Friday, February 12, 2010

R-Word Firestorm

The first time I ever saw self-advocacy I had no word for it. I was in college and I was riding the bus into town to do some shopping and this young guy called someone else on the bus a r*tard.

There was a woman who had a disability sitting toward the front of the bus. She turned around and told him to shut up...

And that jerk looked at her and said, "You don't even know what that word means!"

"I do too! You're saying he's bad because he is like me. Well I am NOT BAD!"

The bully said, "I wasn't talking about you," and got off the bus.

But he was.

Insults are words that give people a little verbal slap. They are individual and specific.

Slurs are the big guns. Slurs not only insult individuals, but burn entire groups of people. They are part of every civil rights movement because they disempower. They refer to gender, race, religion, disability and more. Slurs are so powerful, so forbidden and so tempting... The possibility of hitting someone that hard makes us giddy.

So we create exemptions to make it OK to use the occasional slur. Here are some of the exemptions I have noted over the past week:

*It's OK if you're a Republican. (IOKIYAR)
*It's OK if it's funny--or satirical--enough. (IOKIIFOSE)
*It's OK if you're referring to yourself or your own group. (IOKIYRTYOYOG)
*It's OK in private. (IOKIP)
*It's OK if you call it Free Speech. (IOKIYCIFS)
*It's OK if you're really mad. (IOKIYRM)
*It's OK if you're not prejudiced. (IOKIYNP)
*It's OK if you didn't mean it that way. (IOKIYDMITW)

Have I left any out?

Do they work? Do any of these exemptions actually de-slur the words???

No, they don't.

It's just not OK. (IJNOK)

Picture from here.

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