The “R” Word- Spread the Word to End the Word

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

This is Madison René McGlade getting on her soapbox, stating why she thinks it is completely unacceptable, disrespectful, and obscene to use the word “retarded” as a derogatory term, and to speak about disabilities and diseases as if they are hilarious jokes.

Secrets out, it’s not funny. In no way, shape, or form will this ever be funny.

I know, it seems normal, and unfortunately we hear it quite often. But, just give it a shot to kick it out of your brain.

Spread the Word, an organization standing up for ending this word, gave some reasons why it should be cut out of our vocabulary:

  • The R-word is exclusive
  • The R-word ignores individuality
  • The R-word equated intellectual disability with being “dumb” or “stupid”
  • The R-word spreads hurt
  • The R-word is offensive
  • The R-word is incorrect
  • The R-word is derogatory
  • The R-word fosters loneliness
  • The R-word is hate speech

In this world, there are so many people with disabilities that we do not know about. Barely any of the people I am around know that I’m blind in my left eye. No, I do not want pity, I do not want people to feel bad, and I really don’t care if people ever know that fact about me. But, I also do not want the Helen Keller jokes or thinking I can’t do something like people with two eyes can. I was born this way and I am completely adapted to it, I understand how to drive a car, and yes, I can play volleyball with just a right eye.

Calling someone “retarded” or making fun of an illness will never be okay. People are born with mental illnesses and disabilities. But just like you and I, they are a human being. They had no say in their health when they came out of their mother’s womb. But, they do not want a person doing something dumb to be what they are related to. Having a disability makes them no less of a human being than every healthy person on this earth, it makes a human different. People with disabilities are not stupid. They do understand things.They are functional. They live in the same world we do, and they are some of the sweetest and happiest human in this world. Relating an action to being “retarded” brings no good to a situation.

There are always people watching you or listening to you, especially in the school hallways. Students, you have other peers and younger students looking up to you. They want to fit in, they want to do what you do, they want to respect you. Saying terms like these will make you look like a jerk, they will make you look disrespectful, they will hurt people. What you say in the halls of the school is reflected in so many ways- please, please, please watch your words. People are following you, not in a creepy way, but in a way that you could change their attitude, actions, and life.

My point is this; there are so many people that you come in contact with daily that have a disability, but you might not be able to see it. Calling your friend “retarded” in the middle of Walmart when they do something strange can offend many people around you, and you never know who you are around. I believe that the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is false. No matter how many times we say or think it, words hurt. And making fun of someone with a term of disability or illness is hurtful. It is excluding. And it does not need to be a word coming out of our mouths.

Health is not something to mess with or take for granted, and disabilities can open your eyes to so much. If you are blessed enough to have great health, do not forget to thank God for that. Also do not forget that not everyone was born the same, but we are all loved the same, blessed the same, and forgiven the same. Instead of using the “R” word, give your homie an eye-roll. It’ll get the same point across, I  pinky promise ya.

Words are important. They can change lives, heal the broken, and communicate Jesus Christ. So, instead of using words to tear people down, build them up. As Mary McGlade tells me so often, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Mom’s always right.

Love always,

Mads ❤



Photo courtesy of: a work in progress





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