I hate “the n word.” Not nigger or nigga, but “the n word.” I don’t like it in either form, but to dumb down the historical context of both words drives me crazy. You can’t just abridge nigger in an effort to erase the ugly hatred that accompanied it or believe that changing its spelling truly changes its meaning. I ignore the discomfort of most Americans by deliberately including it in my vocabulary — just like Emmet Till’s mother insisted on having an open casket to show how her son was brutally murdered.
So, what do I hate more: “The H Word.” Handicapped is the noose on the neck for all individuals with disabilities. There is no place for it, except in sports. The word diminishes ability, demeans individuals, and denotes limitation.
This past, Silent Sunday, I showed a picture of a “Handicapped Parking Sign” in a store parking lot. Don’t we all know what the blue sign and/or wheelchair symbol means by now? Some signs simply read “Reserved Parking,” but it is still ignorantly called handicapped parking. And how could you not since its etched in our brains at every moment? Most signage in America says handicapped, unlike Europe, where most signs are wordless or read “Disabled Badge Holders.” So, when are we going to change our offensive language?
Ask Sarah Palin. I hardly ever agree with the lipstick-wearing pitbull. Her position sways. Her words confuse. Her tirade infuriates. But on the flip side, she’s passionate and protective. I applaud her attempt to remove the derogatory connotation of “The R Word” (although the GOP’s diabolical savior, Rush Limbaugh, later got a pass.) Retard or retarded is equally offensive, but some folks even take it a step further by using it as a negative reference to an individual.
I am on a similar mission. It’s time to start being aware of what comes out of our mouths and stop making excuses for unabashedly belittling others.
Keep it Moving!