One of the things I get the most shit for from people, especially those who are always going on about how terrible we Social Justice Warriors (TM) are, is my refusal to tolerate ableism. This includes my refusal to tolerate the use of words that the average person throws around constantly. People seem to have a hard time understanding why it could possibly be harmful to constantly use words that attack perceived low intelligence or mental stability.
A lot of people I know still use the r-word. That word in particular is actively used to bully kids with actual intellectual and developmental disabilities. That in and of itself should horrify anyone with half a soul.
But if you won't listen to me, maybe you'll listen to a football player.
This NFL Player Is Taking a Powerful Stand Against the "R-Word"
This story is touching as fuck.
"It's not a harmless thing," Margaret, whose son Paul has Down syndrome, told Mic's Elizabeth Plank. It's "hurtful and disrespectful." Many people with cognitive disabilities have also come forward and expressed how hateful and belittling the R-word is to them.
Joe Haden's story of living with and loving a family member with a cognitive disorder is the kind of personal account this subject needs to touch the broadest possible audience. It's one thing to debate the R-word in abstract, theoretical terms. Hearing the stories of actual people affected, however, makes the right thing to do abundantly clear.
People act like it's a massive burden to try and replace all the ableist slurs they use with other words. But it's not that hard. If I can do it, you can do it. And if people with intellectual disabilities can find a way to live in a world that was not made for them and is in many ways actively hostile toward them, you can fucking stop using the r-word. Okay? Okay.