Today is the annual day of awareness for the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. For the uninitiated, the R-word is “retarded” or “retard.”

You remember saying it without a second thought in the 80s and 90s, right? Me, too.  And I will admit that even now, though it doesn’t slip out anymore, I’m not completely shattered if someone says it flippantly to describe something they think is stupid or uncool. But more and more, it makes me stop and take a deep breath. And if someone ever said it about Frankie…well, I’m afraid I’d have to get all mama bear on them.

But, here’s the thing, when someone uses it, it’s offensive to anyone with an intellectual disability. It belittles their achievements and their value as a person. Which isn’t nice.

So just don’t use it. Find another word, there are tons to choose from. It’s not going to save the world, but it’s one more step towards a kinder society. And that means a lot to a lot of people.

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