Williams Syndrome Wednesday: R you kidding?

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The R-Word. It’s a hotly debated topic.

I know right? What’s the debate? It’s not a nice word. It makes a whole class of people feel bad. It’s used by bullies to make perfectly normal people feel less than.

But amazingly, just about every time I tell someone they shouldn’t use the R word after they r-bomb it onto a conversation with me or it appears as someone’s post on my Facebook newsfeed, I get a whole host of excuses. I’ve heard “yes, I really need to stop saying that because now my kids are saying it”. I’ve heard “I’m sorry, I was just really tired”. I’ve heard “I apologize that you took it personally but I’m not apologizing for the joke because that was fucking funny”. I’ve heard “Wow, I didn’t even realize I said it”.

Huh. Rarely have people said, “You’re right, I never thought about it that way, there’s no place for that word in my vocabulary”.

Now I’ve also heard “what’s the big deal”, “I didn’t mean it the way you think” and “I would never say it to a person who was actually mentally handicapped” (um, the correct term in case you’re new here is intellectual disability).

If you are one of those people who still find the word makes it’s way into your conversations, I urge you to use the N word one time for every time you use the R word in conversation and see how that goes.

As in…wow, this project is so R-word. Those N-word have no idea what they’re doing.

Or I can’t believe you did that. You’re such an R-word. I don’t know why I hang out with N-word like you.

Maybe it will help you come to understand that saying the r-word at all makes you a bit of an asshole. When you say it to me it makes you a giant asshole. When you say it without even knowing you say it… asshole. When you tell me I just can’t take a joke or that I’m too sensitive, then you’re simply missing the point. (and you’re an asshole).

It’s not about me. It’s not personal. It’s universal. It’s human rights. It’s about being a good global citizen. It’s about the reason we don’t say the N-word. And how the G word is about pride and not prejudice, and why Native Canadians and Inuit are referred to the way they are.

When you choose to use the R-word you’re saying you (as in “I’m such an r-word), the thing you’re doing (this is so r-word) or the person you’re saying it about (you’re such a r-word) is stupid, slow, pointless, dull, unable to grasp what’s happening around you, dumb (another word that is used in a way that’s not what it means). It’s derogatory. It’s mean. And it’s just not an acceptable word anymore.

If you need further encouragement, you can watch one of the 195 million videos that come up on a google search for End the R Word.

It’s not personal.

195 Million videos.

Don’t tell me I just can’t take a joke.

Don’t tell me you won’t say it in front of me.

Don’t be an asshole.

There are estimated to be 1,025,110 words in the English language.

Pick another one.

2 Comments

  1. Lesley

    June 13, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Love this Mel! So beautifully paralleled with the n word.

    Reply
  2. Trish

    June 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Well said, Mel. I have made a real effort not to say the R-word. I have stopped myself from saying it and I never really realized the times I have used. I know the joke you are referring to and I didn’t find it humorous.

    We all signed the pledge at school to End the R-word. It’s wonderful to watch the kids at school correct each other and putting for a real effort to stop using it.

    Reply

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