I’ve been an avid follower and proponent of the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign to end the use of the word “retard.”
But I’ve been thinking lately that maybe we’re on the wrong track here. Maybe campaigning to end the use of the R-Word is nothing more than putting a Band-Aid on a cancer.
We used to describe people with mental illnesses as being crazy. And then suddenly the term “crazy” became a derogatory one.
At one time the term mentally retarded was nothing more than a medical term like ALS or Multiple Sclerosis. Now we’re being told that we need to use terms like “intellectually disabled” or “cognitively impaired.” There’s even a lot of confusion and disagreement about which of those terms is the best.
But here’s the truth…
The term isn’t the problem.
The problem is the way our society views those who are different. For example, if you’re a geek in a school were jocks are cool, or perhaps a jock in a school where geeks are cool, then you are seen as being different in a bad way.
I think the important thing to keep in mind here is that everyone is different and that’s what makes our world so wonder-ful.
And that’s the word we should be spreading.
Eventually we will let eliminate the use of the R-Word but what word will we need to eliminate next?