Posted by: Sandi | September 25, 2008

So what’s the big deal?

A few weeks ago, as I was reading a weekly column in the newspaper, I came across a letter from a reader who was upset about the “R” word campaign.  He used the typical argument -you know the one- free speech, can’t tell me what I can or cannot say, yada, yada.  He ended by stating that since he wasn’t directing the word to anyone in particular, then “what’s the big deal?”

Well Mr. Letter Writer, you’re in luck!  There is an answer to your question.

In his eloquent essay, Mr. John Franklin Stephens, a 26 year old man with Down Syndrome and a Global Messenger for Special Olympics, states exactly how he feels about the use of the “R” word.

“…I get the joke – the irony – that only dumb and shallow people are using a term that means dumb and shallow. The problem is, it is only funny if you think a “retard” is someone dumb and shallow. I am not those things, but every time the term is used it tells young people that it is okay to think of me that way and to keep me on the outside.”

from “What’s the Big Deal About Using the Word “Retard”?
by John Franklin Stephens

I hope everyone will take the opportunity to read Mr. Stephen’s eye-opening essay.  If only it could be on the required reading list of every school in the country.



  1. Great info. You go girl!

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