Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Words Can Demean a Person

From "The Record" of New Jersey, a wonderful perspective about the use of the R-word by Barbara Coppens, president of the New Jersey Statewide Self-Advocacy Network.

Using, or criticizing others who use the words "retard" or "retarded" (a.k.a. the R-word) has become a nationwide hot topic, ignited by Ben Stiller’s film, "Tropic Thunder" in the summer of 2008 and fanned most recently by a Valentine’s Day episode of "Family Guy" on Fox Television.
As a person who lives with an intellectual disability, I’m hopeful about the R-word’s newly-found status as a big story, because it is serving to shine a light into the shadows that I and so many of my friends with intellectual and other developmental disabilities have lived in for so long; shadows of shame, stigma and aching humiliation.Come on, you say, can one lousy word do all that… really?
Yes. I’m telling you that it does. And there should be no need for any more explanation than that.

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