>Why is the R word so offensive?

>A few days ago an anonymous comment was left on one of my entries asking why the R word is more offensive to me than idiot or moron.

For some reason that seemed to be a bit of a difficult question for me to answer; I’m not sure why.  I think for me it’s an obvious thing (not that I mean to suggest the person who asked the question is wrong, I should probably make my points clearer when I write).  I’ve been wanting to respond but not sure how to.

I think that both the I word and the M word aren’t used as deliberate insults designed to target and hurt a specific group of society any more.  I’m not sure of their origins as words.  The R word however, that’s no longer used in it’s correct/original useage – to describe someone with a specific type of disability in a medical way.  It’s used to ridicule and to hurt a specific group of people. Disabled people.  And it’s unacceptable.

If you’re going to take one thing away from this entry, you could take anything I’ve written above, I hope I’ve made it clearer than I did before.  But I’d much rather you went and looked at this post about a much loved daughter and the R word.  It says it much better than I ever could.

Or you could go and read about the battle Nicky Clark had with Ofcom and Channel 4 about the R word being used.  750 Mencap members gave evidence of the hurt and hate they’d encountered from the R word. Yet it still took a protest and multiple appeals before anything was done.  As Nicky wrote in her post, if the terms used had been racist or anti religion the apology would have been immediate.  This isn’t a small problem, it’s a big one.  Unfortunately however it’s a big one not many people take seriously.

And I’m one of a group of people who want to change that.  That’s why the R word bothers me more than the I word (idiot), the M word (moron).

>”adverse medical conditions”

>Outside the supermarket earlier there was a guy collecting money for a charity providing days out for kids. I forget the name which I’m annoyed about because I had intended to e-mail them about their ableist language on the board they had up.

The conditions of the children they help include, in this order:
Cancer, Leukaemia, Cerebral Palsy, The deaf and blind, terminal illnesses and other adverse medical conditions.
This is their wording, not mine.
So first I was a bit like “cancer, leukaemia, CP??!”
I don’t know why but it just struck me as a strange list. Two serious life threatening illnesses, a touch of CP, two other disabilities then oh look better fit something more serious in to finish off, terminal. Could be taken as the disabilities being as bad as the rest. Not that any of the conditions are “bad” per se just in terms of seriousness.
And their wording really, really sucks. The Deaf and blind? Uh, no thanks.
I really wish that if charities and organisations want to improve lives for PWD or illnesses or other challenges they considered their language and they way the portray people in that. Because days out are nice, and Make a Wish trips can provide wonderful memories and a break from the medical. Wheelchairs and equipment are very useful as well as often life changing.
But phrasing things in a different way also has the potential to shape the world and change lives. Refer to these kids or adults or whatever as “Emma has CP” rather than “CP sufferer Emma” or “People who are deaf and blind” rather than “the deaf and blind.”
I totally get that the charities play on pity to raise their money. And maybe they feel that using more inclusive language would prevent them making the difference they do now due to a drop in donations. But changing their language and the spin they put on things has the potential to change the world in another way.
It would help end negative stereotypes, stop reinforcing them in the public’s consciousness and it would also do a lot of people in these situations a hell of a lot of good to stop hearing how terrible people consider their lives to be and how they feel sorry for them etc etc. It would never happen but it would be such a great boost of self esteem.
Oh and finally, adverse medical conditions? I never considered CP to be “adverse” before. Hard at times, yeah. But so is life. And CP to me isn’t generally a big deal. I didn’t really like seeing CP on that list, made me feel strange. Sort of :-S
Obviously I do realise that comes down to the whole never having known any different thing however.