Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There's a New Superhero in Town, and His Name is Kevin.


There was an incident at school today. Here, Kevin, age 13, recounts it in his own words:

So today I came out of my first period class (language arts), and my friend came out of his first period class (tech). He told me that we had a substitute in tech. And then he told me that in class, the sub had used the word “retarded.” He told me that she said, “Oh, hey, I did this thing wrong. I must be really retarded today.” I couldn’t believe it, and neither could he. So I waited for period 4 to roll around, which is when I have technology. And after class I went to the sub and asked to talk to her. I said, “I heard in first period that you used the word ‘retarded’.” At first she tried the denial approach. “Oh, did I?” she said, sounding surprised. “Yes, you did,” I said. “And I just want you to know that that word is a very offensive word referring to disabled people, and that I have a brother with a disability.” “Well,” she said, “I think it depends on the context you use it in.” “No.” I said simply. “No. It really doesn’t.” “Well,” she continued, (personally, I think she was still attempting to defend herself. Some adults are like children! They won’t own up to the fact that they made a mistake.) “I would never use the word referring to someone with special needs. I respect your view.” “Thank you.” I said, and left. It was a bit embarrassing because the kids in line for the next class were staring at me. I’m not sure why. But I’m glad I did it because if I hadn’t I would have felt guilty or disappointed, and when I told my friend that told me in the first place what happened, he said “Way to go, dude! You stood up to a teacher!”

The kid's got chutzpah, don't you think? And certainly more integrity and more heart than some adults.

I am blown away that a teacher would so casually throw a word like that around. I can hardly wrap my head around it.

And it still amazes me how people will defend their use of the word by saying that they were not directing it at a person with actual disabilities, and they wouldn't dream of doing any such thing. I mean, really. How can people not see that when you say anything or anyone is "retarded," you are making a derogatory comparison to a person with actual developmental disabilities? So, by their logic, would it be okay to say "nigger" as long as you weren't actually saying it about a black person? Or would it be okay to say "faggot" so long as you weren't actually directing it to a person who is homosexual?

Come on, people.

In any event, I am incredibly proud of Kevin.




14 comments:

Adrienne said...

Wow, that's awesome! Finnian's got one cool big brother! You should be very proud!! And his friend is cool too;)

Mel said...

What a great kid he is. It takes such guts to stand up to someone, especially in a position of authority, and in such a mature way. What an amazing young man you have :)

The Sanchez Family said...

I'll say it again...Kevin is an outstanding young man. Oh what a wonderful big brother he is to ALL our kids :) Please tell him thank you!

Nicole O'Dell said...

What a wonderful guy. WTG, Kevin!

Jennifer said...

what an awesome kid, thanks Kevin!

heidi marie said...

WAY TO GO KEVIN! while i don't even know you, i'm so very, VERY PROUD OF YOU!

diane rene said...

great job, Kevin!

I love it when kids just "get it" and then they put it out there for others. it really is just as simple as it sounds, yet some people have such a hard time grasping the concept.

sheree said...

what Kevin did today was absolutely INCREDIBLE! What a guy!!

Sasha said...

Kevin, that is so amazing. Way to go. You did a great job. The teacher has some things to learn from you!!!

Wendy P said...

Kevin is such an awesome young man.

Amber said...

A new one I've been noticing lately is "that's so gay!" People are just so unwilling to use a little verbal creativity to come up with descriptors that aren't offensive to entire groups of people. Pretty lazy and thoughtless, really.

So good on Kevin. That really takes a lot of nerve to do what he did!

Heidi said...

Kevin is such a cool kid. He's got more guts than I do. There's a guy on the fire department with me who calls people he's annoyed with "homo". I want to tell him that as a lesbian, I find that offensive. I can't bring myself to speak up. You go, Kevin!

Melissa M said...

Kevin is awesome!! And the really sad thing is, when having a conversation about the R word with my MIL in law she actually used nigger as an example of why retarded wasn't offensive. GRRR!! Still makes me mad, but other than constantly educating I don't know what to do...

Jasmine said...

That is pretty cool. Good job, Kevin. I'm proud of you.

Lisa, I'm reposting this on my FB page.

God bless,

Windmills and Tulips