Stopping The R-word Is Not Enough: Culture — Not Just Language — Must Change

Stopping The R-word Is Not Enough: Culture — Not Just Language — Must Change
 by Meghan Morris
The larger goal behind …is not to replace the r-word with another equally stigmatizing phrase, but to increase inclusion for those who may speak, act or move differently. Read the rest of the story…

Take the original R-Word “My Words Matter” Pledge by Jenna Glatzer“I pledge that I will not use the words “retard” or “retarded” to mean “stupid.” I understand that this is hurtful to people who have disabilities and people who love them, so I will be careful with my words. I will also try to remember to pay attention when other people use these words, and I’ll ask them to stop. “

Read Jenna’s story on how she created her R-Word pledge in 2004:

The “r” Word Hurts Us All

Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign

Think before you speak

Think before you speak
By Sarah Fitzgerald

“We are minimizing an already subjected portion of our society, using a medical diagnosis for jest and doing an extreme disservice to the developmentally disabled in our community.”

Read More…

Joe Flacco Draws Criticism For Using The r-Word

Remind Joe Flacco and other role models that Words Matter!–nfl.html

How the Word ‘Retarded’ Hurts The Developmentally Disabled

How the Word ‘Retarded’ Hurts The Developmentally Disabled

By Luis Viera

The great U.S. Supreme Court Justice and American civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall once wrote that the plight of persons with developmental disabilities was not unlike a “regime of state-mandated segregation…that in its virulence and bigotry rivaled, and indeed paralleled, the worst excesses of Jim Crow.”

Despite progress, though, it is undeniable that Americans with developmental disabilities still remain second-class citizens in the eyes of the law and our fellow human beings. Those with developmental disabilities are rarely heard from in our popular culture or social policy or political dialogue. Part of this tragic injustice is the ridicule of the developmentally disabled, and there is no greater symbolic gesture of this ridicule than the accepted use of the word “retarded” in day-to-day speech.

Read the rest of this post…

Ann Coulter Promotes Hate To Sell Books

In 2009 numerous newspapers dropped Ann Coulter’s syndicated newspaper column as a result of using anti-gay comments towards then presidential candidate John Edwards.

Her publisher Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc. proceeded to publish her books anyway.  Evidently promoting hate is great for business.

In 2012, Coulter has another book in the works,

So its not surprising she’s found another way to spin her own brand of hate publicity for her new book.   It doesn’t matter who gets ground up in Ann Coulter’s hate publicity campaign, it only matters whether Ann Coulter can sell another book.  After all, this is America and people have died for her right to free speech.  So the more attention she gets, the more her books may sell, who cares about what is right or wrong.  Words are only words, and money is only money.   It only matters to Coulter and her publishers if her words sell, not who they offend.

If you would like to send your opinion to Ann Coulter’s latest book publisher, here is their address.

Ann Coulter
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
c/o Sentinel Publicity
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

In the meantime, she has a message for you;


It’s time to let the ‘r’ Word go

It’s time to let the Rword go
Tulsa World (blog)
Conservative provocateur Ann Coulter doesn’t care about the fallout from her use of the rword in a tweet after the last presidential debate. It plays into her desire to remain a topic of discussion and in headlines.

Barhite: ‘Rword has no place in polite society
Toledo Free Press
The use of the “Rword is getting attention because political pundit Ann Coulter called President Barack Obama a “retard” in a post-debate Twitter comment.

Love That Max: Ann Coulter says the rword is not insensitive
By (Ellen)
Ann Coulter says the rword is not insensitive. Here’s Ann Colter on Inside Edition, defending her tweet about President Obama being a “retard.” This isn’t just about Ann Coulter, though I personally find her vile.

Letter targets Ann Coulter’s backward use of the ‘rword (KNXV-TV)
It wasn’t the first time Coulter used the “the rword” during this election season, and it’s not the first time she has been called out on it.

Special Olympian’s Eloquent Response to Ann Coulter
Cleveland News – Fox 8
In it, she referred to President Barack Obama as the Rword: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the r***rd.”

