Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stamping out the "R" word

Here's an action post that every single person, no matter their situation, can play a part in. I have seen several other blog posts about this topic recently. Some students in Manilus, New York, decided to take some action. They've put together a web-site (We R above) to champion their cause. The site includes video interviews of students, including two special needs students, explaining why no one should use the "R" word as a derogatory label in bullying, teasing, or even joking with someone. Everyone can take the following steps:
  • Take a pledge to stop using "retard" and other words that are hurtful to individuals with special needs. My personal nemesis is "crazy" it slips out before I can realize how it might sound to a person struggling with a mental illness.
  • If you slip up, apologize, and start over.
  • If you hear another person using derogatory labels, call them on it (politely) and explain how damaging this kind of language can be. Tell them about We R Above if you're not sure how to put it into words yourself.
  • If you use social media like Facebook or Twitter, spread the word around.

I realize that any label can be turned into a verbal slap. I've seen people using the usally PC "special needs" inappropriately, too. We need to guard our tongues, and our pens (and keyboards) and remember to consider others' needs and feelings above our own.


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