To the Boy Who Yelled the R-Word at Me Out of Anger
Whoever trademarked the famous phrase, sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me, should have realized how wrong they were. Band-Aids and ice packs can heal wounds, but how do you stop the pain of words shouted at you like a dagger in the heart?
There are a lot of names you can call me. I can handle swear words, but you took it one step too far when you dragged in the r-word. Everyone knows the true meaning behind it, and so did you when you yelled it at me in front of all of my friends. It didn’t matter that you weren’t saying it directly to my brother, the 21-year-old whom you have met and always said you loved so much. It didn’t matter that you were just saying it out of one of your usual spouts of anger. The only thing that mattered was that you said it, and it didn’t even make you flinch.
To me, the r-word isn’t the same as a swear word, no matter how loudly or aggressively you yell it at me. When you use the r-word to me or around me, you are using a word that directly offends my brother, whether you mean it that way or not. When you use that word, you are just further proving how ignorant you are about such a large portion of the global population. You are carelessly throwing a word around that you clearly do not understand. You are taking my background with disabilities and using it as a way to get inside my head and hurt me. This goes farther than just me and my beliefs and you finding a way to get under my skin. This is you using a word that blatantly offends an entire group of people who face enough discrimination and bullying without you adding to it. And yes, when you say that word in any context, you are adding to it.
I wish I could educate you. I wish I could get it through your head that words hurt and there is a line you don’t belong across. The r-word is not for you to use. It’s not for anyone to use. I have tried and tried to get that into everyone’s head, but somehow it must’ve slipped past your ears, so maybe this article will reach you in the right way. When you said it and ran, I knew you couldn’t face the fact that you had crossed that line one time too many. I don’t know if I would’ve forgiven you had you apologized. I don’t know if I’ll ever believe you again when you tell me you love my brother. All I know is facing your mistakes and educating yourself on the wrongs you have done is much more mature than running and pretending it never happened.
Stopping the r-word is a real movement. The r-word is offensive and wrong to a large community of people. It is a word that hurts me, my family and millions of other people around the globe. It is not slang. It is not acceptable. It is inappropriate and wrong in every situation.
So the next time you decide to let your temper get the best of you, please at least remember you’re hurting more than whoever you’re yelling at by using the r-word. There are thousands of words in the English language. Buy a dictionary and educate yourself on a wider and more mature range of vocabulary.
Spread the Word to End the Word! You can head here to pledge to stop using the R-word. It’s a step toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.
The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment where you experienced intolerance or inaccessibility. What needs to happen to change this? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.