Why Pledge

The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It's offensive. It's derogatory.

Our campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.  Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.  Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language.


The effects of the R-word on people with ID and their families and friends

"Everyone has a gift and the world would be better off if we recognized it." - Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.  The R-word is hate speech. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurt...Open "Everyone has a gift and the world would be better off if we recognized it."

Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.  


The R-word is hate speech
. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech. 

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How "retardation" went from a clinical description to a word of derision

When they were originally introduced, the terms “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” were medical terms with a specifically clinical connotation; however, the pejorative forms, “retard” and “re...Open When they were originally introduced, the terms “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” were medical terms with a specifically clinical connotation; however, the pejorative forms, “retard” and “retarded” have been used widely in today’s society to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, when “retard” and “retarded” are used as synonyms for “dumb” or “stupid” by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity. 

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Why "intellectual disability" is replacing "mental retardation"

The R-word, "retard," is slang for the term mental retardation. Mental retardation was what doctors, psychologists, and other professionals used to describe people with significant intellectual imp...Open The R-word, "retard," is slang for the term mental retardation. Mental retardation was what doctors, psychologists, and other professionals used to describe people with significant intellectual impairment. Today the r-word has become a common word used by society as an insult for someone or something stupid. For example, you might hear someone say, "That is so retarded" or "Don't be such a retard." When used in this way, the r-word can apply to anyone or anything, and is not specific to someone with a disability. But, even when the r-word is not said to harm someone with a disability, it is hurtful.Because of this, Special Olympics, Best Buddies and the greater disability community prefers to focus on people and their gifts and accomplishments, and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes. As language has evolved, Special Olympics and Best Buddies have updated their official terminology to use standard, people-first language that is more acceptable to constituents.

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Rosa’s Law and Legislature Challenges

On October 5, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama officially signed bill S. 2781 into federal law. Rosa’s Law, which takes its name and inspiration for 9-year-old Rosa Marcellino, removes the terms “men...Open On October 5, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama officially signed bill S. 2781 into federal law. Rosa’s Law, which takes its name and inspiration for 9-year-old Rosa Marcellino, removes the terms “mental retardation” and "mentally retarded" from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with people first language “individual with an intellectual disability” and “intellectual disability.” The signing of Rosa’s Law is a significant milestone in establishing dignity, inclusion and respect for all people with intellectual disabilities.

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Pledge your support to eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word.

PledgeactPledges

We've Pledged!

  • I have been a Special Olympics coach, a Best Buddy, and have worked in a group home with special needs youth. I've seen how much the r-word can really hurt and I personal...

    ...

    Darby Smith

    Omaha, Nebraska
    36 hours ago

  • We pledge to stand against the R-word. At our school we have a best buddies program where you can become friends with kids with disabilities, and hang out with them in or...

    ...

    Hayden & Grace

    Chicago, Illinois
    168 hours ago

  • I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabil...

    ...

    Christian

    Indianapolis, Indiana
    212 hours ago

  • I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabil...

    ...

    charlotte

    indianapolis, Indiana
    213 hours ago

  • We pledge to not use the R-Word in a derogatory way. It is offensive, stereotypes others, ignorant, and hurtful. It shouldn't be used at all. We respect everyone and thei...

    ...

    Mr. Murawski's Advisory

    Oak Park , Illinois
    240 hours ago

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