Monday, April 10, 2006

YOU DON'T SAY
Civil Rights has done much to change the way we think of, and refer to, people "of color". The Women's Movement has dramatically changed the roles and perceptions of women. The American's With Disabilities Act has changed how we access our buildings for those in wheel chairs. All fabulous, worthy, necessary improvements for the greater good of everyone.
I say it is now time to re-think our attitudes towards the less able-minded. While no white person would ever use the "n-word", we think nothing of calling each other idiots, stupid or dumb. Those members of society with a less than average intellectual quotient, are fair game for ridicule.
"Sorry I'm being so retarded!" the salesgirl said to me when she had trouble with the cash register.
"Don't be sorry you're having trouble," I responded, "be sorry you said 'retarded'".
Ignorance is one thing. One can be ignorant and choose to overcome that ignorance. Intelligence is something we're born with, and there is often little one can do to change that quotient significantly.
To a mother whose child suffered oxygen deprivation at birth, those harsh terms for her child just add insult to injury.
To a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, the prevalent bantering of intelligence put-downs can be devastating.
It is to negate all that is good in a person of less intelligence, to so negatively dismiss them with cruel references.
If someone acts without much thought, please, I beg of you, refer to that as "silly", "mis-guided", "not well thought out", etc. Please choose your words to say what you mean, and not be mean.

3 comments:

Karen said...

As the mother of a child with Down Syndrome, I have felt the pain of hearing the word "retard" thrown about without consideration for who might be deeply affected by the term.

Thank you, Carrie, for blogging about this subject.

http://karenjgordon.blogspot.com/

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