Eliminating the “R” Word

By MARIA KANSO, Staff Writer

The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Alliance for DisAbility Awareness invited students to sign their names and write an anti-R sign next to the signature. This was an effort on the University Center stage on Thursday to raise awareness for the offence that the “R” word, or “retarded,” creates.

David Solomon, president of the Alliance for DisAbility Awareness, said their goal is to make people think of other words they can use when addressing people with disabilities.

“It is a stigma and it is hurtful to people with disabilities,” he said about the “R” word. “It really hurts people’s feelings.”

Spread the Word to End the Word is a national campaign that aims to erase the offensive use of the “R” word. It was started by Special Olympics in 2008 when it created a website against the use of the word. By 2010, the movement included efforts in middle schools, high schools and college campuses.

The website shows thousands of online pledges for refraining from using the word on the right hand corner. It features stories from college campuses about efforts to battle the “R” word’s use and videos from talk shows and news stories discussing the issue. It also provides ways to raise awareness about  the “R” word.

“People need to be more conscientious about what they’re saying and know that certain words carry a lot of weight to them,” said Ali Ahmed, a member of Alliance for Disability Awareness.

More than 100 people signed their names on the paper during the organization’s efforts on the UC stage, according to Solomon.