Why I Spread the Word to End the Word

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

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Spread the Word to End the Word

Spread the Word to End the Word is an on-going effort to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word. The campaign is intended to get schools, communities and organizations to rally and pledge their support to help create communities of inclusion and acceptance for all people.

me and c

A thought as Spread the Word to End the Word Day comes to a close.

The person with me in the pciture above is my youngest son. He has Down syndrome. He is not Down syndrome and Down syndrome does not define him.

Misusing and abusing the r-word is just unacceptable in any situation. When you say the word “retarded” in a casual mean way you are belittling my son. My son is an amazing person worthy of compassion, kindness and respect. I will always advocate for him when the situation warrants, same as I would for my older son.

It doesn’t matter who you are, using the r-word in an inappropriate and demeaning fashion is wrong and unacceptable. I’ve got someone related by blood that after all these years still refuses to stop using the word. I’ve got someone related by blood that purposely avoided contact with my child and left him feeling left out and heartbroken. Shame on them. My oldest asked me to watch a Tom Segura comedy special tonight. As much as I would have really truly loved to watch tv with my son, I declined his offer because I refuse to watch that special because that man deliberately picks on people with Down syndrome. I advocate not just because I love, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Please people. Evaluate your language. Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. If you use the #rword please take the pledge now at www.r-word.org. If you are decent enough to not use the word, please help spread the message. We must keep pushing to educate others to #respect. If you hear it, say something. One person can make a difference.


pat.navymom March 8, 2018 - 11:21 am

All wording should be considered always. Even innocent words can hide far worse connotations

Danielle Smith March 8, 2018 - 4:23 pm

I have always disliked the word “retarded”. I realize in the past it was commonly used. That doesn’t make it right. I fully support this initiative to stop using the word.

Audrey March 8, 2018 - 4:28 pm

I cannot stand the “R” word! It is totally disrespectful. I think this cause is a great thing to rid our communities of using the word.

Melissa Chapman March 8, 2018 - 4:32 pm

I am truly sorry that you have to in this day and age ask not to use the r word which archaic and frankly rude. I see the true love you have for your son and want him to be respected and appreciated.

Stacie March 8, 2018 - 5:15 pm

This is such an important campaign. I routinely hear that world among young kids to be used as a slur or a joke. I sat my kids down and explained exactly why that shouldn’t be something that they say. They had never thought about the fact that using that word as a joke was also putting another group of people down.

Emily March 8, 2018 - 7:01 pm

I think it is great to raise awareness like this but I admit I am frustrated that there even needs to be a movement for this, using that word is so disrespectful. Common decency for people and acceptance should not be something we have to fight for. I am raising my kids to be aware of the differences in people, recognizing them, accepting them for who they are and supporting. Mutual respect for people is a must for myself and my kids.

Brianne March 8, 2018 - 10:03 pm

Thank you so much for raising awareness about this! The “R” word is absolutely horrible and I despise it. I have seen a decline in it over the years, but I still hear people say it sometimes and I cringe!

Adriana Lopez March 9, 2018 - 1:27 am

That word I have never used. In my family we have special kids so I can understand this very well. Words definitely can be hurtful.

Toni | Boulder Locavore March 9, 2018 - 2:33 am

This is such a great campaign. It’s really important that we thoroughly think of the words we are using every time.

Ashley March 9, 2018 - 4:43 am

What a great campaign to raise awareness about! I’ve always taught my family to never use that word, not even joking around.

Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place March 9, 2018 - 7:20 am

We have to be more sensitive and aware. I think it’s about time we stopped this misuse of words that affect people with down syndrome. I’m glad you’re spreading the word and you’re raising awareness. This kind of attitude has to stop.

Marysa March 9, 2018 - 7:46 am

It is unreal to me that people still use that word. I heard it the other day from a mom, and I was shocked. It’s not even in my vocabulary and people need to realize how damaging words can be. What a great campaign!

Rebecca Bryant March 9, 2018 - 9:14 am

What a wonderful campaign to raise awareness about! I’ve always taught my son to never use that word, not even joking around.

Amy March 9, 2018 - 4:33 pm

I think it is terrible that people still use hateful words. At the end of the day, they must be so unhappy with themselves to cast their ignorance on others.

Helena March 10, 2018 - 12:22 am

What is really sad is that students who are in Special Education rooms call each other the R word, as the ultimate insult. We try so hard to help them understand how wrong that is, but they persist.

Leticia Barr March 21, 2018 - 10:39 pm

Thank you for your post on this really important day to remind all of us that language matters and the words we use are the ones our kids hear and we want to raise them to be respectful to others. Much love to you today and always! 🙂


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