Students signing petitions to end words will not evoke social change

Published by adviser, Author: Vince Scalamogna - Rocket Contributor, Date: March 28, 2014
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Students signing the petition to end the words “retard” and “retarded” is an ineffective way of getting a point across. I don’t use that slang. I think other people that say it are feeble-minded and won’t change their language no matter how many signatures appear on that petition.

First, let’s think about other more noteworthy things students at Slippery Rock could be signing. The first thing that comes to mind is that students should sign a petition that they promise to graduate from college. Imagine how many people lack a college education and put into mind how much better our world would be if everyone were college educated. Now that’s something I would sign. Something else I would sign would be a petition promising that students will never drive drunk. Get all the drunk drivers off the road. Now there’s something I would rather see than have people stop using the words “retard” and “retarded.” See the banishing of those words won’t change anything. People will still use those words and in some instances it’s educational to use such language. Discussing mental retardation in a history class is one hundred percent appropriate as it has educational value and students can understand the troubles the mentally retarded have had to go through.

Back to the other suggestions to better petitions, one petition could be that students sign in support of an end to racism. Who wants racism? I would sign a petition to outlaw racism. Racism isn’t gone. There is still a racial divide in this country, at least. If you don’t believe me, watch the news.

Let’s take a look at something else problematic like drugs. Oh, some people just think it’s natural for teenagers or college students to engage in drug use. Your response should be, “What!?” Indeed, people do think drug use is natural and that it’s not harmful. See they are ignoring the facts. They are promoting the derelict parents in this world. They are also the same people that are saying, “All these people are in jail for nonviolent crimes when they sell drugs.” You would be surprised- or not so much depending on who you are. There are celebrities that say there are too many people in jail for selling drugs. No matter who you are, when you sell drugs you deserve to be locked up for a while. Drugs are poison. They kill people. They enslave. They destroy what’s magnificent about humanity. So how’s about everyone sign a petition to promise never to do drugs? Does that sound like something more worthwhile? It should. It will make good people proud.

The signing of that petition to end words is doing nothing. I have noticed no progress. Progress is not made when the message can exploited and torn to shreds such as right here and put emphasis on the “right here” part. This is public. You’re reading it. I don’t hesitate to say that a petition is doing nothing to end mental retardation or the disrespect the mentally retarded face.

Now let’s figure out what all this is about. It’s about political correctness. Political correctness is an embarrassment to America. It does nothing. It keeps people back from stating an opinion just because someone else might be offended. Look, I get that slang is offensive. It’s simple. There are things we just shouldn’t say.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I am 2008 graduate (TR and CPAD). This piece is an embarrassment to SRU. Using person first language and language that is not negative can be the first step to acceptance of others. If you change the way you speak and encourage others to do so, you can bring awareness to others. You can also help to reduce stigma felt by people affected by derogatory language. Signing a petition and using non-derogatory language may not change the whole world at once, but at least it is proactive. One person bringing awareness about an issue can make a difference in those that they reach. They can enlighten their friends who can in turn enlighten their friends and even teach their own children that the language people use can harm others. Why write a piece condemning others for their activism? What are you Mr. Scalamogna doing to lessen the stigma faced by people with intellectual disabilities and other minority groups who face injustice? Ask yourself that and write another piece that doesn’t embarrass Slippery Rock University and it’s many grads and students who work hard to create a positive experience for people with disabilities in education, recreation and their every day lives.

  2. I find it funny that you’re writing a column bashing signing a petition to end the discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, yet you suggest signing a petition to end another type of discrimination is a better idea. I think you should’ve done a little more research on the meaning behind the “End The R-Word Campaign”.
    (I am a 2013 CPAD graduate working for one of the organizations that promotes that campaign)

  3. You were saying that signing the petition won’t stop people from using those terms. So how will signing a petition stop people from driving drunk? More than likely they’ll still do it. Think before you write things. A complete embarrassment for SRU!

  4. The petition did exactly what it was supposed to do- it brought awareness to our campus. You obviously were aware of it, but instead of taking the beautiful message that is behind the petition you decided to bash the wonderful cause. In saying that, I truly feel sorry for you. If you could explain to me how advocating for many individuals, that it many cases cannot advocate for themselves, is a bad thing, that would be great. When you answer that question I hope you back up your information with research that you failed to include in the original article. I really hope you educate yourself and apologize. You hurt a lot of individuals. Also, if you want the petitions you mentioned in your article to be brought to campus, make it an effort to personally start them. Make a change. You can do that without bashing other great organizations. Thank you.

  5. I am 2008 graduate (TR and CPAD). This piece is an embarrassment to SRU. Using person first language and language that is not negative can be the first step to acceptance of others. If you change the way you speak and encourage others to do so, you can bring awareness to others. You can also help to reduce stigma felt by people affected by derogatory language. Signing a petition and using non-derogatory language may not change the whole world at once, but at least it is proactive. One person bringing awareness about an issue can make a difference in those that they reach. They can enlighten their friends who can in turn enlighten their friends and even teach their own children that the language people use can harm others. Why write a piece condemning others for their activism? What are you Mr. Scalamogna doing to lessen the stigma faced by people with intellectual disabilities and other minority groups who face injustice? Ask yourself that and write another piece that doesn’t embarrass Slippery Rock University and it’s many grads and students who work hard to create a positive experience for people with disabilities in education, recreation and their every day lives.

  6. I find it funny that you’re writing a column bashing signing a petition to end the discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, yet you suggest signing a petition to end another type of discrimination is a better idea. I think you should’ve done a little more research on the meaning behind the “End The R-Word Campaign”.
    (I am a 2013 CPAD graduate working for one of the organizations that promotes that campaign)

  7. You were saying that signing the petition won’t stop people from using those terms. So how will signing a petition stop people from driving drunk? More than likely they’ll still do it. Think before you write things. A complete embarrassment for SRU!

  8. The petition did exactly what it was supposed to do- it brought awareness to our campus. You obviously were aware of it, but instead of taking the beautiful message that is behind the petition you decided to bash the wonderful cause. In saying that, I truly feel sorry for you. If you could explain to me how advocating for many individuals, that it many cases cannot advocate for themselves, is a bad thing, that would be great. When you answer that question I hope you back up your information with research that you failed to include in the original article. I really hope you educate yourself and apologize. You hurt a lot of individuals. Also, if you want the petitions you mentioned in your article to be brought to campus, make it an effort to personally start them. Make a change. You can do that without bashing other great organizations. Thank you.

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