To the Radio Station That Described the Weather as 'Retarded'

The other day one of your radio hosts so eloquently used the word “retarded” to describe the weather. It was brought to my attention on my Facebook page, Happy Soul Project, and I posted this on your Facebook Page:

unnamed (1) (1)

I didn’t post it so anyone would lose their job or get in trouble in any way, shape or form. I totally realize it wasn’t said in malice or directed at anyone. It was simply used as slang in a way someone wouldn’t even realize is offending.

See here’s the thing. Before I had my daughter, Pip, who just happens to have Down syndrome, I probably used that same word to describe my brother when he annoyed me, any form of exercise because I can’t stand it and like your host, the weather. It wasn’t said with the intent to hurt anyone; it was used as “that’s so gay” might be — not with hate but still both wrong.

Even after having Pip, close people in my life still use the word without thinking. And while I’m not normally an “R-word Crusader,” I have to honestly admit I cringe inside each and every time I hear it said.

And if I cringe and am not über sensitive about it, you can imagine how hurtful it would seem to others who are. You see, some people fight tirelessly to spread the word to end this word. To have it so casually used in the media, it’s as if it takes all their efforts back a bunch of steps.

There’s also the issue and responsibility of being a voice and changing social perspective from behind your microphone. Because we’re consciously making an effort to not use that word in our home, to then have my 3-year-old hear it used to describe the weather through the media just isn’t right. I understand he will hear it at school, within society, through friends, etc., but the media should be the place where we are leading the way on change.

You’ve issued an apology:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 8.16.09 AM

I want to applaud you for listening to others and realizing one small word can hold such power. But after reading comments, there’s obviously still so much to do to educate:

“If she loses her job it will be retarded…”

“Wow… our society is way too sensitive. If you are afraid of being offended don’t listen to any sort of media… or venture outside your home for that matter. Get a life.”

“It doesnt surprise me that ppl are taking a big defense to the word ‘retarded’ or any bad word for that matter, we can’t sing our national anthem at school because we defend ppl, we can’t say merry Christmas: because we defend ppl and its all complete bullshit if you ask me”

“This is retarded to be discussing this. Its a word. A word that can be used to describe and emphasize many diferent things”

“O ya bc im over weight should i take offense of the holiday fat Tuesday… its just uggg a friggin word people get over it.”

And a real special one: “Here is a new word some people are fuctards’.

Listen, I get it, I really do. I’m a writer, I live and breath words. It is just a word. But look what one little word can do. Look what one little word can evoke in people, both good and bad. Look how one little word can powerfully start a conversation.

So, I guess in a way, thank you for describing the weather that way. Because you started a greater conversation to bring awareness to where change is needed.

This post originally appeared on Happy Soul Project.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Down Syndrome

You Don’t Have to Be Brave, You Just Have to Be Mommy

The word “Down syndrome” first came into our world a little over two and a half years ago. In “I Didn’t Want Him,” I shared my initial reaction to finding out the baby boy I was carrying would be born with Down syndrome. I know everyone copes in different ways; some do it better than others. [...]

A Stranger Unknowingly Said the Words I Needed to Hear After My Daughter’s Diagnosis

Our precious daughter, Amelia, was born on December 14, 2014. She was the only baby born that day at what is normally a very busy hospital. We joke that she liked the spotlight from day one. Shortly after Amelia was born, our nurse noticed something might be wrong. She called down to the nurse practitioner [...]

Tim Tebow Just Made This the Best Prom Season Ever

Over the weekend, former NFL player Tim Tebow’s foundation helped kids with special needs all over the country feel like royalty. The Tim Tebow Foundation celebrated its five-year anniversary by throwing a prom-like night for people with special needs in up to 50 cities across the country, according to the Tim Tebow Foundation website. The event, called [...]

I'm Weak. Here's Why I'm OK With That.

My son, William, has been sick for the last couple of weeks. Very sick. We spent three days in the hospital getting breathing treatments for the flu, made it home for a couple of days and then ended up here in the children’s hospital on a ventilator. William started to seize and had to be [...]