Spread The Word To End The Word
Sooo . . . I want to talk about a cause that we deeply believe in and that's ending the use of the R-Word. You're probably wondering 'What R-Word are they talking about and why should I stop saying it?'. The word we are talking about is 'retard'.
The use of the word 'retard' or 'retarded' is extremely hurtful and painful whether it was intended or not. It's also a form of bullying. Most people don’t think of it as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as their loved ones. Using the R-Word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur. By eliminating the use of this word, we are taking a step toward respect.
While the intellectually disabled make up a 'small' percentage of the population, it should not be overlooked. Around 3% of the world’s population have intellectual disabilities - that’s around 222 million people around the world. And the beliefs and attitudes toward this group have improved drastically over the years but still has a long way to go.
"Special Olympics’ Multi-National Public Opinion Study of Attitudes toward People with Intellectual Disabilities, conducted by Gallup, reveals that throughout the world, over 60 percent of people still believe that people with intellectual disabilities should be segregated in schools and in the workplace. This is intolerable. We need massive attitude change now to attack and reverse the stigma that is destructive to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and a barrier to growth."
"In Maria Shriver’s recent national report, titled The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century, findings reveal that although young Americans have more progressive attitudes toward and expectations for people with intellectual disabilities, young Americans, especially men, find using the word ‘retard’ acceptable for many when used to tease friends or oneself, not in reference to people with a clear intellectual disability."
Which brings up a good point. You've most likely heard this word as a joke to call someone a 'retard' when they've done something foolish. The derogatory and ever increasing use of the R-word in today’s society further perpetuates the stigma and negative stereotypes that face people with intellectual disabilities.
I don't mean to focus on all the negatives here but wanted to make sure you have some background on the issue. So let's get to the good stuff . . . that action taking portion, because I know you're just dying to know how you can help!
Every year at the beginning of March, the Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and over 200 other organizations host a 'Spread The Word To End The Word' observance campaign for awareness. This year, it's March 1 and we'd like you to join. It's an incredible day of awareness across the nation of people supporting the cause and spreading the word to end the R-Word. The official day is March 1 but the awareness and pledges to end the R-Word apply 24/7 365, so yes, if you're reading this and it's October 12 it's still applicable to make a difference!
So . . . want to make a difference? Great! Here's what you can do:
1. Take the pledge with 664,000+ others to stop using the R-Word.
2. Share this post and message via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, and more. Basically, everywhere. Share it everywhere yo! :)
3. When you hear the R-Word, stop it in it's tracks. Telling someone not to use the R-Word can be a little uncomfortable. Luckily, the 'Spread The Word To End The Word' campaign has some amazing articles on exactly how to do this. (How To Walk Away And Still Do Good + How To Discuss The R-Word With Family And Friends)
5. Contact your state government to see if they've changed the wording in their laws. (Fun fact: In 2011, I (Taylor) got the wording changed in the Nebraska state laws.)
I hope this post inspires you to use your voice and take action in this matter.