My 19 year old had an interesting experience in one of her college classes.
Her Professor, himself the author of a newly published book, made the choice to use the word ‘retarded’ in front of a class of college kids.
One would think that a Professor of English would have an array of words at the tip of his tongue that would eliminate the need to bring the ‘r-word’ into play.
Alas, one’s thoughts would be wrong.
My 19 year old, all 109 pounds of her, stood up to her English Professor, in front of a room full of her peers and explained to him why this word is so vehemently offensive.
Out of one side of this Professor’s mouth came the promise that he would immediately cease to utter this word.
Out of the other side of this Professor’s mouth his announced a YouTube video he’d be showing the class, and how it would most likely offend my 19 year old.
The video?Â A comedian doing his stand up routine on how the offense doesn’t belong to the of the user of a word, but rather to the one who chose to be offended.
This translates into nothing less than giving free reign to anyone to use any word to describe anyone, with this person being held blameless while the one who has been slandered being the sinner because they took offense.
I couldn’t help but wonder if this Professor and the You-tube comedian would feel the same way after shouting the ‘N-word’ in the middle of downtown DC.Â Before they begin this experiment they may want to make sure they have 911 on speed dial.Â Just a thought.
This reminds me of the time I was told that I should be like Christ and forgive a certain person for their use of the r-word and their finding funny movies that perpetuate the stereotype of those with intellectual disabilities as being stupid and being good for only the entertainment of their intellectual betters.
This person’s intentional actions should be held blameless, but if I couldn’t forgive them, well THAT was the sin of being un-Christ like, andÂ I was the bigger loser.
Because surely Christ would also find kids like ParkerÂ too stupid to know when the inappropriate joke was on them, don’tcha know.
(This is where I should have a pic of the 19 year old wearing her End the R-Word shirt. But even though we paid mind boggling, get it here in time shipping charges…….it didn’t get here in time. ugh.)
As long as there are those who insist that when they use the word ‘retard’ they aren’t using it that way, or Professors who set the tone of acceptance for this word, or authors who put this word into the mouths of their characters in an attempt to reflect today’s society, there will be the need for advocacy.
Words hurt.Â Each and every one of us should be held accountable for the words we choose to use.
Don’t take my word for it. Go and read the experiences of many who are working towards removing the ‘r-word from our daily speech.