To be perfectly honest, my immediate response was defensiveness. I mean, really, I have used that word for probably 30 years, but never, that I can remember, in reference to someone with any type of disability. It has become such a part of my everyday vernacular, that at this point, I don't have a clue I am even saying it.
Its just a word, and I was using it in reference to myself!
However, during a conversation with TheVWM, who also has a propensity to use the "R-word", I changed my mind. We were talking about the word, its usage, its meaning, and how it may make others feel. Then she made a statement that really drove the point home for me:
"You would never use the "N-word".
She was right. There is no way I would ever use that word, not in reference to myself, not in reference to anyone else, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't use it at all because I know what kind of pain that word has caused. That word has been used to demean, hurt, and provoke an entire segment of the population since the birth of The Union.
So what is the difference?
To Jason, anyone I may have offended, and really to anyone who reads this blog, I would like to say:
I am sorry, truly sorry.
Now, in the spirit of repentance, I am retiring my use of the "R-word". I no longer want to contribute to any pain and degradation associated with its use, but I need your help.
First off, if you know me, I mean in real life, and you hear me using it, please say something. I do ask that if you have to say something, please do so out of love. I am trying to change here so take it easy.
Second, I am going to need a replacement word. This may sound easy, but I want a word that will not offend anyone. Think about it, I can't use lame because of those amongst us with a peg leg, stupid is out because, well, there are stupid people in this world (I have known a bunch) who may feel debased its use, and what about the folks pulling the slots in casinos, thus no use of loser.
So help me out, send me some suggestions.