Media Release - Stop the #Rword! 22/9/15
NSW CID wants to say something and wants to say it loud and clear.
The use of the word "retard" as an insult is just not on.
NSW CID was very disappointed to see an Australian newspaper journalist - use the hashtag “leftard” in a twitter post on 20/9/2015.
"Everyone hates this word. It is just one word - but it is outdated and offensive. It is derogatory - please use another word" says NSW CID Chairperson Michael Sullivan, who has Down syndrome.
Sullivan feels that "using that word is just unfair and it is not acceptable".
NSW CID, the New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability, advocates with and for people with intellectual disability to change things for the better. Executive Director Advocacy, Aine Healy reveals that "changing societal attitudes about people with intellectual disability is one of our major challenges - the recent insensitive use of this word in the media indicates that there is still much progress to be made".
People with intellectual disability are so many things - students, employees, partners, sportsman, advocates, friends and family members - they are so much more than a label.
They do not deserve to be at the brunt of hurtful and cruel insults. The "R" word reinforces negative, demeaning and untrue stereotypes.
NSW CID calls upon the media and the wider public to refrain from using the word. As Sullivan wisely suggests - "Get a dictionary and use something else".