Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stinging Sayings

Back in my day (when we walked barefoot in the snow uphill to school both ways), people would often say “That’s retarded!” and now it seems the saying is “That’s gay!” In my house both statements are not allowed, though I’ll be honest and tell you all that I still slip up and say “That’s retarded.” Though it’s very rare, I hate having to admit that. It’s something I’m extremely conscious of.

We shouldn’t be using the words “retarded” and “gay” as negative descriptors. What if I said “That’s retarded!” to a mom with a mentally disabled child? Or, What if one of my kids said “That’s gay!” to a child who is struggling with their sexuality or a person who is gay. We don’t hear anyone say “That’s White!” or “That’s Black!” unless they are talking about something actually that color (and I'm certainly not suggesting anyone do, there are enough racial tensions there still to this day). What I mean is... We could stand to be more aware of what words we are using.

My kids occasionally slip up. And as soon as they do their eyes dart over to me to see if I catch it. I typically do as my mom ears are super-powered :)

Simple Solution:

If your kids say “That’s retarded” or “That’s gay” talk to them about it and explain how hurtful that could be to a person. If they don’t, but their friends do, it may be only a matter of time before they start saying it.

Speak-Up Story:

I live in Michigan City and most of our local fans know that we have an outlet and Lake Michigan which hoards of people come to on the weekends. One weekend, my (almost) mother-in-law, my fiancé, my oldest daughter and I went out to breakfast at Bob Evans for a MCAS fundraiser (a percentage of the bill goes to MCAS).

As we finish our meal we head up to pay and there are a group of women in themed shirts who were going shopping for the day at the outlets. We chatted as we waited in line and further up one of the women told another that her vest was “gay.” I bit my lip. I knew I was planning on becoming a Realtor and be in the public eye and I momentarily struggled with if I should say something. I couldn’t take it. I reached out to the woman with the vest and told her the vest was very nice and I was unsure of how a vest could be “gay.”

The lady was super nice and I can tell she was a bit self conscious of the vest after her friend said that. I am very proud of myself for speaking up and handling it this way. If I didn’t, I know I would be telling this story as something I wish I would’ve done!

So speak up! Don’t let bullying happen, and let’s not pick up sayings that hurt!

I’m stepping down from my soapbox now! :)


No comments:

Post a Comment