First, let me be clear that I don't think what our President said was out of hate. I believe it was out of ignorance. Is our President an ignorant person? Of course not. He's far from it. Rather, his off the cuff remark is a reflection of a cultural ignorance.
There was a time in our country's history that its people displayed prejudice and hate towards some of its citizens by using language that was meant to degrade them. That prejudice was based upon race. And it was passed down from generation to generation. Some grew up knowing nothing but this way of thinking. And it wasn't until brave people decided that enough was enough and stood up for what was right that that began to change. And we're still working towards that change. But we've made some progress...
I hope our President's comment can be a catalyst. I hope it can be a jolt to the system, the broken system, and open peoples' eyes to a prejudice that still exists within our society today. A prejudice towards people with intellectual disabilities.
I found an article on cnn.com that I thought was awesome in its explanation of the campaign that the Special Olympics is launching to combat the use of the "r-word". This article led me to another page launched by the Special Olympics called r-word.org. It looks like it's a hub for the campaign.
I'd like to see word of this spread as much as it can. I've even placed a badge at the bottom of the sidebar that leads to the page.
If you know someone with intellectual disabilities, or have a family member, or just want to take part in the movement to help abolish this terrible term and raise awareness, please consider blogging, posting, linking, or using the badge on your own site.
I have a feeling like I'll be writing more on this in the future...