The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-from Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
With the recent onslaught of media coverage surrounding the use of the word retard and retarded I find myself extremely saddened by the public’s defense of the appropriateness of this word as a synonym for anything they find annoying or ridiculous. Why people are insistent on their defense of their gratuitous use of this word when they are made aware of the power of it to hurt and strip the dignity of individuals with intellectual disabilities, is beyond me. I would have expected at the point in which it garners so much attention ;that people outside of the community of those of us who either have an intellectual disability or know and love someone who does; that it would have been a simple choice to just not say it- that it would have been clear that there is no appropriate time to use it or any other hate speech. The continued defense of people’s “right” to hurt others through this word is so disheartening to me. As Mr. Frost says- I do have promises to keep- to my children and teaching them to be kind to others; and miles to go before I sleep- there is still much work to be done in advocating for the rights of all people.
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I haven’t heard about this controversy before, but I have often wondered why so many people fail to realize that specific words have specific meanings, so we should choose them wisely.
You are very right, and very wise to bring this to attention. We should strive to choose our words wisely. My older brother once told me, “Everything a person says or does says something about their character.”
well said …. our children learn to speak using the very same words we do …. and they learn to act by repeating the very same actions they see in us.