The Word

Yesterday I read this post about a word I hate. I love language, and I love how we use words to communicate ideas, beliefs, values and thoughts. But there are words I NEVER use, and this post talks about one of those words. As I wrote in my comment on the post, I cannot remember the taunts or words used to pick on me about my uneven gait (my waddle as we called it) or my reduced strength. But I can clearly recall exactly when and where two classmates called me this word in third grade. It was the only time I went home and cried to my mother about being made to feel less than adequate.

This word is toxic and hurtful to many. I speak to my Personal Assistants regularly about how this slur is not be used in my house.

What word raises your ire and makes your blood boil?

sunshine in puddles

My stomach is clenched trying to decide whether to rock the boat. I am not one for confrontation…I’m actually quite skilled at avoiding it. But I have to say something. I have to point out the faux pas even though I know it wasn’t intended. It was staring at me so hard that I couldn’t scroll past. This has happened a few times now. There are people who make a linguistic faux pas. The “oops, I’m sorry” (and genuinely so). No excuses made just owning a mistake. We all do booboos of some sort. I see this as an opportunity to communicate and educate. Which is much the same with those who really don’t realise their offence (fewer, and younger, but they are out there). A chance to inform is good…if not occasionally tiring.

The term mental retardation was diagnostic, or at least medically descriptive, many moons ago. So the…

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5 thoughts on “The Word

  1. This word has such staying power for the individual and can be so painful. When my husband was in elementary school it was decided that he was not keeping up with classroom full of children and was told he needed to go to “special class” Well even though he went on to receive science and art awards in high school, and was kept back a grade, the one thing that still resonates to this day, 35 years later, was the need to go to “special class”.. Was he being disruptive in class and not paying attention? I’m sure he was. However he very much felt stigma of being different.
    I’m very sorry your little episode was so hurtful to you. I do remember that event, and how people rallied around you to teach those boys a lesson. Unfortunately it is still happening to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it hurt me more because all I ever heard up to that point was how smart I was, how capable I was, how I was no different than anyone else. So, the insult really hit hard. Nobody likes to be made to feel different or “special.” That’s another word I dislike!

      Liked by 1 person

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