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I'm a married knitter, crocheter, and newbie spinner living in the Maryland suburbs with my photographer- computer geek hubby, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. And yarn. A LOT of yarn. Just ask my hubby.

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Spread the Word

In honor of a very sweet little boy who made me more conscious of my own use of words like “retarded” and phrases like “riding the short bus” (and therefore eliminate them), I want to spread the word about this.

From the Special Olympics site:

Spread The Word to End The Word

It is time to “Spread the Word to End the Word” and on 31 March 2009 Special Olympics is calling for a national day of awareness for America to stop and think about their use of the R-word. That R-word is not “recession,” but something more hurtful and painful – “retard.”


Wear the Spread the Word T-shirt and show your support! Click on the logo above to order yours today.

Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends. This word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.

Spread the Word to End the Word will raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the R-word and encourage people to pledge to stop using it.  America will be asked to declare their support for more respectful and inclusive language, specifically that referring to those with intellectual disabilities.

Created by young people with and without intellectual disabilities, Spread the Word to End the Word is one element of Special Olympics’ vision of a world where everyone matters, where everyone is accepted and, most importantly, where everyone is valued. Leading the way in promoting acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics opposes prejudice and discrimination, continuously working to dispel the negative stereotypes associated with this population — the use of the R-word being one such stereotype. In a world that has worked to eliminate pejorative racial and ethnic language such as the “N word,” among others, the R-word is gaining popularity.

On 31 March, young people across the country will lead local efforts to raise awareness and collect pledges on www.r-word.org from peers and the community to vow not to use the R-word. Actor and activist John C. McGinley, of the hit show “Scrubs,” is helping with this effort by making national media appearances on behalf of the campaign. On 2 March 2009, he appeared on “The Bonnie Hunt Show.”

Send us your plans to Spread the Word at r-word@specialolympics.org. After 31 March, let us know how your Spread the Word event went. Send a report, photos and videos to r-word@specialolympics.org.

So, N – thank you for making me a better person, and give your parents a big hug from me.

4 comments to Spread the Word

  • Mindy

    Thank you and hugs a thousand times back at you.

  • Joyce

    Thanks for the reminder. Words can be just as sharp as any knife.

  • Great post, thank you!

  • This is great of you to post and spread the word. I’ll freely and honestly (but with a great deal of shame) admit that until I met Wifey, and her four (!!!) immediate family members with various forms of MR, I was one of those tools that didn’t understand the power of words. I’d like to think that I’ve grown, and we speak to JAM about being better than we were all the time. We just had a conversation with him, thanks to your post, about the possibility of getting back in touch with Special Olympics. Found out it wasn’t being held at UMD this year though – up in Towson which sucks. We’ll see what we can do, but it’s awesome that you’ve taken up the torch.