I have been thinking a lot about the word “retard”. It’s a word that I used all the time to insult, make-fun and when joking around. It’s a word that rolled off my tongue with little effort and little thought. This is the problem, I didn’t think. It took having a special needs child to realize how much damage I caused to the world and to myself by saying retard. I made myself and the world around me less sensitive, less caring, less loving and less accepting. It is shameful that it took Cara for me to realize this. Shameful that we are comfortable making fun of special needs children and the differently-abled. Shameful that we, as a society, are not only comfortable with this but we laugh.
Think of what a retarded person looks like. Picture this person in your mind. Helmet? Involuntary movements? Drool? Speak with a slow muffled voice? Maybe they walk funny? Maybe they laugh funny? Remember how you would imitate a retard as a kid? These images you laugh at are real children. These images you laugh at are children that face challenges that would likely break you. These children conquer these challenges and continue to love life. They don’t judge you for making fun of them.
There are children that struggle to walk and coordinate their movements because the damage in their brain causes abnormal muscle tone. These children fight through hours of therapy a week. You should see them, they look totally retarded.
There are thousands of children and adults on feeding tubes because they aren’t able to or it is dangerous to eat like we do. What a retarded way to eat.
There is a little girl who brought tears to her parents eyes because she said “ma ma” years after the rest of us did. You should hear her though, she sounds so retarded.
There is a boy who is bound to a wheel chair, the simplest things make him laugh and he will need someone to care for him for the rest of his life. He is such a retard.
There is a disease where children have seizure after seizure and the only way to stop them is a medically induced coma. Many of these children die due to these unrelenting seizures. What a retarded way to die.
There are children that will go to school and be called names, have items thrown at them, laughed at and ridiculed not only by the children that attend the school but by parents. Oh my god, they are so retarded.
The way retards talk. The way retards move. The way retards look. The way retards live. It is all so funny isn’t it? The struggles they face and ugliness people throw at them is just hilarious. I mean, look at how they die? Look at how people have to care for them? Look at how much joy in life they have despite how we all make fun of them?
We all pray that our babies wont be born like them. We all pray that our lives wont be plagued with this burden. So, why not make a joke of it? Why not just throw around an offensive term because we don’t mean harm?
Just because we don’t mean it to be hurtful doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Just because we think we can separate our jokes from a real community doesn’t mean you aren’t causing damage. Just because you haven’t called a special needs person a retard doesn’t mean that you aren’t making fun of them. ;What exactly did you mean when you thought you looked “so retarded” in that picture you didn’t like of yourself?
Why do you want to use the word? You don’t know? Why use it? Use another word, or try a compliment.