Blacklisting the “R-Word” — March 31st!
Some of our more astute readers might have noticed an addition to our right hand sidebar yesterday. The OneSeventeen team wants to show our support of the Special Olympics and their fantastic campaign to end the derogatory use of the word “retarded.” (From here on out, known as the “r-word.”) Using respectful, considerate language is a key piece in respecting others and acknowledging the dignity of all people. This is an incredible opportunity to dialogue with our young people about the power of the words they use and a prime example of a movement we’d liked to engage in with our PlumbBrain youth community.
There’s a great video on the Special Olympics site where Soeren Palumbo, who’s sister is mentally challenged, shares why the r-word isn’t ok.
My mother has been on a campaign against the r-word her entire life, and several of my friends can attest to her stopping the car in heavy traffic to inform one of my middle school friends that she “would not use the word retarded as a derogatory remark” in my mother’s presence and she could “considering blacklisting it from her vocabulary, because throwing “retarded” as an insult only makes you look ignorant.” I think many kids don’t realize the insulting insinuations that come from using words like “retarded” and “gay” as synonyms for “stupid, dumb, ignorant, and foolish” and many others. The chorus I repeated in my own classroom upon hearing the r-word was, “there are people who are retarded by no choice of their own and you will not make fun of them or insult them in this classroom.” Several times during the semester we’d end up in longer conversations about the r-word, but my one liner typically shut students down pretty quickly and conveyed my point. After a few weeks, I’d delight in hearing my students call one another out on using the r-word.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 is National Day of Awareness about the use of the r-word in this country. Visit the r-word’s site and sign the pledge to be part of changing the conversation about the r-word!
Entry filed under: Attitude, Communication, Doing Good, Education, Kids, Learning, OneSeventeen Media, Online Tools, Opportunities, PlumbBrain, Youth. Tags: derogatory, March 31, National Day of Awareness, OneSeventeen, OneSeventeen Media, r-word, retarded, special olympics.