When people say the word "retard", honestly, I don't always want to speak up.
For example, when a close friend or family member says "retard" or "retarded" I know for sure they aren't using it in a derogatory way. They aren't thinking of Polly or Evie. I know they love my kids. They have simply gotten in the habit of using slang. They probably don't even realize what it means and I know I will embarrass them when I point out their choice of wording.
When people say the word "retard", sometimes I don't want to speak up because I am tired. There are days when I don't want to be an advocate. If I'm out with a group of girlfriends, or at a dinner party, I don't want to stop the conversation and explain to the person who used the word how it is offensive. I don't want to ask her to please stop. I just want to eat my food and enjoy my time.
When people say the word "retard", there are many times I want to let it go. I want to ignore it because I don't want to be classified as a mother to a child with Down syndrome. I just want to be known as a mom: Elaina's mom, Zoya's mom, Polly's mom, and Evie's mom.
When people say the word "retard", or poke fun in some other way at people with disabilities, I don't always want to correct them. If they are going to be stupid and offensive, let them. I don't have a well full of energy these days. I'd rather focus on other things.
When people say the word "retard"...
I make myself speak up, even if I am tired, or if I want to just be known as a mom in that circle or if I know that the person doesn't mean what she says.
Because I am a mother to two children with Down syndrome. I am an advocate. And I want to be a good friend and family member. And a lot of times that includes educating people on the use of 'retard' as hate speech.
I speak up because someday Polly will hear that word, and she may know what it means, and it could break her heart.
So if you are around me and you say "retard" and poke fun at people with disabilities... be forewarned that it is my duty to speak up.
Because of my love for my kids.