A Stop to the R-slur

A Stop to the R-slur

Kynslee White

 How many times have you heard someone say the word retarded? Can you count the exact number? Do you think it’s okay to say this word? Do your friends say it? Do you say it? 

If you don’t use it yourself, you must likely have heard someone else say it. Well I’m here today to talk to you about why we need to make a change in how we use our everyday speech. The R-slur or can also be referred to as the r-word is a hurtful term or part of hate speech. This word originated as a medical term in 1961 for people with actual disabilities. Overtime, this word has become a popular day to day term used to insult people. People who use this word often don’t know what the word means and have little regard for the people they hurt while using this word. 


  •  The research shows that when social media users are posting about people with intellectual disabilities
  • 70 % of social media post are negative towards people with ID
  • 60% of these negative post contains an R-slur 
  • 200 million people with ID globally continue to be marginalized

My Personal View

I personally have always been against the word. Even to the point where I have lost friendships because they would say it around me. I have a brother named Kadin who lives his life with his disability. He is one of the sweet souls put on this earth with down syndrome. In short terms, this is a genetic disorder caused by faulty cell division. This can result in intellectual disabilities, heat defects, different facial features, and overall delay. So to sum it up, he runs slower compared to a typical person. The R word is meant to make fun of people who are like Kadin. So for people to take it and turn into an everyday insult they used to call each other stupid is insulting. They don’t understand that they could have been put on this earth with a disability or along with someone they love. These strong humans with these disabilities were given these limits from the start. So for you to take a word that was meant as an insult to these amazing humans that cannot help and use it against them or turn it into a funny comment with your friend shows who you are as a person. Kadin is the greatest blessing that has happened to me. He may not think the same we do but he is still a human who has feelings. He has a bigger heart than most and doesn’t deserve to be in a world full of people like this.


I asked students around the school how often they heard this slur. These were the results I got:

Often  Sometimes  Never 
Catie Haberman  Anna Campbell  Jade Sanchez
Kynslee White  Kennedy Sandy 
Elle Hutchinson 
Mya Ward 
Ciara Rosa

As you can see, the results vary in-between with results. As you can see the majority put sometimes and then often and only one said never. This shows that this is a slur that is being used even at GBHS.

Special Olympics is an ongoing campaign to spread the word to end the word. They encourage people to take the pledge to stop saying the r-slur. They are trying to engage in schools and communities and it’s a great way to start making the change today. Maybe you didn’t realize the pain that’s brought to some with these words. Make a change today by pledging to stop saying this word at https://www.spreadtheword.global/