Making your own pledge to stop using the R-word and promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities is a terrific first step. At some point however, we will all hear someone else use the R-word and think to ourselves – What do I do now?
It’s a tough question because each situation is unique, no one likes to be seen as “the word police,” and often times it’s just easier to let it go unnoticed and go on about your day. However, now that you’ve taken the R-word pledge, you have a larger opportunity to be an agent of change in the world and speak up when you hear others use the R-word.
Below are some ideas, tips and resources for you to answer the question: What can I do when I hear the R-word?
There are a lot of scenarios in which you may hear the R-word. Here are some typical situations that depict a potential dialogue you can have to help someone understand why it’s important to choose more respectful language. (Note: We welcome suggestions on additional scenarios, and user generated scripts or videos to provide in this space as resources. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hearing the R-Word in Media
The R-word continues to be pervasive in mainstream media. It is still used in television shows, movies, live television interviews and more. The best way to create change in this space is to speak up, loudly. When you hear the R-word used in the media, there are many things you can do to activate immediately.
Hearing the R-word in Person
You may hear the R-word used directly or indirectly, maliciously or non-maliciously, by a friend or a stranger, in a professional setting or on the street. Every situation presents unique challenges and opportunities in deciding what you want to do after you’ve heard the R-word used.
There are many ways to handle many different situations. We’ve put this exact question to our fans on Facebook before and have seen lots of different approaches. Check out what they had to say.
Whatever your method of handling the situation when you hear the R-word in person it’s important that your put safety above all else and do not confront anyone with violence, or threats of violence. The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is about creating communities of respect and inclusion where all people are valued, even those who may disagree with our position, so it’s important to respect their opinions as you want them to respect yours.
Below are some basic tips to help guide you in having a conversation with someone who has used the R-word.
Tips for a successful conversation: