It is time to end the ‘R word’ once and for all


The phone rang and my grandma answered with her normal “hello.” It was the people from Crest Services calling to tell her that Donna had been stubborn at work lately, and they would like to have a meeting with her legal guardians to get her back on track.

Donna came home that day and my grandma calmly asked her what was wrong and why she had been acting like that. She said that she was just tired and did not want to work. We knew there was more to the story.

Crest Services is an organization that works with the mentally handicapped to provide them with jobs in southern Minnesota. My Aunt Donna has Down Syndrome and works in the cafeteria of a local college where she runs the cash register and helps make the food to serve to the students.        

It turned out that one of the students at the college was making remarks to Donna calling her “lazy, fat and retarded.”        

The situation was resolved and Donna is back to working as usual at the college now.   

I do not understand why people feel the need to be rude or discriminating toward people with mental handicaps or disabilities. There is no need to look down on a person for something that they cannot help.       

From my experiences with Donna, I have learned what a strong and amazing person she really is. She is one of my biggest role models.        

People with Down Syndrome have some very specific characteristics. They never forget much of anything. If Donna meets a person just one time, she will remember everything that they tell her about themselves in addition to everything about the conversation. I have never met someone with more birthdays, anniversaries and dates of special events stored in their brain.       

Another thing about Donna is that she hardly ever worries about anything. Many people worry about things that they cannot control, but her attitude is to not worry about anything and whatever happens happens.        

People with Down Syndrome are some of the most caring people I have ever met. They love giving and receiving hugs. Whenever you are with them, you will automatically feel like you are the only person who matters to them in the world at that time.       

It boggles my mind that some people are so disrespectful toward some of the nicest, most loving people on the earth.        

There is a campaign that has been going on by the Special Olympics, Best Buddies and other organizations for disabled people to end the r-word or retard(ed). Almost 600,000 people have taken the pledge to end the r-word, including myself. Their goal is to make sure that everyone gets the respect that they deserve no matter what.        

The r-word is a hurtful word. I have seen the negative effects of it being used first hand. If people could just realize that there were many other more respectful words that they could use in its place, everyone would be much better off.

People with Down Syndrome and other disabilities are some of the most loving and caring people there are. If more people would take a lesson from them and try to act more like them, the world would be a much better place. 


Kendra Davis is an agriculture communications major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]