I recently came across this Facebook event, titled “Spread the Word to End the Word,” and decided to do exactly that: spread the word.
Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign all over the world meant to eliminate the wrong and offensive use of the word “retard” or “retarded” so often utilized when we find something annoying, frustrating, outrageous, backward or stupid. The r-word has behind it a long history of medicalization of people with developmental/intellectual disabilities, “retard” being for a long time (and even still) a medical term for people with developmental/intellectual disabilities. It is a hateful word used out of ignorance to hurt and disenfranchise people with disabilities. A lot of people claim that when they say “that’s retarded” they are not actually referring to people with disabilities. However, the use of this word even when we’re referring to too much homework or a test we just failed, only reinforces the stereotypes associated with people with developmental/intellectual disabilities as being less valued members of our communities who have very little to contribute to society, and who are thus, disposable. You never know who around you has a relative, family member or friend with a disability, who may be hurt by this offensive word.
So please join the movement on Wednesday March 2, 2011 on Facebook and/or take the pledge here, and Spread the Word to End the Word.