|Posted on March 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM|
I'm a basketball fan. A huge one. I've played since the age of 5 and even to this day, I attempt to play whenever I can. My TV typically stays on ESPN or any other channel that has basketball on. That's why I generally appreciate the NBA and the things that it does for the communities of the cities that house teams. Through NBA Cares and other programs, the NBA is able to give back to the fans that give so much to them.
Yesterday (March 6 as of this writing) marked a day known as "Spread the Word to End the Word" Awareness Day. That word is "retard(ed)" or any other variation of it. In conjunction with the NBA and the Special Olympics, the Golden State Warriors hosted roughly 45 North Californians for a basketball clinic on Tuesday night.
This is a big deal because the word "retard" is commonly used as a derogatory term yet the misuse of this word doesn't get as much acknowledgement as the misuse of other words. In today's society, especially amongst the youth, the word is used to describe someone who is exhibiting "dumb" or ignorant behavior. The word has strayed so far from its original meaning that many people have forgotten what the word was originally used for.
What's worse is how people with physical and intellectual disabilities are perceived. The connotation of this word signifies that some feel as those people with disabilities are somehow "dumber" than those who do not. This of course is untrue and once again shines light on some people's ignorance of those with disabilities. It shines light on the fact that people automatically label things or people that they don't understand. It shines light on intolerance.
The campaign to end the R-word is a significant one. This is a word that is thrown around loosely and used irresponsibly. People must realize that the beauty of humanity is that we are all different. We all have different attributes and characteristics that make us special and key members of this society. Those with disabilities are no different. I'm certain that those reading this blog have already internally pledged to stop using this word but if you haven't then I encourage you to stop. I would hope that people would open their eyes, their minds and most importantly their hearts and realize that this word needs to stop being used.