I posted this on my facebook yesterday, but since not all of my twitter friends are also my facebook friends, I thought I would put it here as well. Let’s just say, I needed to vent yesterday.
I have been a fan of the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast for, oh I don’t know, about 2 years now. I’ve read every book and for the last 2 or 3 ran to the book store the day it came out and snatched it off the shelf, hungry to continue the story. This time around with Destined was no different, I saw it on the shelf and knew without a doubt that 1 copy belonged on my bookshelves. I bought it and got home eager to read it. That all changed when I got to page 11. The very first sentence was:
“They sent a short bus? Really?”
At this point I was a little disappointed, but I owed it to myself to keep reading, partly because I enjoy the series so much, but mostly because I hate wasting money. And then I saw it half way down the page.
“Twin! They sent the retard bus for us!”
I actually sat there staring at the page in disbelief. They actually used the word retard, and not just once but five different times. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe that they would use that word in their books. And I understand that they were just trying to be true to how teenagers speak, but that’s the problem right there. That’s how teenagers, really people of all ages, speak. We use words that degrade people like they are just a piece of paper we discard when we are done with it, a lot of times without even realizing the impact of the words we’re saying. But words have a huge impact, and as authors they probably know this better than most people. I was very disappointed as this scene played out on the pages of their book. Disappointed that they couldn’t think of a different way to write that scene, and very disappointed…no discouraged, to think that this just shows more kids that it’s ok to use words like retard, or any other hurtful words, in their every day language.
Now I’m sure there are some people who are thinking, “Really Sam? You’re getting a bit carried away here.” And you know what, maybe you’re right. I know it’s our jobs as parents to pay attention to our kids and what they read, what they watch, who they hang out with, etc. But let’s be honest for a minute, we cannot be with them 24/7. We aren’t included in every conversation they have with every person they come in contact with.
Bullying is a big deal, and anyone who thinks that the word retard is harmless really needs to take a step back and pay a little more attention. We live in a society where you have to be the best at everything every second of the day. A society that puts a lot of importance on where you live, what you drive, what you wear, how clear your face is, how much money your family makes, the list is endless. So the kid that has to take a little longer on his tests because he has ADD, or the girl who doesn’t like to talk because she has a stutter, or the happy go lucky boy who takes just a little bit longer to do things because he has Down Syndrome, where do they fit? Are they retarded just because they don’t fit the cookie cutter mold? Do they not deserve the same respect as the boy who is on the football team? Or the girl on the drill team?
Bottom line, every single person on this earth is special, and beautiful, and unique in their very own way. Bullying is horrible, and whether or not you realize it, calling someone or something a retard, ‘tard, or retarded is the same thing. No one deserves to be talked down to or made to feel like less than they are.
And this isn’t just limited to the word retard, there is long list of hurtful words that should never be used again. Unrealistic I know, but I can start with this in my home and in my life, and hope it spreads. Awareness of the words you speak is huge, and should never be overlooked.
This is just my little soap box note vent, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to the authors of this series. I love this series, but I didn’t feel that I could go without commenting on it, and you can’t do status updates this long.
She will be mine!
The Cat Daddy:
The Single Ladies Dance:
The Stanky Leg:
By far the greatest post to ever surface on Tumblr.
Love of the owl. Of course.