Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ann Coulter's tweet- a Recap of Nigger, Fag, and Retard

I find it both sad and rather interesting that I published this post just 4 days ago on Sunday, the night before Ann Coulter tweeted the r-word. [in reference to presidential debate: "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard"]  In fact, scroll on down to the bottom of this original post and you will see that I specifically called her out for her insulting use of the r-word in a tweet back in September.  With regards to an apology, I wrote "Ann Coulter. . . I am still waiting.".

It seems that I will forever be waiting because you see, I believe Ann Coulter to no longer be ignorant.  With the first tweet, I figured maybe she didn't know. Maybe she needed education.  However, the amount of backlash and the public outcry from mama & papa bears all around back in late September and early October should have really alerted her to the fact that the word retard is offensive.  It is derogatory.  It is inappropriate.  It is not acceptable. Please pick another word. I have an entire list to choose from below.

Instead, Ann Coulter learned that tweeting the r-word puts her in the spot light.  It brings her attention.  After all, a petulant little child will act out for attention and knows even negative attention is better than being ignored.  

I wasn't going to write about Ann.  In fact, I fully planned to stew privately and ignore her publicly.  Attention is what she wants and attention is what she is getting.  I was not going to contribute to that.  However, I read the most amazing blog post by John Franklin Stephens on the Special Olympian Blog.  A letter that does not get political, that does not attack, but is rather so eloquently written that I truly hope that Ann Coulter takes it to heart.  John Stephens is an advocate who is known for writing articles and open letters with regards to the r-word.  Oh and he happens to have Down syndrome.  I encourage you to read his letter and feel empowered.

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

____________________________________________________________________
Original Post: Nigger Fag & Retard 
October 21, 2012



"You Nigger!"
"That is so gay.  Faggot!"
"You retard.  That is so retarded.  I am so retarded."

What do those three have in common?  They are all derogatory insults.

What is different?  The first two would probably result in you getting beat up. The third, the R-word, is still a socially acceptable put-down in many circles.

Why is there even a difference if they are all slurs?

When did retard become an acceptable substitute for moron, idiotic, stupid, lame, ridiculous, dumb ass?



Back in the 1990's, I used to hurl about the phrase "that is so gay" as in "that is so lame or stupid".  The word gay actually means happy, carefree, or bright/showy and it later evolved to refer to a person who is homosexual.  How did this seemingly innocent word turn into degrading slang for "lame" or "stupid"?  It absolutely makes no sense. Yet in my young mind, I flung that phrase about, blissfully ignorant that I was insulting others. Trying to appear cool.  Not worrying about who I was hurting.

As I started to develop many friendships with those of various sexual orientations, I learned just how demeaning that phrase was.  I became educated about my ignorance rather quickly (and felt extremely horrified).  Guess what?  I erased the phrase "That is so g*y" from my vocabulary and the world did not come crashing down.  My entire means of communication did not come to a stand still.  It truly was not a huge deal for me to eliminate "that is so gay" from my repertoire of phrases.


So why do so many people insist on using the r-word?


I honestly believe that many people just do not know.  How many of you who have children with Down syndrome used to use the r-word?  I know that I was not very cognisant of how degrading the r-word was until after I had Ellie.

On the same token, there are those who do indeed know and they do not care.   Free speech.  Yes, I do understand, but what about changing your ways as a show or respect?  Or show off your amazing vocabulary and substitute a more appropriate word in place of the r-word?


This is my little girl:







She is r*tarded in the medical sense.  It does not mean she is stupid, lame, or dumb.

Retarded means slow or delayed.  Just as a flame is slowed upon spreading across an article of clothing during a fire.  Flame retardant clothing.  My daughter is slower in accomplishing many tasks that may be easier for others such as speaking or grasping abstract concepts.  One day, she will know what "You r*tard!" means.  She will know it is an insult.  She may be hurt by it.  Just because she is delayed does not mean she does not have emotions just like you or me.

Political figures and the media frequently toss the r-word about to show how ridiculous or incompetent someone is or to elicit some chuckles throughout an audience.  The most recent being Ann Coulter in a tweet and let me tell you she was not talking about flame retardant clothing.  Wayne Brady and Margaret Cho insulted many all to gain a few laughs.  Yet, they [Brady and Cho only] apologized.  They learned because many people such a parents, teachers, and family members spoke out and they listened.  Ann Coulter, I am still waiting. . .   It is a slow process in changing the views of others, but it can be done.  As I said, the words nigger, spic, fag, and many others are not common place anymore.  They are seen as derogatory, unacceptable insults.  I believe that at some point, r*tard will be viewed the same way.

Until then, it is up to us to 1. monitor our own language and 2. teach our children that it is not an acceptable word to use.

The next time you utter the word r*tard or r*tarded , think about Ellie.  Let us all treat each other with respect and dignity.

Spread the Word to End the Word.

Stop Disability Slurs.

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1 comment:

I love your comments and I read each and every single one of them.