Letter to the Editor: Columnist misses point of ‘R’ word campaign, serves as pledge to remove word from society’s vocabulary

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket, Date: April 3, 2014

Letter to the Editor,

I am writing in response to “Student signing petitions to end words will not evoke social change.”  First of all, signing to end the use of the R-word is not a petition, but a pledge.  By signing the poster, you are pledging that you will not use the words “retard” or “retarded.”  The point of the pledge is not to eliminate the word from the English vocabulary, but to raise awareness for people with disabilities.  Using the R-word is disrespectful to people who have a disability, as well as the people that work with them every day.  End the R-word Day is not just something that happens on campus at Slippery Rock University.  It is a nationwide day and people sign the pledge all over the United States.

If signing a petition to end the R-word does nothing to get people to stop using the word, then why would any of the other petition ideas work?  How many students go to college and plan on not graduating?  Since every college student intends on graduating, having them sign a petition to promise to graduate from college will mean nothing.  What makes you think that having students sign petitions to not drive drunk, not do drugs and not be racist will actually stop students from doing these things?  They won’t.

The commentary talks about how political correctness is an embarrassment to America.  This is just another contradiction in this article.  The author wants to have a petition to end racism, but disagrees with political correctness.  Ending racism would be political correctness.  It is racist, offensive and not politically correct to use the N-word, so people don’t use it.  I believe that the R-word should be treated the same way.

The pledge to end the R-word is just to raise awareness.  It is to show that using that word is offensive to many people and that together we can be more respectful to people with disabilities and include them in everything.  By raising awareness, many people that I know have stopped using the R-word.  I have educated my family and friends about it and now none of them use that word.  The pledge is a very effective way of getting the point across and progress and change are happening.

Meghan Dunbar

Junior, Therapeutic Recreation Major


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