Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Only Words

with 5 comments

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.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Our world has become inherently nasty. But it isn’t one sided. Both sides use misogynistic and hateful language to attack opponents and those withwhom they disagree. Rush was out of line, but so is those in the liberal media who call conservative women, s***, c****, t****. My issue quite frankly is that if it is your side of the aisle that spouts the nasty, hateful words then you say nothing and call upon that ubiquitous right called freedom of speech. The fact that any woman allows another woman to be derided like that for her political views is shameful. Honestly I think alot has to do with our own culture, from music, to movies to books that uses artistic expression as a reason to use hateful language aimed at women. Somehow you never see that language directed at a man. he may be called dumb, out of touch, stupid, narcissistic but noone ever demeans a man in the same way that they attempt to destroy women.

    I think twitter even more so than other social media forms, with its complete anonymity, allows for such hurtful and ignorant attitudes to flourish. It doesn’t mean you don’t necessarily call these people out, I just think that it is easier to be a jerk when none really knows who you are.

    As far as the “r” word. I have no idea when that became the word du jour. i don’t’ know why it did. It goes along with the culture wars, the inherent right that people believe they have to be asshats. I teach the boys for along time now that that word is not be used in our house; how it is derogatory and insulting. Do they hear it everywhere? Yes they do. But there are alot of words that they hear that are hurtful, ignorant and blatantly discriminatory. It is up to us as parents to take the power away from “culture” and start teaching our children right from wrong in every aspect of their lives including language and how words are so very important.

  2. Hear hear. Given that my 9yr old autie knows it’s “unkind” to name call, yet even politicians & media darlings manage to forget this, one has to wonder whose social development is, in fact, “retarded.”


    March 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  3. Really? Adding that onto the end of a word is just beyond the pale. Sad. Hateful. Ignorant and reprehensible. I fear the bullying our children will have to endure as they become older and I wrote about it today, in a different way. That boy you saw seemed to mean well. It’s funny how they can be balancing on the border and what they hear can push them to one side or the other. It’s up to us as parents to push the balance to the side of good. SIgning the petition is part of that. Spreading the idea of ending the r-word has been part of my campaign too. Beautifully done post. I’m with you 1000%! 🙂


    March 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

  4. It IS unfortunate that our children are exposed to unkind words thru our culture. Its been that way for a long time & prob will continue. And while the parents may not be the ones responsible for kids using these ‘words’ (they absolutely can aquire it from media,tv,social life,school,etc..), i believe it is 100% the parents responsibility to teach their own kids that using such words are inproper,offensive & hurtful towards others. And it must start from a very young age,as soon as the questionable words come out of their mouth. My boys-both my asd son6 & nt son4-know that certain words r “bad” and r not allowed to be said AT ALL. They following words r banned from our household:
    Retard (any variation)
    Shut up
    Etc.. My kids r more afraid to use those words than curse words. Prob bc i get more angry if my son calls his brother ‘stupid’ than if he says “oh shit” when dropping sumthin. Infact, i rather hear them call some1 an asshole than a retard! (when they r adults that is lol) But for now, in times of need, they take it upon themselves to resort to using a lovely choice word of their own liking: poopyhead! LOL Better than the other words! Ugh Until i hear ‘poop’ being said 20x in 30min! What is it with boys & the word poop anyways? Lol


    March 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

  5. […] night with a migraine, but today I’ve woken up feeling worse.  I’m tired of hate speech.  I’m tired of waking up to a world with that word in it.  There is no place for it- not in politics, and not in our personal […]

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