Friday, August 19, 2011

the word i hate

As some of you may or may not know there is a uproar right now in the special needs community. In the Down syndrome community to be exact.
As some of you may or may not know there is a new movie out with Justin Bateman and Ryan Reynolds called The Change Up.
As some of you may or may not know this movie has brought the word "retarded" and the word "downsy" into the spotlight.... again...
I couldn't decide if I wanted to write about his or not. I think as Ola's parent I should. I think some people think that I have to. I don't have to and truthfully I didn't really want to. I have written a little bit before about how I feel about the word retarded. I can't find it right now, but I know I did. It's a hard subject and it evokes a lot of negative feelings and reactions in a lot of people.
I don't like it.
I don't like it, and I am embarrassed that it used to be a "go to" word in my highschool vocabulary. I said it numerous times a day. It went something like this.
"Oh my gawd that is so re-tart-ted!"
"Oh my gawd he is so re-tart-ted!"

Looking back on it, I am embarrassed. Embarrassed that I said it that much and that I have an aunt with special needs that it probably hurt.
What makes me even more embarrassed is that I said it a few weeks ago. I did. It was bad, and I think I actually slapped my hand across my mouth. I looked at Poppy she didn't notice. I looked at Ola and she smiled at me.

You might be wondering where this is going. I'll tell you.
Initially when I saw this outrage playing out in front of me on facebook and in blogs I just shook my head and agreed with most of what people were saying. It is ignorant, it is upsetting, it is awful. I got a little fired up and posted a comment on The Change Up's facebook page under one of their posts because the were not enabling comments on their wall. I tried not to be too dramatic. No one likes a drama queen! I just stated that I would not be seeing the movie because how would I explain to my daughter that I was laughing at a movie that was laughing at her. No biggie, I won't see the movie. I probably wouldn't have anyways. 
I started thinking about it more over the last couple of days (I am a little behind on my ranting.) How do parents like me deal with things like this? Do I freak out too? Do I write a nasty email to the production company? 
No I don't. I will tell you why.
Sometimes Mark comes up with these little gems of knowledge. I hate it when he is right, but sometimes he is and I can't help but feel the same way.
taken from Pinterest

He pretty much told me this the first time I asked him about he felt about the word retarded. The subject came up because the first time I heard someone close to me say the word I think I actually physically cringed. I figured no one in their right mind would ever dare say the word in front of me after Ola was born, but they did. A few people did actually. A few times. In my mind I have justified the fact that they have used this word without thinking, and without any hurt towards Ola in their mind. I honestly don't think that anyone around Ola thinks of her as being different and they wouldn't say it purposely to hurt us.
It has been 16 months and honestly the word still stings, but I know that I cannot say anything that will take this word out of people's vocabulary if it still came up in my own.
I cannot smack every dimwitted idiot on the planet that uses the word in a derogatory manner up the side of the head, I don't have that much free time :)
And... the worst part abut this whole thing is. How can I expect the idiots in the world to stop using the word retarded if the medical professionals that care for Ola are using it themselves to describe her?
“They” say that it isn’t easy to change terms in the medical field however in response to this I say “really? that’s funny because not so long ago people with Down syndrome would have been called mongoloid.  Where did that word go?” Thank god it’s gone, I think that one is worse than retarded. The other thing, the people that are using the word retarded as an everyday word aren't talking about Ola directly, but you know who is? The doctor that has to fill out a form saying that Ola is retarded specifically. It's a little ass backwards if you ask me. So if the medical profession won't change for our children how can we expect the general public to?
When I spoke to my Mom on the subject before writing this, she agreed that you can’t do anything really except voice how you feel about the word, and then reminded me that I have the best ammunition behind me. A three year old that speaks her mind and will tell you exactly whats up. 
So you better watch out retarded word users, she’s coming for you, and quite honestly I think that coming form her it will pack a little more punch!

watch out! she's comin' for ya!
* a few notes
1. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and than sat on it deciding if I really wanted to publish it.
2. Please don't hate on me for saying the word, it wasn't in a malicious way, and it was by accident.
3. This is just my humble opinion.
4. I hope that using retarded over and over doesn't offend, I just don't see the point in saying the "r word"
5. I have no idea why this post isn't in the right font!


Christina said...

Very well said! I love the pick of Poppy at the end!

Laura said...

So well said, Mama! I feel so much the same way. It hurts my heart when I hear it slip out of people's mouths, and am equally shocked at my old behavior and at the number of times people still use it around me.

Ugh. Still. Love your take on it. Maybe I'll write about it (or something!) one of these days!

Miss you and your sweet girly girls.

Eva said...

ya, we need to stop popularizing these terms by putting them in dumb movies. i'd never even heart the term "downsy" before!