End the R-word

Speech is a blessing. It’s quite beautiful, the ability to put together some noises and communicate our deepest feelings or tell our best stories to each other.

Use your mouth to do good in this world, not to hurt people.

Please stop using the R-Word.

This week, I made a commitment through “Spread the Word to End the Word,” stating that, “I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the R-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”

I then was reminded to turn my commitment into action, so now I’m passing it on.

Stop using the R-word as both an adjective and a noun.

You sound ignorant, unintelligent and cruel.

Quite frankly, you’re insulting people around the world, including my dear uncle and cousin.

I think you should never use any hurtful term to describe anyone, but I’ll focus solely on this word for now.

(If I try to fight too many battles and attempt to remove every bad word from your vocabulary, I’ll get really overwhelmed and probably start sweating). One thing at a time.

Instead of using the R-word, stop yourself and choose another word. Clean up your vocabulary and be considerate.

If you slip, I will ask you to politely stop using that word.

Whenever my mom heard me using language that I shouldn’t, she’d say “Cut the mouth.”

Lacking maturity and intelligence at the time, I’d answer “Wouldn’t that hurt?”

My mom would follow up my sass by informing me that contrary to what I believed, I wasn’t Raven Simone, and I should prepare for a week of being grounded.

Mind you, this was at the pre-braces time for me, but it was still early enough for me to still learn how and how not to speak.

I’d spend a week grounded in my room, listening to my Spongebob Squarepants boombox and eating the snacks I had hidden behind it. I’d also sit alone in that pink room thinking about the language that landed me in there.

You may be currently a lot older than I was back then, and I probably don’t have the power to ground you, but I can still try to inspire you.

Next time you let yourself use the R-word, think of the people you’re hurting.

Picture the Special Olympics basketball player who my sister Meghan met last week at a Special Olympics basketball game.

He told her, “I have Autism and I know what it’s like to be called a retard. I took the pledge and I’ll go tell all of my friends.”

Please also think of my uncle, an avid Buffalo sports fan who loves a good car ride and anything edible.

Or consider my cousin, who is a Special Olympics athlete, proud shotgun rider in a red Kia Sedona LX, the color green fanatic and probably knows your technology better than you do.

Put a face to that hurtful word. Stop using it, or I’ll stop you with the best reprimanding motherly voice I can imitate: “Cut the mouth.”


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Twitter: @LiveWithColly