The Social Security Administration intends to stop using the term "mental retardation" in its listings and rules. That announcement came on the heels of Baltimore Raven's quarterback Joe Flacco's remark that a cold-climate superbowl is "retarded." He immediately corrected himself, saying "I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid." The next day, he issued a formal apology for his "bad choice of words."
This from a man who has a relationship with the local Special Olympics, including hosting an annual fundraiser. Clearly the remark was a slip of the tongue, an old habit that died hard. On the upside, hearing a major quarterback apologize might help raise awareness among kids and teens. The more key thing is that he and other people in the public eye do what they can to help people—and particularly young adults—understand how to respect those with intellectual disability. (Hey, Lady Gaga: r-word song, please?) School programs that raise awareness and inclusionary activities would make a real difference, too.
Cool artwork is another proactive ways to spread messages, and I've found some great stuff out there. The above is the first part of a graphic novel about why the word "retard" hurts. Created by Camila Trespalcios Laguette, a student at University of El Paso Texas who coaches basketball for the Special Olympics, it's her final project for a comics class. Check out the full version on her Facebook page—log in first, then click from pages 1 to 11.
Also recently discovered, on Flickr: this collage by one J. Mendelsohn, titled "Disable the Label."
And this badge from the r-word campaign:
And this Bart Simpson reminder:
I love how artists are using their creative powers for good.