If you don’t follow the news in the US, you might have been lucky enough to have avoided coverage of a recent incident in which a radio talk show commentator referred to a female law student as a s*** …yeah, I’m not going to write that word. I don’t care what your political or religious beliefs are, that word is inherently misogynistic.
My Facebook and Twitter feeds were crammed full of those both denouncing and supporting the attack. But what really provoked me to write about this now, was the fact that people on both sides were throwing around other slurs. A new (to me) trend in slurs that are evidently acceptable on both sides of the political spectrum.
What is this new trend? It is adding the letters -tard to another word in order to make it more offensive. Because calling someone the R-word is still deemed acceptable.
I don’t like conflict. I’ll fume quietly rather than challenge somebody. I don’t feel like adding more words when I’d rather keep quiet. But words have power. If you don’t think so, read this story.
Pudding is just five now, but she looks at least two years older. She now looks different and other kids are picking up on it. We were walking back to the car on Thursday and a boy of around eight or nine noticed Pudding. Two other boys were riding on bikes and calling to each other. The noise hadn’t, in fact, bothered Pudding in the least, but he heard her humming, and saw her flapping, and rather gallantly took it upon himself to tell the other boys to be quiet.
“Don’t make so much noise….she doesn’t like it…her brain is wrong.”
I had to smile. We were already late for dinner, so I didn’t feel the need to tell him that I don’t think her brain is any more wrong than his. The fact is, that child didn’t yet have the language to articulate something as complex as an autism spectrum disorder.
I have to ask myself, what would this boy be saying in 5 years time, or 10? How would he describe her then? Our children are going to be using the language we model to them, and we are modelling some very offensive terms right now.
I’d rather avoid conflict, but I will enter this link in those dialogues that made me so angry. From now on I will be addressing every incidence of the derogatory r-word (and derivatives) and will continue to do so until it is eliminated. Even if people don’t like it. Even if it costs me friends. They can call me all the insulting, offensive, and derogatory terms they like, as long as I am doing my bit to make sure my daughter doesn’t suffer the same fate.
Spread the word to end the word here.