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Family ties

Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 30, 2009

I would like to write in regards to the Pledge to not say the R-word. In my experience, I have heard numerous students discuss tests, professors, and their peers are the r-word (“retarded”), and I never really considered it that offensive until I said the word in front of my grandfather. He immediately chastised my comment because it was an insult that debased an entire group of innocent, wonderful people. He participates in motorcycle rallies in Indianapolis that actually raise significant amounts of money for organizations dedicated to looking for treatments and therapies for the mentally handicapped. He’s met many of the families who are raising their disabled children, and their kids are just as precious and wonderful as any others.

In fact, I have just gained a familial relationship with the r-word. My uncle has adopted a 2-year old orphan from China who was born with a devastating cleft palate. Despite having the boy for two years now, he still cannot properly form words, and is predicted to struggle greatly in school whenever he gets enrolled. He is incapable of being successful in any day care because he still communicates in varied laughs and exclamations. I do not want my cousin to grow up in a world of put-downs, where he is considered inferior and useless to society just because he was born disadvantaged. There is no justice nor respect in his situation, and as a University preaching the ideals of a tight-knit, accepting community, we should all collaborate to support the disadvantaged, and the first step is to deny that they are the r-word.

Deborah Olmstead


Welsh Family

March 30