January 30, 2010

Rahm Emanuel and the "R-word"

Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, was quoted by White House staffers in a Wall Street Journal article this past week of saying "f-ing retarded" in regards to a proposed plan of which he disapproved. This saddening use of an epithet which many have be campaigning to eliminate is just the second strike by the Obama administration against people with special needs, as Obama previously made jokes about the Special Olympics while appearing on the Jay Leno show. (He compared his low bowling score to the Special Olympics on national TV)

Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver responded to Rahm Emanuel's language in a LETTER to Emanuel in which he explained how his words perpetuate the stereotypes and ostracism of the disabled, and are “just as painful as any number of racial or ethnic slurs, jokes or taunts that society has committed to eradicating from our lexicon.”

It is painful to hear many people within the general public use the "R-word" as a slur in their everyday language to describe things negatively, but it is even more appalling that the President and his own staffers are doing the same thing in public and on television. Speech like this does nothing to create an atmosphere of acceptance of people with disabilities or any kind of differences.

For info on Special Olympics’ “Spread the word to end the word,” campaign against the use of the word “retard” - click HERE.

To read about Rahm's later apology to Shriver, click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...just wow. Even without the reprehensible use of the "r-word", his wordage is just crass and completely inappropriate for someone of his position. It makes me wonder, who ARE these people that are running our country?!