Eliminating the “R-word”

April 1, 2015

Renew.  Rebuild. Recover. A blog by West Michigan Community Mental Health. 

So far this month, over half a million people have pledged on www.r-word.org to support the elimination of the derogatory use of the “R-word” from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The R-word is “retard” or “retarded.”  While these words originally were medical terms, in common speech they have come to be used to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities.  Additionally, www.r-word.org explains, “When ‘retard’ and ‘retarded’ are used as synonyms for ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid,’ it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.”

In March of 2014, Michigan legislators set an example when they passed legislation to remove the phrase “mentally retarded” from Michigan law. The effort aimed to further remove the word from everyday use.

You too can make a difference in your circle of family and friends.  Visit www.r-word.org to learn more, and spread the word to others.


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