Words Have Meaning…And Meaning Matters

6 Mar

Today is the National Day to Spread the Word to End the Word. If you haven’t already pledged, I am asking you to do so now.

Here’s the deal, I’m a writer, I make a life off my words so to tell me “they are just words, they have no meaning,” well I’m gonna call bullshit on that. Wait, did I just curse? But, it’s just a word right? Don’t be so uptight about it.

What people are asking here is not use the word “retard” or “retarded” as an insult or in a joking way when someone does something less than spectacular. What people are NOT doing is ask that the world “retarded” be removed in the case of diagnosis of someone with an intellectual disability. George Takei, whom I love, put up his own PSA about not being overly sensitive to things like the word “niggardly” or “homogenous,” and while he makes a good point, he is missing the point of today. No one in the movement Spread the Word to End the Word is saying we need to abolish it from language. It has meaning in the appropriate context that is good. But it is far more often than not NOT used in the correct context. And that, my friends, is what we are rallying against.

If words did not have meaning, if words could not hurt us, if we could not “use our words” then what point would there be to speaking, writing or reading? The Princess would be way AHEAD of the game, if words did not matter.

There is no reason to call someone a “retard” or “retarded” in an insulting way. If you can’t find a better word to use, time to invest in a dictionary and a thesaurus.

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