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The R-Word

By FrenchHornGirl, Shreveport, LA

“That’s so retarded!” This is a phrase that has become commonplace over the past few years, especially amongst teenagers. In middle schools and high schools nation-wide, it is flung tactlessly into conversation like an empty McDonald’s cup is thrown carelessly out of a car window. It litters everyday speech with an offense that often goes unrealized but can be extremely cruel. Its use needs to be eradicated – for the sake of those affected with mental disabilities, for their loved ones, and for the moral future of our country as a whole.

Millions of Americans are affected with genetic disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Down syndrome. In the past, when the natures of these disabilities were unknown, the affected people were often labeled as “retards,” “sub-human,” or “freaks” and sent to special homes where they were often mistreated and completely eliminated from society.

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