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The “R” Slur

Over the last several years society has established several words or slurs that are considered unacceptable because it is meant to harm a specific group. One of these words, the “R” slur, a type of hate speech that stands for “Retard’ or “Retarded” or other offensive words ending in “-tard’, has now become a form of hate speech that people use all too often with little regard for the pain it causes people with intellectual disabilities.

While the term “Mental Retardation” was originally introduced as a medical term in the 1960s for people with intellectual disabilities, in the decades, the “R” slur has become an insult. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed “Rosa’s Law” changing the term “Mental Retardation” to “Intellectual Disability”.

The “R” slur is bullying. According to The Special Olympics and a Kandar study. This study shows that when users on social media post about people with intellectually disabled individuals 7 out of 10 times they are negative and 6 out of 10 times they include the “R” slur.

So, how do we fix it? According to The Special Olympics, the best way to take action is to spread the word. When you hear someone offensively use the term, correct them or explain to them the harmful nature of their speech. Perhaps Sign a pledge to help, or even join a Champaign such as the Spread the Word Inclusion campaign, which is working to spread the sensitive nature of using the “R” slur.


Brooke Decker

Cabot High School


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