Spread the Word to End the Word

Destiny Mattingly

“You’re a retard” or “That’s so retarded” or “don’t be such a retard” are very used statements I hear said around school. When someone uses it that I am talking to I will usually ask them to not use that word or to choose a different word. I usually get many different types of responses. Many people are sorry and say, “Oops. I mean stupid.” Other people have tried to explain that the “r-word” is no longer associated with people with disabilities and it is just another way of saying stupid and so it is okay to use. To me, these responses tell me that there is a larger problem than the use of the r-word. There is a confusion about the meaning of the word and why it is offensive in the first place.

Eddie Barbanell plays the roommate in the 2005 movie “The Ringer” playing as Johnny Knoxville’s roommate. This movie takes place at the special Olympics, Barbell has down syndrome.

“ I feel like people should not be using this word. It’s demeaning, insulting. It’s a discriminatory and derogatory word in schools, in the work force, on streets, on playgrounds. The R-word should not be used in any way, shape or form.” Says Babanell

The word “retard” is a verb which means to hinder or make something slow. “Mental Retardation” was first introduced as a medical term for people with mental disabilities, physical disabilities, and intellectual impairments.

Now we may not all see this as a bad word but consider it from a different point of view. Words matter, people don’t need to bring people down to make a point. Everyone is different. Saying the R-word which means stupid can offend someone in the most derogatory sense. Using these words can put people in pain, it is offensive, incorrect, derogatory, hate speech, exclusive, ignores individuality, so why do we use the word? Now obviously due to our 1st amendment right this word cannot be banned. That would go against our freedom of speech. So, what could we do to stop the spread?

“Spread the Word to End the Word” is on March 3rd, 2021, it is a national awareness day for “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Take the pledge to stop the continuing of this word, and show your support for ending it.