Sunday, December 7, 2008

The "R" word

I have a part time part time job. I work at a large big box retailer. We ( my hubby and I) decided that for my sanity and all that I do with Tyler a "small" job would do me good. Plus, there is NO harm done in an extra 600 bucks coming in from somewhere!

The last few months of my job I have carefully listened to those around me. I have noticed more moms that "walk through the Tulips) and others that walk by and stare at the tulips. The workers can be far less "nice" and I have found a breed I am not always proud to call coworkers.

As we were sitting at a break a young man called another boy a "retard." I was FLOORED. I know that Tyler is not "retarded" and his cognitive functions is "ok" but why is it that I still have such anger and hatred for that word.

That word comes with the same distaste as others making fun of "short buses." It is like the rule is a mom who sends her kid on one can make fun of it.. but you outsiders can't. BUt the R word. That is just bad! Very bad.

How do you then turn and take the time to explain why that word shouldn't be used? How do you ladies take those Moments and what do you do?


Happy in Holland said...

I love how you said you've noticed other moms that "walk thru the tulips" and you've noticed others who "walk by and stare at the tulips". You've worded it so perfectly! That just really hit home with me. Thanks for sharing that.

As far as what I do in a situation like that, I don't know. I haven't been in situations like that where I hear something with my own ears. I can tell you how upset I get though when I hear things in general. Like a couple months ago celebrity Denis Leary made a statement about kids and families with autism that really ticked me off. I have been thinking about what I would say in a situation so I could have a decision made and not have one of those "I wish I would have said this or that" after the fact moments. I'll let you know when I come up with something. :0)

tiptoe mama said...

I agree. I like the way you say it all. I'm also like Happy in Holland where I haven't heard much. But I get a lot of stares, and dirty looks. Mostly I just try to ignore it. I think if I heard a rude comment, I'd probably fall apart inside, then go home and cry, then hate the person get the idea. I'm not much on confrontation.
I do have one funny story though. This past fall, A played soccer, and MK and I went to all his practices and games. During practice one day, we were one of three parents seated around the field. MK was in her wheelchair, and I sitting on the grass beside her. A man came onto the field and set up his lawn chair several feet in front of us and off to the side a little. He turned around over and over and just STARED at MK. Because of the angle, there is no way he could have been looking at anything else. ( I turned around and looked behind us to be sure.) If you haven't guessed already, I like to draw a lot. It's something I do for stress relief. Often, I draw funny cartoons of people -not like the nice ones here on the tulips- sometimes I draw people for fun, to try to nail a certain personality. Sometimes I draw people because something about them catches my interest. Sometimes, I draw people out of spite. Which is what I did that day. All I had was a pen and the back of my check book, but I started drawing. I kept looking at him, trying to get his beaty little eyes, and the crook of his nose - rude Mr. Staring man! after several minutes, I realized that he had noticed me looking at him. Over and over and over again. He started glancing around uncomfortably and shifting around in his chair. With out even trying --suddenly I had showed him what it felt like to be the one who is STARED at! when I figured it all out, all I could do was giggle.

Anita Nap said...

My step-mom's 11 yr old spoiled rotten granddaughter called Marshall a retard one night because he was acting spazzy and flipping his hands. He doesn't constantly stem but sometimes if he gets really excited he will flip his hands a lot. Anyway, she called him a retard and I was so mad!!!!! I told her he most certainly is NOT a retard. She didn't even look up from her game she was playing with my cousin's kids. She called him a retard a few more times that night and I was ready to slap her. He is probably smarter than she is. He has a lot of problems, I'm the first to admit but this boy is a GENIUS. He counts way up past 20 and he talks like he's 5 or 6 at least...not just barely 4. Retard? I think not!

tiptoe mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke and Erin said...

I have worried about what kinds of names the kids will come up with for Bree. But in my experinece names are used when people don't understand or don't know what to do or say. I feel it is important to explain to them what they are really saying. Somethimes bringing to to attention is all it needs, in your case I don't think the boy that used the "R" word really thought it through and was just saying it. Next time point it out to him. My Mom always asked us a great question when we said things we probably shouldn't have. "Do you really know WHAT you are saying?" Some people do and I am sure do it just to be mean. Others, I have to believe, do it for other reasons.

Katie said...

You know, some times I think people just don't think. Maybe I am giving them too much benefit of the doubt.
My family is very close. We love each other very much and spend a lot of time together. One day one of my sisters (an adult sister definitely should have thought more about what she was saying) was getting after her sons about something they were doing and she said, "What are you? Brain damaged?!" My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe what I had just heard.
I decided to let it slide but in the following weeks it got worse, soon she had 2 more of my sisters saying it. Whenever someone did something annoying or frustrating or stupid they would say, "What are you? Brain damaged?" Finally I took one of them aside (the sister who is strong enough to stand up to the others and yet humble enough to take criticism from me). I just told her I loved her but what they were saying was hurtful.
I was surprised by her reaction. She had never even given it a thought. She said, "We never think of JT like that. I didn't even realize what we were actually saying. I just got in the habit of saying it."
After that, she talked to all the other people saying it and it hasn't happened again. Sometimes people get in the habit of saying hurtful things without realizing they could be hurtful. I have to admit, when talking to my friends and family I still sometimes say, "retard" out of total habit, I have been saying it all my life. I would never call my son that. JT is not retarded. I suppose in the very literal sense he is, but not to me.
When it comes to people saying things to try to hurt our feelings, well, it hasn't happened yet. We need to educate the people who "walk by and stare at the tulips". I don't think most of them mean to be horrible, even if they are.