The R-Word

This is such a thought provoking article about how society judges and defines people, especially “retarded” people. It reminds us all to be very careful about the words we use. Sticks and stones is not true!

Star In Her Eye

Dear Star-In-Her-Eye Readers,

Many of you might already know this, but I wrote an essay about the word “Retarded,” and the piece was accepted by the (wonderful, meticulous, generous, thoughtful) editors at The Sun. In this essay, called “The R-Word,” I wanted to say more than the obvious, which is of course “Please don’t use the word ‘Retarded.'” I wanted to investigate why the word has gone from “progressive” (in the 1950’s) to hurtful epithet today. I wanted to look at the etymology of the word “retarded.” I also wanted to to examine the rhetoric we use around people with intellectual disabilities. And I ultimately wanted to know, “Can language really change our thinking? Can any word or phrase we use to describe Fiona and people like her ever change the way people with intellectual disabilities are seen?” I was surprised by the answers.

The editors at The Sun

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