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R Word

On Veteran's Day, the boys had the day off so we went to the park. There were only a few other kids there with us. While running and climbing on the playground equipment, the other kids got into a name calling contest that involved only one word - "Retard."

I do remember using that word as a kid - I flung it around with words like stupid, idiot, dummy. By the time I was in college, I had more sophisticated shorter words to use, so the "R word" left my vocabulary.

At the park, I thought for a second about saying something to these kids. But what would I say? They saw me with Ben and I don't think they were connecting the use of their word with him. It was something they heard somewhere and were trying it out on each other. I chose not to say anything, but it did awake in me the need for more information about the debate going on about the words, Retard and Retarded.

Although I am aware of the  R-Word campaign, I was unsure of its focus. Is it about the use of the words as a slang derogatory insult? Or is it the use of the words as a label or diagnosis?

After looking over the site, it seems that the goal is to end using words like retard and retarded as a way to insult someone or something. The site's supporters are passionate about what they are trying to do. If they are able to raise awareness about mental retardation and get people to stop using the words in a derogatory way, then I support them.

The first time Logan and Sean use those words, because I know they will, I will talk to them about the meaning of the word and how people use it in a mean way. But I will have to do that for a lot of words, because unfortunately, there are so many ways to be mean to someone.


  1. Our kids will be the biggest advocates of this word, too. My oldest daughter gets very upset when she hears this word, which is a lot in Jr. High and High School. She tries to correct people and gets very upset when she hears it. I tell her she can't fight every battle and stop every person from saying it. Focus on her friends, and if they refuse to stop saying it or say it in spite of her, then move on. This is not a battle we will win over night. We may not be able to prevent everyone from saying this word, but we can choose to limit how it is used in our presence.


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