By BROOKE RUDISILL
We as humans experience all emotions. We as dreamers have our own goals and aspirations. When you take away all of the stereotypes and misjudgments, mankind is actually just as alike as we are different. But the question still remains as to why society still discriminates and compares one another in unjust ways, such as, negative minority slurs?
Today marks the second annual End the “R” Word 5k Run, held at the University Quad with registrations starting at 3:30 p.m. and the run taking off at 5:15 p.m.
Last year, this event brought students and faculty members together in honor of spreading awareness of ending the use of the word retard(ed). This year the event is looking forward to surpass the numbers of student involvement with the high quantity of volunteers.
End the “R” Word is a national campaign that has partnered up with Spread the Word to End the Word.
The “R” word is commonly used by society and medical professionals as a negative label toward individuals who are perceived to be too “stupid,” “slow” or “handicapped.”
Words are extremely powerful and when individuals with intellectual disabilities hear the use of the “R” word, it makes them feel like they are less valued members of society. Every human being has a completely different thought process than one another, regardless of if they have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability. Just because someone may perceive life in a different way does not make them any less of a being.
“One of our jobs as young adults is to break the social norm from what language used to be. Using the ‘R’ word to describe someone who may act, process or even think differently is not a justifiable reason to describe those who have an intellectual disability,” said Gary Pelletier, senior. “If this movement can change the way even one person speaks, then we’ve done our part on making a difference in the way that language is used today.”
This year, Knights of the Roundtable has teamed up with Best Buddies to hold this event. Along with these two organizations, the event planning committee consists of six dedicated individuals. Since January, the committee has been working closely with the Center for Student Involvement, Campus Recreation, Campus Safety and Morayma James, from the International Student Services, in hopes to increase the amount of awareness.
“Most people don’t realize how offensive the ‘R’ word is because it’s used so commonly,” said Laurra Gilli, alumna. “I understand that. However, just because something is a social norm doesn’t mean that it’s right. Our objective is to spread awareness and advocate for those who we love with intellectual differences.”
Many have family members, friends or coworkers who are intellectually disabled and will testify to the fact that the use of that word not only degrades the individual in which the label was directed to, but also the person who uses the derogative term to describe another being.
Not one person is exactly the same as another. Every person has completely different perceptions, moral values and passions. But we all share one goal, and that is live life to the fullest and to embrace and accept all of the diversity that each one of us brings to this world. Take a stand today at the End The “R” Word 5k Run and break the social norm by fighting to end the use of minority slurs. It only takes one person to make a change in the lives of others.