Next Wednesday is a special day in my heart.  It's Spread the Word to End the Word, and you can take the pledge. 

What is the word?

The R-word.

I had an email from a coworker saying "I don't know what the 'word' is that you are talking about."

It's "retard" or "retarded" or any variation thereof.  Even just writing it, I cringe.  I'm sure you have heard it from friends, relatives, kids, as I know I have.

The reason the word bothers me so much is that I have been involved for years with Special Olympics.  Friends of mine have children who have down syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disabilities.  The "r-word" is probably one of the biggest forms of spoken bullying.  Often used to refer to someone when they have acted or said something dumb or stupid.  I can assure you of all the people I know who have an intellectual disability they are far from stupid or dumb.  Now some may make the argument that the r-word is a medical term.  You'd be right, back in 1950 it was an entirely acceptable word to use to describe someone with an intellectual disability, but there were a lot of acceptable terms back then that we don't use now.

I'm not asking for money, just for you to sign the pledge saying that you will "pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities."

Thank you for taking the time to Spread the Word to End the Word pledge.  I get that we all say things every now and again, hell, you should hear my mouth most days, but one thing I always strive to do is be respectful of others.  I think it was Jesse Jackson who said, "Never look down on someone, unless you're helping him up."