Blog post

Are you still using the ‘R’ word?

October 8, 2019Priyanka Calvert


You are a retard.

I remember when I was in primary school way back in the early 90’s, that word flowed off the tongue without a second thought.  Everyone used it. I never paused to think about its true intent. Maybe I still wouldn’t have given it a second thought if I hadn’t had a daughter born with a severe disability.

Suddenly that word took on its true meaning. Every single time I heard it uttered, it felt like someone had taken a knife and plunged it in my heart. I relived Lily’s diagnosis all over again, her limited life expectancy, her prognosis; it all flashed before my eyes.

Every single time I hear that word I want to scream. Because, yes my lovely readers – yes. My baby was retarded.  

But she was so much more than that. She was a princess warrior, a bringer of love and light, a life changing, truth telling, joy bringing wonder baby. An angel, who now lives among the stars.

Help me make her a game changer too. Together we can use the power of her story to eradicate the R word from our speech.

I am shocked how often I hear people still using it in 2019.  Lovely people who do not intend to hurt. But it’s not good enough anymore to say ‘oh I don’t mean anything by it’.  

In my view, the R word is a form of vitriol targeted at an often defenseless population of people, who suffer daily from discrimination that is very real and painful.

It is time to stop. Today.

This post is not about pointing the finger or assigning blame.  As a society we are all guilty, particularly any one from my early 90’s primary school cohort. I am putting my hand up right now to say I’ve been guilty.

It’s about creating an opportunity to reflect and make change.  Admit it. Draw a line in the sand and consciously commit to eradicating the ‘R’ word from your language. Pick a new word and stick with it and if you do find that you accidently slip up – call yourself out on it. Use it as an opportunity to educate others. Call your friends out on it, talk about why it does hurts to use this word. Pledge to donate $2 to Lily’s fund if you say it.  Together we can create a game changing movement. We can remove the R word.

Are you with me?

Please please tag, share this post on @thelilyflower_ on Instagram





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