Capitalizing on more hate, Ann Coulter calls Obama the r-word after last night’s debate.  Sadly, more than just the fact that she earns money from this kind of attention, she is enabling others that the use of this word as an insult is acceptable.

If you would like to start the conversation with those who follow her, here are some contact addresses;

One mother’s plea to stop use of the ‘R’ word

By Maureen Wallace

Why am I sharing this? If pouring out my guts and imperfections prompts one person to reconsider using the word “retard,” then this is worthwhile.

“This isn’t about freedom of speech. It’s about accountability and compassion.”

It’s not about POLITICS…

It’s not about POLITICS…

Nationally another politician (comedian, celebrity – insert prominent person here) makes a joke referencing people with disabilities… on the short bus, like a retard, best parking places in the world and on and on.  Locally, it’s the same with politicians, school board members, teachers, and other officials.  It’s also the same in classrooms, club meetings, in the grocery store, library, church and even your neighbor next door or maybe even your closest friend.

Sadly, here in 2012 we find ourselves facing the same issues that brought us to start this grassroots campaign in 2007.  Although things have changed and people are beginning to understand, there is still so much work to do. 

This grassroots campaign is made up of all people with disabilities and the families and friends who love them, whether it’s the Special Olympics or Rick & Wanda in Oklahoma, or a self-advocate or family member of a child with disabilities standing in the check-out line of a grocery store.  We all have the same power, we all have the same voice to stand up and say, “That Word, That Phrase, Offends Me!” and explain why.

We have to keep doing it over and over again whether it’s on TV, radio, by public speaker system, by blogging, writing, social media, or by simply turning to someone in a bus, meeting, grocery, etc. and telling them face to face.


Why?  Because they haven’t gotten it yet, THEY KEEP DOING IT.  We must keep doing it because they keep doing it.

It’s going to take everyone of us, every time we hear it, no matter where we are.

They don’t understand that it’s not about politics, it’s not about being funny, it’s not about making a meaningless statement because you thought you were being cool and ‘everyone does it!” or whatever other excuse they have…

IT’S ABOUT RESPECT.   One voice is but a whisper, MANY are a ROAR!

Jim Roddey’s ‘mentally retarded’ joke shows why conservatives are not funny 
Long-time Pennsylvania GOP official Jim Roddey reportedly got a raucous reception yesterday when he labeled a supporter of President Obama as someone who is “mentally retarded.” No word yet if he fell down to mock people with cerebral palsy.

GOP leader Roddey sorry for ‘retarded’ remark
Pittsburgh Post Gazette – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Jim Roddey, the Allegheny County Republican chairman, has apologized for an election night joke in which he quipped that a supporter of President Barack Obama was “retarded.” Mr. Roddey, the veteran GOP leader, was speaking Tuesday night at state

Republican Jokes Obama Supporters ‘Mentally Retarded’
ABC News (blog) – ‎20 hours ago‎
“We were disappointed to learn of Allegheny County’s GOP chair Jim Roddey’s poor choice to target people with intellectual disabilities in the punch line of a joke. We were even more disappointed to learn that as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Allegheny Co. GOP Chairman Roddey Regrets Inappropriate Joke
CBS Local – ‎Aug 9, 2012‎
That’s what happened to Allegheny County GOP Chairman Jim Roddey, and he is apologizing for those remarks. While emceeing an event earlier this week, he talked about watching a man who was having trouble finding a parking spot, and Roddey pointed

You are here: GOP chair Roddey: Obama supporter “retar…
Pittsburgh Post Gazette – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Allegheny County’s GOP chair and former Jim Roddey has long been known for , and he added to that reputation tonight in a joke equating Obama supporters with the mentally disabled. Roddey as usual acted as MC at the election night party for state Rep.

Pa. GOP leader apologizes for Obama sticker insult
Sacramento Bee – ‎Aug 9, 2012‎
Allegheny County GOP chairman Jim Roddey was speaking at the victory party for state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, who won a special election Tuesday to fill the state Senate seat vacated when Jane Orie was convicted of campaign corruption earlier this year.

