating them about the words that hurt.  I need to find a calm way to talk to these people about how their words are hurting me.  However, one person involved is in charge of our IT department.  I have to tread lightly.  He has a child so I hope he'll understand.

Now, can someone please tell me where I left my balls?  The big brass ones?


  1. I'm guessing, if I had to do it, I'd approach it by telling him that I knew he was a nice guy, so I thought he'd want to know that I have a child with special needs, so hearing him laugh about deaf people was a rather sensitive subject for you. That's not confrontational as such, but it's also assertive. He's not the devil, you're not the martyr, and you get your point across. Now, if he's an ass after that, I have a feeling your big brass ones will be ready and willing to kick some other ones. Until then, let 'em chill so they're harder and more dangerous. ;)

  2. I have a couple of casual acquaintances who have used the r word. I admit that I used it when I was very young. I read this post by @redneckmommy http://bit.ly/9rfyPl and -not close in time to the use of the word, I asked them how they felt about the r word. One said that she meant no offense by it and "didn't mean it in a bad way" (yes people think that all the time) so I asked them to go to that site.

    The other guy didn't say much. But this girl came back and said how much she felt like an a-hole and would never use it again and she posted this link to her fb page. It's a great and powerful story and it gives the brass balls you're talking about.

    I'd use it. (And, FYI, if someone is doing this in the workplace, you should report it to Human Resources should you not be able to resolve it on your own, in writing. That will protect your job and cause them to undertake an investigation and possibly spread the word that way!

    Thanks for your well wishes, Julie! They mean the world to me!