March 2, 2011 has been designated as this year’s official Spread The Word to End The Word Day. What “word” are we talking about? Retard(ed). Although “mentally retarded” was conceived many, many years ago as a clinical term describing people with cognitive impairments, over the years referring to anyone or anything perceived as ridiculous, silly, distasteful, or inferior as “retarded” or “a retard” has become the norm. Kids say it. Teens say it. Parents say it. Teachers say it. Attorneys say it. Politicians say it. Therapists say it. Celebrities say it. The use of this demeaning, hurtful, demoralizing verbage crosses all cultural, religious, age, and socio-economic lines. Why is it so hurtful? Because every time you call someone “a retard” or something “retarded,” you are making a direct, unflattering, and insulting comparison to him . . .
If your life is not personally touched by somebody with cognitive impairments, it may seem like a lot to ask of you to change the way you talk. But really, it’s such a small thing. Just don’t say “retard” or “retarded” anymore. Or idiot or moron or spaz either, for that matter. Such a small effort that can make such a HUGE difference to make the world a kinder place.
So, please take the pledge. Do it for Finn. Do it for people like him. Do it for my family. And while you’re at it, please spread the word and pass this along to someone you know