I’m sure this will not come as a surprise to any of you, but I have to weigh in on all the recent discussion in the media about the use of the “R“ word. It makes me sick. I wrote a post about this back in November 2008 (Maggie World: Language Cop, http://sfmaggie.blogspot.com/2008/11/warning-im-going-to-play-language-cop.html#links ) and I reiterate those views here. But all this recent brouhaha warrants another commentary.
Many of you will think me oversensitive because of my daughter’s disabilities. That’s fine, maybe I am, but that conclusion should not prevent you from actually thinking for yourself. Maggie does have profound disabilities, though she does not happen to have intellectual disabilities; but that is not the reason I dislike this word so. The word is offensive and dismissive and those who use it sound childish and well…….no, I won’t go there.
To update anyone who missed things here are the recent events.
1) Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff uses the term “f-ing retarded” to describe efforts of some democrats to criticize the White House over some of the Health Care reform situation. This was classless and stupid. I expect the White House Chief of Staff to comport himself with more articulate prose and to refrain from the use of profanity and other offensive terminology.
2) Sarah Palin, former vice presidential candidate, darling of the right wing and mother of a child with down’s syndrome calls for Emanuel’s resignation for his use of this term. This is overblown and stupid, though I happen to agree with her distaste for the comment.
3) Rush Limbuagh uses the term “retard” in his commentary. This is classless and Stupid
4) Sarah Palin says it’s ok for Rush Limbaugh to use the term because he was kidding. This is stupid, inconsistent and transparent.
5) Steven Colbert mocks Sarah Palin’s inconsistencies. This was hilarious.
6) SNL mocks Rahm Emanuel’s apology. This was hilarious
7) Lewis Black, who I normally adore, does a very unfunny riff on the whole debate. This was offensive and stupid.
Even though there was some good comedy, #2 through #7 never happen if Rahm Emanuel doesn’t use the word in the first place. The word needs to go.
Special Olympics is waging a campaign to get rid of the “r” word. This is something I can get behind. As I looked into this campaign further (http://www.specialolympics.org/why-the-r-word-must-go.aspx )I found that Spread the Word the End the Word day is March 3, which is Maggie’s birthday.
I always have such a hard time with Maggie’s Birthday, but this year we can DO something positive. Go to http://www.r-word.org/ and take the pledge to not use the R word and spend Maggie’s birthday spreading the word to end the word.