Saturday, November 13, 2010


You can't turn on the TV,  read the paper, or eavesdrop on a conversation for more than five minutes, without hearing the word "moron," "idiot," "stupid," "dumb," or the big offender, the R-word. Our culture allows this, one might even say, encourages it.

If you are a racist, sexist or ageist we call you on it, but disparage those with "less than normal intelligence?" Bring it! Laugh it up! Make yourself feel better while being in good company!

Did any of you happen to see "Parenthood" last Tuesday night (or any night you and your DVR called it up)? Adam, the father with a son with Asperger's, punched a guy in the nose at the grocery store, for calling his son a, oh, I can't even say it, the R-word. And the man so totally deserved it. I so appreciate what this show is trying to do to raise awareness of special needs. Although my son is "on the spectrum" and the kid on the show is "on the spectrum," too, that is pretty much all they have in common. Yet I so relate to the story line, and their family could by ours in so many ways, complete with the 16-year-old junior in high school daughter, that gets the short end of the stick every single day, pretty much. They've got the mom that is fully consumed with meeting the needs of her son, and the dad just out there trying to make a living while constantly being pulled away by yes, the all-consuming needs of the special child.

I was recently reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress per several people's recommendation. I was liking it, even smiling on occasion, until she repeatedly used the R-word disparagingly. For. A. Laugh.

It's not funny.

Sticks and stones may break bones but it's the words that we use with each other that wound the deepest.


Jenny said...

I did see that scene on Parenthood and I thought of you right away. I can't say it either, but I sure do need to work on my use of stupid and dumb.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so with you, Carrie. I wince when some of my friends use the word, more than once, in conversation. I used to think that "a word is just a word," but I don't anymore.

I saw that episode of Parenthood and thought it was excellent. I think the whole show is doing a great job with the special needs thing -- particularly the father character.

My nine-year-old son Oliver always says that he feels like "kicking them in the legs" when people stare at his sister. I can't say I blame him!

Wanda said...

I hear you. I have been (and still am) occasionally guilty of the American pastime of which you speak. I catch myself sometimes. Sometimes I catch myself before--and sometimes after. I hear you and I am working on it. And for those times I screw up, you may call me on it (gently, please...and thank you).

jess said...

I loved, loved, LOVED that moment in Parenthood. And best yet was that it was so out of character for Adam. Yep, I'm starting a write in campaign. Adam Braverman - 2012.

And yes, our words matter. And no, we can't ever take them back, so they must MUST be chosen with care.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I am nauseated when I hear that word.

Ask Me Anything said...

Now that I'm obsessively watching "Mad Men", I realize how far we've come from the Misogynistic language we tolerated for so long. Now it's time to do the same with these words. Like most people, I have used them thoughtlessly--but once you made me aware, I realized just how inappropriate. Keep raising the awareness!

Anonymous said...

The R-word is my second least favorite word, Carrie. (The first least fave being the one that begins with an "F" -- and no, I don't mean the curse word. My friend Logan wrote a great post about it awhile back:

Whenever I hear people use either word, I reevaluate whether they are the kind of people I want in my life. I just hate those words so much!

Deb Shucka said...

We create reality with our words, spoken or written, or even thought. Your sensitivity is helping many to understand that in a different way.


I've been hurt by words and know they cut like a razor.

Like others have commented, I have to start checking myself and being more careful in what I say.

Thanks for this insight.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick and tired of hearing retard used endlessly, even by my own children. Grrr.

kario said...

Love you.
Love Parenthood.
Love the words we use that build each other up and I hereby promise to use them more often.


deb said...

I keep nagging my kids when they use it... I 'm sure it won't be long before it's gone gone , as it should be.

Oddly , I was reading an online book excerpt this morning on NPR and the word was used ! A recently published novel even. And it was used the way my kids use it , nothing memoir or old style reference, just the use to make her point. A sad one. Completely threw me off that this wasn't noticed.