Did you feel it? Did you just throw up in your mouth a little? Did your insides cringe? Did you have to stop yourself from letting a tear slip down your cheek? Did a picture of a beautiful, smart and fantastic little girl just flash through your head? That is what happens every.single.time I hear that word used flippantly in society. This is how I felt today when I heard one of my favorite actresses say it on air. She didn't pause. She didn't hesitate. She didn't cringe....
Why? Why do the words nigger or fag make you cringe and gasp with surprise (Did they? They freaking well had better!) but the word retard make so many laugh? Why is ok?
I will tell you, it is because people with the medical diagnosis (yes, medical diagnosis and NOT just a random slang, made up word) of mental retardation cannot fight back. They are considered an "easy target". My daughter will not punch someone for using that word. I might, but she won't. You walk down the street and laugh at a friend and call them a n***er and you will get your ass kicked. Cringe factor. You call someone a f*g because they love someone of the same gender and you will get your ass kicked. Cringe factor. You call your friend the r-word and Natalie is not going to come after you. You are safe, it makes you feel bigger, better, stronger, smarter? Where the hell is the cringe factor???!!! Why don't more people feel it?
This is a question I ask myself more often than I would like. Why do I have to educate my children about the world AND educate the world about my child? Do you have to do that? Do you walk through a store and hear someone use your child's traits used synonymously with the word stupid?....I do. Cliff does. Alyssa does. My parents do. His parents do. Natalie's Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts, Great Uncles, cousins and friends do.....and someday she will hear it. She will hear it. She.Will.Hear.it! I will have to teach her how to live in a world that uses something that is physically part of who she is as a bad word. I will have to teach her to be bigger, better, and stronger than the hurt that that word will cause. In doing so, she will become smarter than those who use it
.....she already is.
.....she already is.