Careless Words

by | Sep 9, 2009 | Parenting/Family | 12 comments

“What a retard.”

“That was retarded.”

Careless Words

When you read those statements, what did you feel? I wrote them with no context. Did you feel anything?

Did it bother you at all?

It bothers me.

When I hear people use “retarded” flippantly (as opposed to using it in it’s proper context), I feel my insides coil back. I almost feel like putting up a defensive hand move. Maybe plug my ears or wince? Last week I was speaking with an acquaintance who threw out that second phrase, and I felt like I was in high school. I broke a bit of a sweat. I wanted to tell that person not to say that, but I didn’t want to look dumb. I don’t tell other adults not to curse in front of me. But this was different.

It is far worse than cursing.

And I never said anything. I let it pass.

My internal “jerk” has only grown in recent weeks since having the opportunity to listen to Tanis Miller of Attack of the Redneck Mommy read the post that she wrote about this very issue at the BlogHer ’09 Community Keynote. She is the mother of a child with disabilities… She has also lost a child who was disabled. Unlike me, she does not let those interactions “pass”.

I am thankful someone captured her reading. I was deeply moved, and impassioned. I want to share that video with you. It gives perspective… is heart-breaking… and enlightening. There is nothing like the heart of a mother as she “goes to the mat” for her child. The video follows, but you can lay your eyes on each word of her post here.

Sticks and stones

May break my bones

But names will never hurt me.

It is not true. 100% not true. 


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