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Bianchini: Stop using the R-word

BY FRANCESCA BIANCHINI | MARCH 13, 2013 5:00 AM

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Whoever coined the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” clearly had a couple of screws loose.

Individuals can tear someone down verbally just as quickly as they can physically. The worst part is that they may not even realize it. The word “retard” has increasingly found a place alongside common insults such as “stupid” or “idiot” in everyday conversation.

Yet while insulting someone’s intelligence can be mean, using the R-word to describe someone with intellectual disabilities or even as a joke to a close friend takes the viciousness to a whole new level.
Yet what did students at the University of Iowa do?

Diddlysquat. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Need I go on? It would be beneficial for the community and the university to do more in promoting awareness for the barring of this word.

Events put on by the university to promote awareness would help isolate and shed light on the problem while allowing students to come together in helping to stop using the R-word as an insult.
Not to mention, the use of the R-word as a joke is becoming much more frequent in the media.

Movies such as The Hangover and Napoleon Dynamite throw the R-word around as if it’s no big deal.

Sure, the R-word used to be the politically correct word to use, and most people don’t intend for it to be seriously offensive to anyone. Mistakes happen, and mouths move quicker than thoughts.

But just as sticks and stones, words do hurt. So next time you feel like joking around and verbally insulting someone, avoid the R-word. Pick up a dictionary, and come up with a new insult.  You never know who might be listening.


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