Let me tell you a true story.
Approximately 15 years ago I started to think pretty highly about a certain handsome man. As all young couples, one of the biggest tests comes with meeting “the parents.” It was finally my time and though meeting his parents was pretty nerve-wrecking, I was more anxious about meeting his oldest sister. She, I could tell, was very special to my man and I wanted everything to go smoothly.
The big moment arrived and she welcomed me with a big grin and excitement. I can honestly say that I fell in love with her. She was a total sweetheart and my co-conspirator in teasing my now hubby. Candii was perfect in every way.
Unfortunately what I saw is not what the world sees. What the world sees is someone with something “wrong”. Someone invaluable because she is deemed imperfect by the worlds standards of education, looks and it’s superficial measuring stick. They belittle and joke about people like her because they only look skin deep and judge based on that.
My sister-in-love had cerebral palsy brought on by a birth accident which deprived her brain of oxygen. She could only say a few words but was able to communicate very well. She loved teasing and adored babies and was pretty much over the moon in love with her niece and had she lived longer would be reveling in all the littles I have now. She was a big fan of scary movies, Nancy Drew books, and reality television. She brought everyone who knew her joy AND allowed to you glimpse a character of God which is lost in the rest of us: peace and light.
Now that I have told you all of this, I will explain why I’m ticked off. See, someone accidentally sent me a text last night. A friend of a friend who clicked on my number.
Here is what they wrote, “Is the guy a retard? Cuz he sounds like one.”
Why is this term still in use? Why is it used to describe someone in a very demeaning why? Where is the PC police for this type of thing? Where are the marches on Washington demanding that their lives matter? Where is the outrage that these children are the most aborted population in the world?
It would never ever ever be ok if I were to say, “Is the guy black? Cuz he sounds like it.” Or, “Is the guy Islamic? Cuz he sounds like it?” So why do we put up with the everyday normalization of this word? Why do you continue to use it? Why do you let others use it around you?
So here’s my big ole’ piece of wisdom:
STOP IT! If it’s a habit, break it. Now tell those around you to stop it too. You know what would be even better? Say hi and high five those with mental handicaps. Smile and appreciate their God created uniqueness. Remember they are someones child, sibling, aunt/uncle and friend. Give them grace and love, heaps and heaps of grace and love. Remember they were created in the image of God too. Know too that these children and adults are loved and adored by someone and EVERY TIME you use the term “retard” you are hurting them too.