Pittsburgh GOP Chair Jokes Obama Supporters Are ‘Mentally Retarded’
The New Civil Rights Movement – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Jim Roddey, the well-known Chairman of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania GOP, Tuesday at an election night party compared supporters of president Obama to the mentally disabled. “There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in

 Pennsylvania GOP Chair Compares Obama Supporter To Someone Who Is …
The Inquisitr – ‎Aug 9, 2012‎
Posted: August 9, 2012. Jim Roddey, the GOP chair of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and a former county executive, got a decent level of support for comparing a supporter of President Obama to a person who is “mentally retarded”.

Penn. Republican official jokes: Obama bumper sticker meant man was ‘mentally …
Daily Caller – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Jim Roddey, the Allegheny County GOP chair and former county executive, made the joke at a victory party for a candidate for state senate who was elected Tuesday in a special election, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. “There was a disappointment

Republican Official: People With Obama Bumper Stickers Are ‘Mentally Retarded’
ThinkProgress – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Republican Official: People With Obama Bumper Stickers Are ‘Mentally Retarded’ | At an election party last night, Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County GOP Chair, Jim Roddey, brought the crowd to laughter and applause by calling an Obama supporter “mentally

GOP official compares President Obama supporters to the ‘mentally retarded’ – ‎Aug 8, 2012‎
Randy Vulakovich, Allegheny County GOP Chair, Jim Roddey, was speaking to a crowd of around 200 people. As his speech was going on, he told a story that made the conservatives in the crowd laugh, but it was hardly funny. “I was very embarrassed.

Why The Word “Retarded” Is Inappropriate


Why The Word “Retarded” Is Inappropriate

We call it the “r-word.” To use the term “retarded” to describe individuals who have mental, emotional, intellectual, or developmental disabilities is inappropriate because it is an inaccurate overgeneralization. For decades, anyone whose brain works differently has been labelled “retarded,” regardless of the cause or effect of the differing function. This resulted in an unfair “one-size-fits-all” label that all too often caused great confusion, fixed expectations, and ineffective treatment–and mistreatment.

The r-word is also now inappropriate because of its negative connotation and its history of being used to demean and abuse people. “Retarded” means slower than average, held back, stunted, and has too often been wrongfully applied to the whole person instead of the specific brain function issue than person challenges.

Further, “retarded” is an is-word, as in “Jane, the grocery bagger at the market, is retarded.” Again, this usage abusively and inaccurately applies a singular unidentified medical condition to Jane’s whole person.

It is far more accurate, acceptable, and inclusive to say, “Jane, the grocery bagger at the market, has Down syndrome.” In this usage, Jane’s person-hood is pushed more to the forefront. We call this “people-first language.” Her Down syndrome comes across as something she has, something that she challenges successfully through being employed at the market. The second usage affirms Jane’s autonomy, dignity, and independence, as well as her value to her community as an employed taxpayer.

Specifying that she has Down syndrome also elicits different and more appropriate expectations, a different experience, if you will, in interacting with Jane because educated people in our society are thankfully beginning to understand and accept what people with different types of abilities and challenges are able to do. For example, we know, generally, that people who challenge Down syndrome are well capable of interacting socially and making conversation, whereas those who challenge autism are typically not as outgoing, but nonetheless deserving of a kind word like, “Hey, thanks! Great job!” Just like we would say to anybody.

But if we call Jane “retarded,” that’s a confusing overgeneralization because people know less about Jane’s abilities and interactions with them. “Okay, she’s retarded. Can I talk to her? Will she talk back?” Yeah, I’ve actually heard language like this many times over my lifetime. In this scenario, not only does Jane not get the beneficial experience of an inclusive and positive social interaction, but neither does the person confused about whether he or she can interact with Jane. See, this sort of lingo inhibits positive socialization for everybody. That’s why we don’t use it anymore.

Please do not use the r-word anymore to describe someone whose brain works differently. Please emphasize our personhood when communicating about us.

We’re people, people!