Wednesday, September 06, 2006

THE WORD "RETARDED"

So today I had the opportunity to work out...yay! Occasionally I give up my night nursing so that I have some day nursing hours to do errands, etc. Recently I have been stressed more than usual and I decided that I needed a "release." Working out has always been the best way for me to reduce stress...and right now that is a pretty high priority!

I was enjoying my class and problems were temporarily forgotten. Yay! Then the song "Lets Get it Started" was on and the instructor was singing along. She sang "let's get retarded..."

My heart sank. And all of my problems came rushing back to me. I left class immediately. Why do people use that word so casually? It hurts to the core.

Before I left the gym though, I realized I had to say something. I had to let her know how inappropriate that word is unless it is being used medically. So I did...quite a lengthy note but very respectful. She called me this afternoon to apologize. She said as soon as she sang it, she thought about it not being "right." But she had seen it on the instruction video so many times with the instructor saying it and that it stuck in her head. So what do you think my next step is? Yep, I am going to call the company and talk with them too. Additionally, the local instructor is going to apologize to the class next week, which I think is great.

I was proud of myself for saying something. I could simply have left the gym and been upset. But that wouldn't help anyone or change anyone's actions in the future.

It simply is inappropriate to use the word "retarded" in any context besides medical (i.e. retarded growth and development) and I am learning that if I (and others) don't say anything in defense of the special needs community, who will?

*And to my instructor (if you are reading this today):
Thank you for your phone call and apology. I know you didn't mean any harm and thank you for your sensitivity now and in the future! I loved your class today...I actually temporarily forgot my problems and that is huge!!! :)

*And to all parents and everyone else:
If you ever hear your children casually using the word "retarded", i.e. the infamous teen phrase "what, are you retarded or something?", PLEASE say something to them. Explain to them how inappropriate this is. Explain why...and perhaps they will think again before using such terms. Thank you very, very, very much!!!

9 comments:

carolyn said...

Amy,

You are exactly right!!! You go Girl!!!

It's upsetting, you were getting some stress refief and then that happened, to add more stress. You did the right thing, by bringing it to the instructor's attention. I'm sure she understands now.

Hugs for Mighty Max !!!!
Love & Prayers,
Carolyn

RebeccaA said...

Thanks for stepping up and saying something. I believe that words should be used by their definition.

This reminded me of my own experience with a word...

Earlier this year I had a breast biopsy (all is fine now). When the procedure was over the doctor told me to call for the results and ask for the results from my "aspiration test". Well, having had a child on a feeding tube because he was at risk of aspirating, I told him that I'd rather not use that word. He was surprised and explained that most women don't like to use the word "biopsy". I'd say biopsy all day if it meant my child could protect his airway from thin liquids. :>)

Take care of yourself!
Love,
Rebecca
Cameron and Nathan's mom

Stephanie said...

way to go Amy! I know that must have taken a lot of courage, but you are totally right. I have been guilty of using that word (along with some others) very loosely, until people have brought it to my attention or I stop to think about what I am saying. I would much rather have someone call me out on it than go around offending people.

Drew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
elle said...

cool the more peopel say soemthing the more others will understand have you seen the posts in charge bout mental retarded and developmentaly and all that stuff basicly evyerone says instead of retarded we should say delayed retard is kinda like a rude workd LOL

michelle f said...

Way to go Amy! If everyone had the courage that you had the world would be a much better place.

I just got to check the website for the first time in a week. I got so excited seeing Max setting in front of that mirror and in the shopping cart!! The only time I got more excited about those two things was when my son Owen did it.

Give Max a kiss for me!

Michelle

Sarah said...

Good for you for saying something!! I just can't tolerate that word and have never used it in the way you experienced. Hopefully the instructor appreciates your honesty and courage. Changing attitudes, one person at a time.

Sarah

Off Route 75 said...

As someone who works with individuals "labeled" with mental retardation/developmentally disabled (MR/DD), I go nuts when I hear some idiot use the word "retarded."

People with MR/DD didn't ask to be "retarded," and those of us whom the autism community refer to as "neurotypical" (they actually do! LOL) sometimes forget how hurtful words can be.

The "Black Eyed Peas" sing that song, and it actually started out being called "Let's Get Retarded." They changed it before it got a lot of air time on radios (and probably before Fergie peed on herself in that concert). Either way, I bet none of them had a family member (or knew) anyone who has a cognitive disability....they may have rethought that song if they did.

2-hot-4-you said...

Way to go! I'm glad you stood up and said something. THe more people let it go the more people will continue to say that word, inappropriately. I work with individual's with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and I have had so many staff come in for training and talk about working with "retards", until I jump them severely and they either quit or realize the hurt that word can cause and shape into good staff. Once again, good for you and keep it up!