Retard

‘RETARD’

A mother’s response to a barren harpy: ONE MORE THING

“I’ve been mulling over this Ann Coulter fiasco and feeling conflicted, still, on whether or not to keep making a fuss. I understand people’s assertions that Ann Coulter is about making a fuss and that our outrage and disdain for her fuels her. I understand, too, and lean probably closer to the assertion that it’s terrible to say nothing and that fueling her fire is perhaps the price to pay because silence is far, far worse. One of my favorite bloggers, Stephen Kuusisto of Planet of the Blind writes that Ann Coulter’s name-calling has strayed glibly into fascist rhetoric. I’m not going to stop thinking about it or talking about it, either, no matter the initial “power” it lends Coulter.

Last night, after emailing a bit with another mother of a child with special needs, I thought about the publicity in general and how good it is in general. I thought about the huge numbers of people who have come to my blog over the past three days, when I’ve written about this. I thought about the many people I know that continue to use the word retard in conversation, casually, and while they might remember not to when I’m around, or quickly apologize if it slips out, they’re still using it. A woman who performed in Expressing Motherhood, a warm and funny and beautiful person in every way, made a comment that she felt like a retard. I recently went to a lunch with a group of women, most of whom were my close friends, and one of them described herself as a big retard when she ran. Now, I know these people don’t think anything of this word and perhaps don’t even realize how hurtful — even devastating — it can be, to me, to Oliver, to Henry or The Husband. I’m not sure whether they realize that when they describe themselves as stupid or goofy, they’re comparing themselves to Sophie. I’m thinking, though, that big splashes like the Ann Coulter one might imprint in otherwise wonderful, loving people and that they might, at last be educated. I’m hoping that they read some of the letters and emails and blog posts and Facebook updates that I’ve seen these past few days, have written myself, and really work harder on how they communicate.

And if they don’t, I’m afraid I have to agree with many others that it’s a reflection of their characters, and they are, basically, assholes — no better than Ann Coulter.

What do you think?”

*Editor’s note: Visit this wonderful site and say hello to Elizabeth. Thanks to Tara Dharma.

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