This article, entitled "So Much Work Still to Do," comes from Cathy B. at bountifulplate.
I belong to a handful of Facebook pages that have to do with special needs. Last week, a post popped up from the group, "Spread the Word to End the Word." The group's main aim is to "eliminate the demeaning use of the word "retarded." Evidently, a company who sells merchandise through Amazon.com were selling t-shirts with the phrase, "You're Retarded" on it. The group was asking that we contact the company and ask them to stop selling the shirt. With no hesitation at all, I took a few minutes to send an e-mail to the company saying,
"I have a son with Autism, and the shirt you are selling with the saying, "You're Retarded" is extremely disrespectful to my son and to all other children and adults with special needs. It would be great if you wouldn't sell those type of shirts! Thanks so much :)"
Imagine my surprise, that within five minutes, I received this e-mail in response:
"Hello and thank you for your message. We apologize for the offensive item that was being offered and have since removed the listing. We appreciate your caring, effort, and understanding."
I'm glad the company decided to remove that shirt from their website, but unfortunately, there are many more companies out there that sell shirts with that saying (and much worse) on them. There is so much work still to do on educating others about how the word "retarded" can be used in an offensive and derogatory way. I actually found a test you can take on-line called, "The Retard Test." I literally felt sick to my stomach when I read the questions and answers. I couldn't believe it. It was so incredibly demeaning and rude. This past Sunday, we were visiting a church out of town. There was a young man that came in late with his dad, who were getting ready to sit down in the pew in front of us. He stopped right in front of Lauren and starting shaking her hand. He probably shook her hand for at least 20 seconds until his dad told him to stop. Lauren looked over at me and smiled. Both Lauren and Dominic's older brother have such a keen insight into the "world" of special needs because of Dominic.
They both love and adore him and I know they would do anything in the world for him. Wouldn't it be awesome if one day our society reached a point where we were not so judgmental based on how a person looks or acts? You truly don't know what is going on in someone else's life unless you walk a day in their shoes.