I’ve posted about using the word ‘retard’ in the past. It’s obviously something thats near and dear to our hearts to advocate for. It is something we will never get used to hearing, and nor should we. When I hear that word on a TV show or movie my heart sinks a bit and it stings. When I hear friends use the word in casual conversation it stings even more. But last week I heard something that felt like a knife to the gut….
There’s a show we love on Netflix. It’s a show like no other. Season 3 of this show was released a couple weeks ago and we had to refrain from binge watching all at once. Our plan didn’t really work as we were done all 13 episodes within a week! One evening after Jaxson was in bed we sat down to watch an episode. At one part in this episode 2 characters were throwing breadcrumbs at ducks swimming in a pond. 1 of the characters turn to the other and said:
“I’m going for the Downsy one”
It honestly took about 20 seconds to register what was just said. Even then we had to rewind just to be sure we heard correctly. Yup, we did. “I’M GOING FOR THE DOWNSY ONE”.
Instantly I felt like throwing up. From that point it felt like a heavy dark cloud was looming over us as we sat on the couch and painfully finished the episode. The topic came up in conversation a few times later that night as well.
It hurt. I can live with hearing ‘retard’. It’s not pleasant, it doesn’t feel good, but by now I can handle hearing the word on TV. But to have the word ‘retard’ substituted for ‘downsy’ is plain disgusting and vial. It was a direct jab at Jaxson, a direct jab at all people who have Down syndrome and all people who love someone with Down syndrome.
It’s a tough one to write and complain about because this show is VERY controversial. Rape, racism, drugs, alcohol, sex, more sex, and more sex on top of that. I’m willing to bet that 99% of viewers didn’t even pick up on the ‘downsy’ comment because it was so ‘tame’ compared to the rest of the show.
I took a couple of weeks to think about it before writing about it. At the end of the day I have come to the conclusion that since we were watching such a controversial show where anything goes we were kind of setting ourselves up for it. It comes down to choosing your battles and this isn’t one to fight. Now had the same comment been used on any sort of show that is ‘ok for cable TV’ that would be another story!
It’s still sickening, it’s still no ok, and it still really really hurt. So even though this instance is not a battle I chose to fight or consume my mind with we will keep on educating about the use of hurtful words.
Please make a conscientious effort to eliminate words like ‘retard’ and worse from your vocabulary. They hurt Jaxson and they hurt us. Thank you!
2 thoughts on “Like A Knife To The Gut – Choosing Your Battles”
I have to admit I am one of those people who absolutely did NOT realize that word had been used in the episode with feeding the ducks….but, thank you for your reminder to watch what so casually comes out of our mouths!!!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with us all!!!!
I am a special education teacher who dearly loves each and every one of my students. Every few months, someone I know, will blurt out the “retard” word in conversation. “Don’t be retarded”, “He’s such a retard (to someone that does not have a disability)”, my heart just sinks and there’s just a bit of a sting and resentment towards who said it. It’s a shame we have to grow thick skin, but unfortunately you will hear it, and worse, that sweet baby boy of yours will hear it too during his life. Maybe this is helping prepare you for how you will teach Jax to deal with it when the time comes. I love you both, and that sweet little guy is such a blessing.