Several weeks ago, a facebook quiz popped up into my feed. One of my friends had taken a quiz called, "How Retarded Are You?" I hid that particular quiz from my feed and zapped an impulsive message to my friend, explaining the inappropriateness of it.
Imagine my embarrassment to overhear my own child using the word among friends a couple of weekends ago. I came down on him hard, right then. Maybe too hard. (What was he thinking? I still don't know. And why didn't the peers stop him?)
This morning, my child reports to me that last night, after his twin sister came to the back of the dugout briefly to congratulate him for a great hit and a scored run, one of the players in the dugout asked my son which of his sisters did he think is more retarded.
These recent events have sparked some interesting discussion that continued this morning. My husband tried to explain that the boy last night may not have understood that we are more sensitive to the word than other families. My husband, in that moment, missed the point. (In all fairness to him, he and our son were trying to get out the door to another tournament game and were in a hurry. I hope they talked about it on their ride to the game.)
There is a mindset that people think it's okay to say the word retarded as long as you look around and make sure there's no one that might be offended. That's simply a wrong attitude.
The "R" word is like the "N" word. Inappropriate in any circumstance.
We're having more chats about it at our house. (Even families w/ members w/ disabilities deal with it.)
Here are a couple of web sites that offer more insight:
And a blog entry of mine:
Talk to your kids. Tell them to remove the "r" word from their vocabulary. Teach them to stand up to others who do, explaining the inappropriateness of the word.