"You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful. I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop." Tim Shriver

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Beginning

I'm not sure I noticed the R-word before Joey was born with Down syndrome.  I think I did.  What I do know is that the word did not sting like it does now.   Now that we have to fill out medical forms that have a check box asking if our son has "mental retardation."  Now that we understand and realize that the word "Retard" or "Retarded" is used as a slur.  As a put down.  I think the first time I really took notice was when I was pregnant and a father sitting behind us at the movies told his family that one of the movie previews was "retarded."  It saddens me to think that it took having a child with Down syndrome for me to really think about this particular word. 

I scour the internet looking for places that discuss the movies and shows I have heard the word used in and I just can't find them all in one place.  As Ghandi says, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."  That is where The R-Word Reporter comes in.  I want to see the use of the r-word disappear.  I want movies and television shows to stop using it.  I hope this will help.  

As an attorney, I understand the right to free speech.  However, as Tim Shriver told Stephen Colbert, "You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful.  I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop."

This site, The R-Word Reporter, is meant to provide a place where all individuals, with or without disabilities, can go to and find out whether or not a movie they might want to see uses the R-word in it.  This past year I have had the displeasure of seeing many movies that used the R-word.  Had I known beforehand, I would have saved my money and gone to a different movie.  My husband and I love going to the movies.  We live in Northeast Ohio and it is a great escape during the cold winter months and even during the super hot summer nights.  My hope is that this site can provide a fair description of how the word was used, who said it and in what movie or television show.  At least this will provide people with the opportunity to make a choice.  A choice not to spend $8, $9, or $10 on a movie.  A choice not to support the writers, directors, actors and corporations that allow this word to be used in their entertainment.  

This site will also list television shows or public figures who use the R-word.  This is not meant to be a blacklist.  This is meant to come from a place of love and grace.  A place to provide information and to petition those who use the R-word to recognize what they are saying and recognize that they have the option to stop.

Obviously a word is just a word.  However, as Mark Twain said, the difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between lightening and lightening bug.  

Words have power.  Words have meaning.  

If you see a movie, television show or hear someone in the public use the R-word and would like it to be listed, please leave a comment or send an email

The next post will discuss the use of the R-word in the Oscar nominated movies, "The Descendants" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."