Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This is who you hurt...

This is who you hurt when you use the word retard.

I'm not going to write an open letter to Ann Coulter about how wrong she is for this.  She knows it's wrong to degrade a whole group of people, deem them worthless, and disregard them completely as she litters the Internet with hateful slurs; but she doesn't care.  Even if my tiny little blog did somehow reach her, it wouldn't matter. 

I don't have a very long reach.  My readers are mostly my friends, my family, neighbors, and acquaintances.  Good people who, unlike Anne Coulter, have a moral compass.  Yes, good people.  People who wouldn't intentionally cause harm to another.  People who certainly wouldn't throw stones at someone who was defenseless.  But you see, sometimes we don't realize that, even without intention, we can cause harm to another.  We can leave scars.  We can perpetuate an awful injustice that so badly needs to stop. 

I may have a few times during my years casually used the word "retarded."  "I can't believe I have to pay this much for new tires on my car; they're made of rubber, that's so retarded."  I wasn't aiming to hurt anyone.  I would never actually call someone a "retard", or use the word to diminish someone.  I am more sensitive to the word now that I am the mother of a child with Down syndrome, and I'm a better person thanks to that.  "Retard" is a word that hurts.  It's a word that generalizes a whole group of people.  It's a word that carries forward a stigma that limits people who have shown themselves to be capable of much more than had once been expected from them. 

Our society has come up with  nasty names to disgrace just about every "group" of people there is, whether it be race, sexual orientation, social economic status, etc... there's a slur to label you with.  Most of them, however, are not socially accepted.  They're considered to be discriminatory.  Why then, do we accept the word "retard" to be thrown around like it is?  Carelessly spoken between friends in line at the coffee shop, plastered on friends' Facebook walls, Tweeted, spewed all over television, the movie theatres, and radio?  Why do we allow this word in our vocabulary?  Why do we allow it in our homes?  In the schools that our impressionable children attend?

Please don't casually use the word "retard" as slang.  It should not be socially acceptable in any context other than it's medical use.  If it's casual use is no longer accepted, than surely, when an awful excuse for a human, like Anne Coulter uses the word in the manner she did, she'd undoubtedly be knocked right off her platform for her offensive behavior.  Do you think if she used the N-word, she'd get away with it?  No way!  That would be totally unacceptable, the network she works for would step in and shut down the offensive behavior.  The R-word is just as hateful, and should not be tolerated in a public forum.

Anne Coulter, here is the person you are trampling over.  The person who you have declared is less than you.  Here she is as she basks in the glory of a beautiful fall day, rolling joyfully in the grass.  She is an innocent child who deserves to grow up in a world that values her life, where she'll be treated with decency, and allowed to blossom to her full potential without the threat of someone like you carelessly stepping on her.


  1. Those are the most beautiful pictures...

  2. Your daughter is beautiful! She is a valuable being created by a good and loving God. I agree with most all of what you wrote, but is it necessary to refer to Anne Coulter as "an awful excuse for a human, like Anne Coulter?" Please don't stoop to this level as you defend your daughter and others with Down syndrome. If you demand respect and kindness...please offer it to others, as well...even if you disagree with them or their behavior.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      When Ann Coulter was confronted about her statement, she replied in an email, "The only people who will be offended are too retarded to understand it."

      When I sat down to write my post, my intention was not to call her names, or throw insults her way, or even address her. What she said really hurt me, it made me angry, and yes, maybe some of that hurt and anger slipped out. I’m human and maybe my emotions clouded my judgment, so I will digress. I will see that I what I said was hurtful, or untrue, or slanderous, and apologize. Right? I should apologize? That would be something a decent human-being would do, right? Where is your apology Ann Coulter? Was your hate language the result of emotional backlash? No, there’s no excuse, her hate language is only hate. Hate toward our president who, whether or not you agree with his policies, deserves a certain amount of respect, as he is our commander in chief, elected by “we the people.” In her hate she used a word that hurts a whole group of people who she’s assumed can’t or won’t fight back. I understand what you’re getting at Anonymous, I really do. You can’t fight fire with fire. I would never stoop to her level. I would not discriminate against her for the color of her skin, her religious background, political opinions, or medical diagnosis. The only gauge I will use to measure her character, are her words and her actions. While I’m not going to hold on to any of the anger or hurt that her comments have triggered within me, I am going to stand by my assessment of her character, because she’s deserving of it. If she proves to have a soul by showing some remorse for those she’s hurt, I’ll take it back.

  3. I agree with Tiffany, a person who shamelessly uses a word to belittle an entire population of people deserves to hear backlash from our community. If we continue to overlook these social indecencies, some members of our society will continue to think this kind of behavior is acceptable. Did Tiffany have an emotional response to what Ann Coulter said? Yes, absolutely; as did I. In Tiffany's defense, at least she did not use a slanderous word to demean her as well as an entire population of people. Saying Ann Coulter is an "awful excuse for a human" may be a bit extreme, but I believe Tiffany has every right to comment on her feelings about her character. I would prefer to say her behavior is hurtful, senseless, and not acceptable. Ann Coulter was given a chance to apologize for her careless statement, but decided to perpetuate the animosity towards people like our sweet little Danielle. Ann Coulter's comments do not make her sound like a useful and socially responsible human.

    I have never agreed with the controversial way Ann Coulter voices her conservative political opinions. I do appreciate the fact that every American has the right to voice their political opinions, but I adamantly believe that one should do so in a thoughtful way. Insulting a political leader in a way that insults an entire population of people is careless. I really hope Ms. Coulter learns from her mistakes and takes time to do some serious self-reflection, but something tells me this woman will never change.

  4. Someone once said that we can only be judged by the way we treat the most vulnerable around us. Ann Coulter hurts more than your daughter; she hurts us as an entire society, in which someone who has had the benefit of education, free speech and human rights gets to dismiss those who are less able to advocate for themselves. The vast majority are appalled by her arrogance, vitriol and disrespect - small comfort, I know, but it does serve to bring the issue front and center and make us all stand up and be counted. And while your daughter will always be defined in terms of her ability to love unconditionally, Ann Coulter will be forever associated with ignorance, intolerance and hateful language. I know which I would prefer.