I am still trying to come to terms with how best to "deal with" my issue with the R-Word and other such nonsense.
So, last time I wrote about how I asked a mom from the school not to use the word "retarded" or at least asked her to consider the effect it had on me. Afterwards, I felt guilty - probably by the way I did it (in front of a couple of other moms) - but also really sad inside. Now that I've had time to stew, I find myself resenting more and more her reaction to what I said:
She made excuses.
She complained that nobody can keep up with being politically correct.
She said she wasn't talking about a person, but a situation - so she thought it was okay.
I said something like, "you could just say, the decision was stupid."
To which she pretended to be affronted and said, "You just said stupid!"
In retrospect I should have rolled my eyes and said, "you don't get it, do you?"
Retrospect is a funny thing.
It has vintage-like appeal.
In my head, later on,
I ALWAYS have the right thing to say.
An incident last night helped me put this into perspective. Here's the anecdote:
My son and his friend from middle school were having a funny conversation in the car while I was escorting them home from a movie. The chatter was really cute and silly . . . and I enjoyed being a fly on the wall listening to my son giggle with his buddy. As we neared our house though, friend of son started talking in a funny voice, pretending he was stupid. Then he went on to say he was "mentally challenged."
I pulled the car into our parking spot, and turned around and said, "please don't say that."
He was immediately horrified at what he'd done. He understood exactly why I said it, and why I was asking him not to say it anymore.
He said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't think about it."
To which I said, "but you get why it's important to me, right?"
"Yeah, because of Aidan. I'm so sorry."
"I know you wouldn't purposefully do anything to hurt Aidan, and I know people use it without thinking, but you get it, right?"
As we walked into the house, he said, "I really am sorry about that."
"I know. And thanks."
Now, if an eleven-year-old boy in middle school can understand why it's hurtful, you would think an adult woman who looks after kids for a living and wants to get into a job working in a hospital would get it. Right?
That's so vintage.
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