08 March, 2009

Join me, please?

There have been a number of things going on in our lives and with Samuel. Today he was the Mayor of Munchkin-land and the Witches Soldier in the Angels on Stage presentation of The Wizard Of Oz. It was great fun for him and was very cool that he and his peers had a safe, fun place to be together and express themselves in a creative and artistic way.

Also, education is on my mind and I'll take this up at another time. Suffice it to say that with the budget issues in California and the global economic crisis, I fear that Samuel and his peers will be at the short end of the budget stick. More later.

What occupies my thoughts at this time is a social problem I have written about before. I and many others I know who have a family member with disabilities are constantly challenged when we hear someone use the word "retarded" or "retard", as a derogatory term. Merriam Webster on-line defines retard as a transitive verb: to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment : impede.

The issue is that this word is not used in conversation in this manner. I hear it in the work place and in open social situations; particularly at schools or where lots of young people hang out. The word is used as an insult, "he tripped! HA HA, what a retard!" or, "that's retarded" to describe something that doesn't make sense.

I get that use of the word to mean to slow things down as in, "we should retard progress while budget is problematic" is accurate and logical. Unfortunately, this word has just become a low-hanging-fruit insult. This comment hurts the population at large that has disabilities, the families of this population, and our society in general. I believe that it makes us less than who we are and who we can and should be.

There is an organized effort to "Spread the word to end the R-word day":

Please spread this video, this blog post, links to the Special Olympics site to End the r-word, or whatever you can do so that we can hopefully get this word out of our lexicon.

Join me, will you please?