Friday, November 4, 2011
Seems clear to me
This led to one very good conversation on Epiphany in Baltimore (on a post that I can't seem to locate to link to, 11/14/11 - found it here). That felt pretty good, I talked a little about people first language, ideas were exchanged. Win-win.
Then there was a Facebook post. I really don't think the poster got what I was saying, but he apologized and so that wasn't too bad.
At work though, it's a different story. It's the same people, over and over again, who absolutely don't get what I'm saying. So here's my pitch, you can tell me if it's obscure to you.
This word is too loaded to be used any more. When it is used as an insult against people who are not intellectually disabled, you are implying that people with intellectual disabilities are valueless, the ever accessible butt of any put-down. If you use it as a clinical term, it has way too much baggage from usage as an insult. It's a general label that's sweeping and hurtful, and really, in the end, doesn't help you understand an individual any better. Use a sentence and actually describe the challenges a person is dealing with. Try to be compassionate, while you're at it. Finally the biggest reason to stop using the word is that the people that you are labeling don't want you to call them by the R-word any more.
Here are the comments I've gotten which let me know my ideas aren't coming across:
"Oh, so you're saying I'm insulting retarded people when I call X a retard. Ha, ha, ha!"
"It's the term that I learned to use for lower IQ's and I mean it clinically, not as an insult. Why should I change?"
"Oh, that's right, your kid's autistic...sorry"
I won't stop calling people out when I hear the term, but honestly, I don't think I'm doing much more than making them think I don't have a sense of humor.
Please check out my fellow Bmore Ed NaBloPoMo Crew:
Epiphany in Baltimore
Maryland Math Madness
and The Smallest Twine
Posted by A BCPSS Parent at 12:04 AM