The “R” Word

Last night I got into an argument discussion on a friend’s Facebook page.

A friend of hers used the word “retarded” to describe a person child that she didn’t agree with. The child she was referring to was this Girl Scout, who lives in California and is boycotting the Girl Scout Organization because they are allowing a transgendered child to participate in a Colorado based Girl Scout troop. Do I agree with what this girl is doing? No, but that’s another post entirely. BUT is that justification to refer to her as retarded? Absolutely not. It’s especially appalling that this name calling comes from an adult. A MOTHER in fact.

It’s ironic that she is upset by a child who is taking a stand against something she doesn’t think is right yet she resorts to name calling. I think this is what some people refer to as the pot calling the kettle black.

But back to the point of the discussion.

The “R” word.


I don’t care if you describing an action, a person, a situation, whatever. It’s offensive and inappropriate.

This person accused me of “taking it personally and being butt hurt” Fair enough. It is pretty shocking to see a mother refer to another child as “retarded”

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me, because when I called her out on being offensive, guess what she said to me?

You guessed it! “Don’t be retarded”

How cute right? or not cute.

It get’s better. She then decided that I must be mentally disabled because I didn’t like that she used the “R” word.

Enough re-hashing, you can read the exchange yourself. I’ve blocked the names and faces of the innocent.

r wordr word

If you can’t wrap your head around WHY this word is so offensive to people, you’ve obviously been living under a rock. And if you can’t be respectful when people around you ask you NOT to use the “R” word, then, well, you obviously you are lacking empathy.

In case you are wondering, both of my kids have developmental delays. And even if they were “typically developing” it doesn’t change how I feel about the “R” word. It’s hurtful and hateful and it shouldn’t be used.

It’s funny how the argument comes up that its a generational thing, how “back in the day” people use the word “moron” or “idiot” Even better that the conversation continued (after I stopped responding) and went on to talk about racial slurs and how that has changed too and was once accepted. Seriously? That’s justification for using an offensive word? Because a form of it was once accepted?

How about setting an example for society and YOUR CHILDREN and just stop using them. The “R” Word, racial slurs, all of them. There is never a time or place for them. Ever. You aren’t being cute or funny when you use them. It just makes you look like an uneducated, insensitive JERK.


About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. We don’t say that word at any cost! It is very offensive

  2. That is horrible. No one should use that word- it is offensive and unnecessary.

  3. So not cool. And if someone said it around my child (which they have,) I would get away from that person because that’s just as bad as cursing IMO. Highly offensive and just plain ignorant. You did the right thing.

  4. I agree 1000%!!! My sons also have developmental delays. Recently, someone (another blogger no less!) made a comment referring to sometimes feeling like she “should be taking the short bus”. I found that highly offensive because, well, my sons used to take “the short bus” to school. It was OBVIOUS what she meant by the comment, but played it off as just joking or didn’t mean for me to take it literally. People need to educate themselves and really need to think before they speak. I am definitely appreciative of the people who mentioned above that they will try harder to refrain themselves from using the R word.

  5. You would think that most people nowadays would know better. That word is highly offensive. Some need to be better educated and learn some manners.

  6. Rachel Collins says:

    The r-word is HATE speech, it is offensive. Those who don’t think its a big deal, substitute that r-word with the name of your children, tell me how easily those words come out of your mouth. My son has physical and developmental disabilities, he is a PERSON. Those who throw around that r-word are trying to dehumanize people who are like my son. It is sad for them, because people like my son are stronger and the most determined people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I am inspired every day to do better, instead of saying “I can’t”… I look at my son and all that he’s accomplished, while doctors were still saying “he would never”. The boy who was never meant to survive after birth, the boy who doctors said would never speak, never walk… He’s walking and finding his voice to speak up and against those bullies who think it is perfectly alright to attack him and use such hurtful words like “retard”. My son was called “that retarded kid” by another adult, as though my son wasn’t a person and unable of hearing such hate. My son turned around and said “That’s not nice, you learn a new R-word… you learn RESPECT”.

    I think your message may have changed the minds of some, maybe not that angry woman. You may never know the impact you had, but I can almost assure you that somebody took away with a message to put a person first and not to use such a hurtful word. The comments below your blog should be proof enough, people are listening. This is being talked about, people with intellectual disabilities have a voice and one heck of a large group of cheerleaders and champions for them!

    • Tauna Watt says:

      This is something that was commented on an Im glad to see that the voice of this is still being heard! If we dont stand up an protect the ones we care about an knowing this is something they could an would not ever put other down NO matter what it is about not just the “R” Word! I have a child that is severely handicap an he cant walk talk crawl sit up an has seizures! I feel like this is something that should be dealt with an I did give the person a suggestion on how to make a difference an build the strength of many of challenged people an this could give anybody the chance to stand up an not take it! Look back an see where I posted an if anybody comes across being Bullied regardless of what it might be this is way to not let them get away with it an stop them!

      Tauna with the greatest gift my son’s 1 with CP severely & 1 that is his ROCK for each other!

  7. So incredibly offensive, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m glad you called her out and hopefully it eventually sinks in how horrible it is to use the R word in this way

  8. I normally don’t try to get offended by uses of words like this, but I agree that setting an example for your kids. We used to not be bothered by the word “gay” (instead of stupid) until our daughter said she might be gay. It’s important when you are in mixed company to realize that comments like this might just be very offensive and try to be respectful of their requests to not use that word. It’s called common courtesy. As far as that issue. I think it’s RIDICULOUS that child is boycotting. Being transgendered is such a hard thing to go through especially as a child. Kudos to the Girl Scouts for allowing a transgendered child in a troop.

  9. My son has autism and we hard that world way too often. All I can do is teach my kids not to do it and hope it pays forward from there.

  10. It really boggles my mind that they didn’t understand why it was offensive to use that word. :/ You just can not teach some people.

  11. Do not like hearing this story – it’s very hateful using any type of word like this. We were close to a boy when I was a kid who had development delays and I would see first hand…people are THINKLESS!

  12. Totally agree with you! My younger son is slower to talk than normal children and someone said that to him the other day and I about lost it! People don’t realize how much words can hurt!

  13. That’s a really horrible word, I used to use it when I was younger and didn’t know any better but once I got older, I learned it’s quite offensive.

  14. While I do absolutely hate the r-word being used for anything, I hated it when it was the final conclusion of 7 months of evaluations (well, that and autism) for my son. I hate it when people use it on social media to describe anyone they disagree with. I even hated it when I was a 2nd grader in the mid 1980s. It’s a horrible word, my mom would of killed us had we used it, but we never actually did, cause we we were able to figure out it wasn’t ok all on our own.

    …but saying a trans kid is doing the wrong thing is equally as offensive and wrong, or perhaps even more so, since that was intentionally against a child living as their true gender identity, as opposed to an idiot using an inappropriate word for it’s “slang” meaning(s). Intentional discrimination, which saying you “don’t agree with” a child being trans is intentionally discriminatory, isn’t actually ok, ever.

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