Take the pledge today to spread the word to end the word

SpreadTheWord The R-Word CampaignToday’s the day to take the pledge to spread the word to end the word. 

The “word” of course is “retard” or “retarded.” For several years now, Special Olympics and Best Buddies have had a campaign called “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Today is the day designated to take the pledge to stop saying the “r-word” as a slur, or punchline, or to describe something being stupid. I hope you’ll take the pledge. You can do so by clicking here.

And, it’s not just me who hopes you’ll take the pledge. Actor, and fellow dad, John C. McGinley asked readers to take the pledge at The Huffington Post yesterday.

As I wrote about at this post this time last year, President Obama and state governors have removed “mental retardation” from official writings, and replaced it with “intellectual disabilities.” As the President recognized in signing the federal law, quoting the brother whose sister has Down syndrome:

But I want everybody to hear Nick’s wisdom here.  He said, “What you call people is how you treat them.  If we change the words, maybe it will be the start of a new attitude towards people with disabilities.”  That’s a lot of wisdom from Nick.

If you struggle with removing this word from your lexicon, then here’s 3 easy tips to stop saying the “R-word.”

Or, use this simple tip I suggested in a column in our local paper several years ago when Tropic Thunder had started a new discussion about the “r-word”:

Societal norms have evolved such that the N-word is now referred to as the N-word and shock jocks lose their jobs for calling women basketball players “nappy headed hos.” But, for whatever reason, we do not find the word “retard” to be equally offensive, though it certainly is. Its use is a way of further abusing the few remaining members of our society against whom discrimination is tolerated.

So, the next time you find yourself about to say that something is “retarded” or calling someone a “retard,” as the word is leaving your lips, simply change it to “ridiculous.” Doing so will not give offense, nor will it perpetuate discrimination against your fellow citizens.

So, take the pledge today: Spread the Word to End the Word.


  1. […] syndrome, or any other intellectual or developmental disability, a retard. But, things have been changing quickly on that front: federal and state legislation replacing “mental retardation” with […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: