Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The R Word is Never Acceptable

The great U.S. Supreme Court Justice and American civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall once wrote that the plight of persons with developmental disabilities was not unlike a “regime of state-mandated segregation…that in its virulence and bigotry rivaled, and indeed paralleled, the worst excesses of Jim Crow.”
Despite progress, though, it is undeniable that Americans with developmental disabilities still remain second-class citizens in the eyes of the law and our fellow human beings. Those with developmental disabilities are rarely heard from in our popular culture or social policy or political dialogue. Part of this tragic injustice is the ridicule of the developmentally disabled, and there is no greater symbolic gesture of this ridicule than the accepted use of the word “retarded” in day-to-day speech.

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