I believe the word “retarded” gets used too often.
On October 29, 2004, my little sister was born. She was also diagnosed with a cognitive disability. Only a few months after she was born, she had to get open heart surgery. Having Down syndrome has made her a smaller, less capable child. She can’t go on the big swings while her younger cousin can. She’s just learning on how to talk in sentences while younger children are learning how to count and some read. There are many other things she can’t do yet when others learned how to do that a long time ago. That’s all because she has a mental retardation, and people make fun of those like my sister.
Many comedians like Dane Cook, Bill Burr say the ‘r’ word multiple times whether it’s about someone or something. They say it without and care and nobody makes a big deal because they say it all the time too, but when they say something like the ‘n’ word they have to make a public apology to the African American Community. The comedians should have to make a public apology to the national association for Down syndrome, or better yet The Arc (an organization for people with a cognitive disability). Every time that word gets used improperly, I get infuriated. When I saw Tropic Thunder I was furious! In the scene Ben Stiller’s character talks to Robert Downey Junior’s character about how he thought he felt a little retarded. I can see why people boycotted that movie. They say the ‘r’ word sixteen times! Its things like that, which frustrates me, the carelessness and the reckless use of the word. On Mind of Mencia, Carlos Mencia calls stupid people retards. The first time I watched the show I wanted to call Carlos and tell him how wrong it is to use that word. Nearly everyday I hear the ‘r’ word used.
When I was at cross country I heard a sixth grader say “this workout is so retarded” afterschool I heard a fellow classmate say “this assignment is so retarded”. The worst phrase of all I hear most often is “you’re so retarded”. The reason why I get so aggravated when I hear the ‘r’ word used is because its slang for mental retardation, but many people thinks it means stupid. So when people use the word retarded or allow it to be used it feels as if they’re mocking my three year old sister who can barely talk. People should know that they’re making fun of a three year old, who can’t even defend herself. Since she can barely talk, I try to be the responsible older brother and stick up for her. So whenever I hear the word being said all I can do is tell them that it’s not right and in a way they’re mocking my sister. Maybe one day the ‘r’ word will be just as bad as the ‘n’ word and people won’t say it.
Out of all the people that say the word retard, there are a few who are fighting against it. Bridget Brown is an advocate from Naperville who makes speeches about Down syndrome. Rob Johnson is a fox news anchor whose brother has a cognitive disability so he’s trying to fight the use of the ‘r’ word lessened greatly. Like them, I’m trying to reduce the use of the ‘r’ word one person at a time. Since my sister can’t speak up for herself, I’m the one trying to defend her. I’m proud to defend the defenseless. I believe the word “retard” gets used too often.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.