The R-Word

I was at the McDonald’s near my house the other day, the one that always manages to shock me by employing the rudest and most unprofessional staff, and it officially hit a new low.  Jason, Zaven and I were standing at the counter, waiting for our food, and an off-duty employee was bantering with the people working.  Besides making us feel like we were intruding on their party (and slowing down the service of our food) they were just being obnoxious.  This McDonald’s caters mostly to drive-thru customers, so I can see how they might let face to face customer service slide.  But damn…this was ridiculous. 

I was standing there with my 2 year old son, waiting for someone to drop an F-bomb (because it was definitely coming) when one of the girls behind the counter yelled- no, SCREAMED- at the off-duty guy “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE SUCH A RETARD!!!!!!”.  This wasn’t just face to face across the counter, this was across the restaurant…counter to drink dispenser.  I thought ‘Wow…so unprofessional’.  Then the guy yells back “NO!  YOU’RE RETARDED!!!”.  Then they started going back and forth.  Four more times the word “Retard/Retarded” was used.  Classy.

It’s amazing how much a word, when it leaves normal conversation, can stick out when it’s used.  It was uncomfortable to hear.  It offended me.  It offended me more than if they’d said “Shit” or “Bitch”  (you know, words a don’t really like my food preparers to use in front of me).  It reminded me of hearing people of my parents’ generation talk about the N-word being casually used in daily conversation when they were kids.  These people weren’t from racist families or  living in the South, they were just normal suburban kids singing songs and nursery rhymes that they didn’t really think about.  We’re certainly not throwing THAT word around today. 

So why are people still throwing the R-word around?

Ellen at had a great post about “One of the Most Awful Words on the Planet” (brought on by a completely ignorant Twitter exchange).  In her post, I learned that today, March 3,  is End the R-word Day.  

Did you know that there was such a day?  Did you know that there was a campaign?  I didn’t.  I knew that it was an awful word.  I knew that it hurt me to hear it.  To many people, this is a personal mission.  They’re standing up for the people they love.  I’m just standing up for people in general.

Don’t use the R-word.  It makes you sound ignorant.

Pass it on. 


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