I’m not going to ask you to sign anything (but you totally can sign the pledge it you want to!).
I am going to ask you to think about how the “R word” hurts people like Owen and all those who love him. I’d like to let you know that when I hear someone say, “Oh that’s so retarded”, I feel it in my stomach. It knocks the wind out of me. Sometimes I want to yell at them, but I usually don’t. Sometimes I want to cry, and sometimes I do. Always, I worry about the day when someone calls Owen retarded to his face.
I want you to know, if you have said things like this in the past, you are not a bad person. I used to say it to, I didn’t know any better. The important thing isn’t what you have said when you didn’t know. What really matters is what you do next. I hope you choose to end the word for kids like Owen, and for moms like me.
I have gotten into long conversations with friends and family about why the r word isn’t actually offensive and that I should just be less sensitive. All I have to say is that you don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. You do get to decide what you do with that information.
This year instead of writing a long post about why you should think about removing the r word from your vocabulary, I thought I’d keep it short. Instead we created a short video featuring some of our special needs friends and their family members suggesting words you can say instead of retarded. Feel free to use any of these words instead.
P.S. In case you missed it February 28th was Rare Disease Day! My Facebook feed was filled with photos of some of my favorite kiddos and their parents talking about what makes their rare kid extra special. It was such a great day.