I have a challenge for you this week. Take a piece of paper and a small pencil or pen with you or open a notepad app on your phone… I want you to keep track of every time YOU use one of the following words:
– mental/mental case (
– OCD (to describe a need to do something a certain way/being rigid)
– retard/retarded (anything ending in -tard)
– short bus
– special needs
– suffers from (with regard to a disability)
These are all terms I’ve heard/read in the last 24 hours alone. I will join you in this challenge and I’ll be super honest about it. Next Sunday, I’ll take a tally and we’ll meet back here to compare notes. Deal?
Why am I doing this? Because on the personal Facebook page, belonging to the vocalist of one of my favorite bands, he tends to post a lot of political stuff. I like politics and get involved in discussions fairly frequently. Unfortunately, that vocalist uses words like “retarded” and “idiot” and moron” …a lot. So do a lot of his Facebook friends. I’ve quit paying much attention to things he posts due to this. However, he posted a great meme today and the discussion was one I didn’t mind getting involved with… until I scrolled down and saw this nonsense in the comments.
I said something. And then was taken to task for it. But that hilarity isn’t the point…
The point is, these are words I see many times a day, every day, used on the internet. I hear them being used frequently, by people whose company I typically enjoy. And these words mean something. They’re hurtful and disrespectful. You can read more about ableist language here.
But let’s work on this challenge. Seriously. Copy and paste the list and make an X – or some sort of mark – next to a term, each time you use it. If you can’t do it throughout the day, make a mental note and do so at the end of the day.
Meet back here in a week and we’ll compare notes. And yes, please share this with your friends. Let’s get _everyone_ talking about how to change our language to be more respectful.