We’ve got to stop using the ‘R’ word

How often do you use the word “retarded” in daily conversation? Painfully enough, I hate to admit my friends and I do more than we should.

The other night I was flipping through the channels and came across one of my favorite characters on television, Becky Jackson from “Glee.” I love Becky’s character because she fights through the stereotype that surrounds her character with Down Syndrome.

Lauren Potter plays the role of Becky, a high school student in “Glee” who villain Sue Sylvester uses as her personal assistant and protégé.

Potter was being interviewed on one of the entertainment news shows and what she had to say was so powerful. She told the reporter, “Enough is enough and you got to stop the ‘R’ word.”

Potter is working with a group to launch a national campaign to stop the use of the word “retarded.” She feels as though the word is degrading and disrespectful to people who just want to live a normal life.

Thousands have signed up and pledged to not use the “R” word, as Potter said. I challenge myself, and the UNA community to stop the use of this negative and hurtful word that many of us don’t even know the true meaning of.

We as a generation use this word on a daily basis and forget that those around us who may have or know someone with a cognitive learning disability can be greatly hurt by the word. We should band together and stop the use of such words and find something else to describe people, things or situations.

The times have changed, and I think we as a UNA community can make a little change to promote a bigger change in our generation. Why should people like Lauren Potter, who is obviously successful, be put down and hurt by vicious words that others say?

I think we as UNA students have become very good at taking action in our community, and we can be very active at stopping the use of this word. Let’s band together and stop using this word and help individuals with cognitive learning disabilities live a normal life like many people take for granted.

To pledge to stop using the “R” word, visit www.r-word.org.