Thank you so much for bringing the phrase "never go full retard" to the world. We just don't have enough horrible and demeaning things to say, especially when talking about people with disabilities. I am pleased to see a creative genius like you at work. There's just not enough hate speech in the world. /sarcasm
No matter where you stand in the whole Tropic Thunder controversy, the fact remains that we as a society continue to not only allow, but widely accept the use of "retard" or "retarded" or "tard" when talking about people with disabilities. I hear it several times a day - from the mouths of children as well as adults, on television, on the radio. There's even a proliferation of other versions of "tard" to describe people perceived as unintelligent: Celebutard, technotard, debutard, and the list goes on.
I have a lot of friends who have disabilities. I hear their stories of being bullied, victimized, tortured and teased. I see their fallen faces when they overhear someone laugh, "You're such a retard."
My friends talk about this word often - sometimes with anger, but more often with shame. A shame, not aimed at the people who use these words or at a society that allows and even encourages them to, but a shame at their own disability. Their own difference. A shame at who they are.
There are always people who attempt to use the "it's only a word" argument. "It's only a word," they'll say. "It can only offend you if you let it." Bullshit. A study done by the International Coalition on Abuse and Disability found that over 83 percent of women with developmental disabilities have been sexually assaulted and that 50 percent have been sexually assaulted 10 or more times. Hateful words lead to hateful actions.
It's easy to talk about other people's cruelty and ignorance in private, but I've never quite known what to do when things are said in public. Do I confront the offenders and bring more attention and likely ridicule to my friends? Do I try to explain the hurtful words away and keep perpetuating the silence? Do I encourage my friends to speak up for themselves when I know that they are often so afraid of others' disapproval they won't even speak up about what they'd like for breakfast?
So I was thrilled to see these little "words hit like a fist" cards being offered from Active Gray Matter. The image on the front is the one above. The image on the back is the text below. I've got 200 coming my way, but they're giving away 10,000 more free if you'd like some of your own. I can't wait to start handing them out - and giving some to everyone I know so that they can do the same.
It's time to end the hate.