I had something happen last night... and I thought of my blogging friend Lisa. She has 2 blogs. One is about her "everyday" adventures in motherhood as a mother to 6 kids (including a set of twins and a baby with Down syndrome). One is dedicated to her son Finnian. He has Down syndrome.
Lisa has written on the subject of language a few times. Specifically, how it feels for her, for her kids... when someone glibly uses the word "retard." Like this post. And this one. And this one.
Let me start by saying that it isn't a word I use... but I have to admit that it has probably slipped into my vernacular from time to time.
Last night, we had our weekly dinner at church. As we lined up to head through the food line, I hear 3 teenage boys in front of me.
"Huh-huh. Look at the plate. It looks like a happy retard face. Huh-huh."
"Yeah. Retard. *snort*"
"Yeah. Happy retard. Heheheheh."
I'm not happy. I don't like the language.
But hello!!! Duh! This is my church and we are all about community and raising each other in Christ and all that jazz.
I take a step forward, look at each boy, and say "Please stop using that word. It is offensive to a lot of people. You might find it funny- but it really isn't. Please stop."
The 2 older boys stop. They look down, appearing a little embarrassed. The younger teen, who is somewhat known for being obnoxious, I think, and who seems to think he will impress the older boys... looks at me and says "What word? RETARD?"
Little shit. I oughta...
But I figure a teen boy is like a dog. When they snap at you, they are expecting you to back down. So that they then assert themselves in a pack leader role.
I don't fall for it with dogs. I'm not falling for it with this boy. Afterall, I know his mother is here!
So I keep eye contact, never flinch, never blink. I lean forward and say "Yep." I lean in further, grit my teeth (because I'm the alpha female, thank you) and say "That's the word."
He backs down- stops laughing, breaks eye contact, looks at his feet.
Alpha female wins.
Anyway- my point is that I stood up for what was right. Even if it would have been easier to ignore them, easier to act like I didn't hear them. After the fact, I realized that I'd done this in front of my kids. This was a good lesson for Teagan. She maybe didn't understand everything that was going on. She maybe wasn't following what Mommy was doing... but no matter... she saw Mommy choose the right thing vs the easy thing.
Do the right thing.