Challenging language is an essential part of activist work. Often, derogatory language is subtle, and can “infiltrate” everday life and common speech without much notice. One of the problematic and highly offensive terms that society seems to be hanging onto is the word “retarded.” Using the r-word in place of adjectives such as harmful, annoying, troublesome (or any other negative connotation) is not only extremely hurtful but exclusionary and able-ist.
Check out this campaign to “spread the word to end the word” at R-word.org. The site is a virtual hotspot of resources to end the use of the r word. Individuals from all backgrounds and experiences share really poignant stories about the consequences of using problematic and discriminatory language.
You’ll also find a stacked resources page. There you can download campaign materials to help further “spread the word.” Some of these materials:
-Templates for letters to the editor, e-mail alerts
-Videos and educational materials
-Key messages/talking points for the campaign
-Event planning tips