Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The R- word..

I need advice my blog reading friends...

I had a facebook "friend" who posted on their wall today about how ridiculous and un-knowledgeable Realtors are in the Phoenix area, his way to mock these Realtors was by stating he was starting a real estate brokerage and naming it RE/RE Ratard Realty so all the Ratarded Realtors would come and join. He would pay 110% commission because they were all so ratarded they wouldn't know it wasn't possible to pay 110% and life would be grand for his ratarded brokerage (the use of the word retard was spelled Ratard by him in some sort of homage to The Hangover)

If you saw this, would it upset you? It upset me... I wanted to let it go, I wanted to just move on with my day and not call him out on his repeated use of the word retard, but then, people were joining in, commenting on how funny his post was and he kept commenting back, each time using the word retard to describe not so smart real estate agents and how they would all join his "retard" brokerage because they were so slow.

I couldn't take it anymore.  I was imagining his kids one day thinking it was OK to use that word (I mean, if they hear it at home, why not use it at school) and Ella overhearing them and crying because it hurt her feelings. I was going to write on his "wall" but I didn't want to make a huge deal of it so I messaged him this:

Hey Bxxxx,

The attached picture is of my 1 year old daughter. When she grows up, many people will think it's funny to call her a retard (or what ever pronunciation some movie made up) because she is a little slower than they are. She will deal with kids and adults using that word to describe people just like her and it will break my heart and hers when it happens. When you think it's funny to post about Realtors and their lack of smarts and chalk it up to them being "ratards" guess what... You are no better than the people that will one day make my daughter cry for their ignorance and casual use of a nasty, hateful word. Next time you think it is super funny to make fun of people by calling them retards, think of Ella and her friends and find a new word...

Thanks - Liz Morganroth

What I really wanted to say was this:

Hey jackass, NEVER EVER use that word again. It isn't cool. Got it? Good.

The response I got back:

Liz, In no way shape or form I was making fun of handicapped, autism or mentally disabled people. People who really know me absolutely know I would never intentionally make fun or use words of hate. I help people and lift them up not tear them apart. I will also have you know, I grew up with and protected more than one handicapped person/(person w/autism) in my life. I have donated thousands of dollars to Autism, Susan G, Obesity and more. Just as I did not know about your daughter, you do not know my family, my experiences, the charitable organizations I support and or friends with brothers, sister or children that have Autism. I`m sorry my post offended you and sincerely apologize to you. I would protect my family and my strong beliefs too but look at the intentions of the other person first. I was expressing how unprofessional people can be in this industry. People do not educate themselves, place effort into their career and the make accusations without facts. by the way very cute picture. she looks beautiful.
Oh, then he unfriended me (and my business partner, just for good measure).
So... I wanted to write him back, I wanted to tell him that I don't care who you donate to, how many autistic people you know or how you try to lift people up. Using the word Retard in any form is wrong. JUST WRONG. Don't justify it, don't tell me you support breast cancer research, tell me you were wrong, you had a temporary lack of good judgement and you won't do it again.  Tell me that if my kids run into your kids at school, they won't hear the word retard out of their mouth. Tell me anything that shows me that you get why even using the word in jest is just not ok...
Nope, I got that email and an unfriending.. Now, do I assume I was unfriended so he could talk poop about me and my language policing skills or was I unfriended so he can continue to use the R-word freely? I dunno and I don't really care, but what I do wonder is if I did the right thing? Should I have let it go? Should I have messaged him? Did I get through to him that it isn't OK to use the words no matter what? 
What would you have done? 
PS: Ella had her first birthday today. I had a whole sad post written about finding out she had Down syndrome, expectations being reset, etc, but I erased it. Today was an amazing, happy day. I allowed myself a good cry at the exact moment we found out a year ago she had Down syndrome, but after that cry, I moved on. Ella's birthday was just like any other first birthday. Gifts, food, cake, family. Sadness still likes to overtake my heart at times, but today we celebrated the amazing first year of an amazing little girl. So, no sad posts, no melancholy mood, just me, my glass of wine and apparently a new goal to eradicate the use of the R-word within the real estate community.
I leave you with my birthday girl. My amazing birthday girl.


  1. Hi, we are facebook friends :) Just wanted to say, I appreciate your "sweetness" in the letter you sent him. I also have a daughter who happens to have Down Syndrome. Though I think the word is offensive, I think that when we get too over-the-top with promoting non-R-word awareness it can have a reverse effect and make it worse. I think you did handle it well (I always think sugar catches more flies than salt) and hopefully it will get him thinking!

  2. Liz,
    Ella is GORGEOUS! I cant wait to meet her one day and I hope that you and the family are doing well! I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to seeing you someday soon!

    Happy Birthday to little Miss! LOVE her outfit, BTW


  3. I was in the exact same situation recently...My sister in law posted something on her facebook status...I cant remember the exact wording but you were suppose to say it really fast and what you would realize you were saying was "I am a retard"
    People were commenting on how funny it was and I sat there in tears staring at it not believing that my sons Aunt had thought that was funny to post. I wondered too if I should call her out on it, or would that be making a "big deal"...I did say something, and I am glad I did...Because it made her think.
    Its not funny when people say the R word, or call someone "handicapped" they are making fun of people and hurting people whether they mean to or not. The ONLY way to teach people not to use the word, is to let them know it bothers us. I mean, God knows if no one had made a "big deal" way back when, our kids would still be being called Mongloids! I think making that "big deal" is well worth it...Thats the only way to change things and I will continue to make a big deal for my sons sake!
    I think you did the right thing and in the right way...We dont need to jump down peoples throats over it...But we DO need to say something!
    Oh, and Happy Birthday to sweet Ella!

  4. Hi! You don't know me, but I know your friend Stephanie and she turned me on to your blog awhile ago. I think you were right to say something. I have a hard time with people using all sorts of negative derogatory language and think it is ok if they are saying it in jest or not using it in the right context. For instance it seems to be ok for little 13 yr old white kids to call each other "nigga" when they see each other cause they happen to like hip hop! Or when I hear people that rule is "retarded" or what she said was so "gay". They seem to think because they are not saying it to a black person, retarded person, or gay person that they are not doing harm. They ARE! Words like this in ANY context should be removed from vocabularies. Good ridden to your "friend".
    ~Jill C.

  5. I wish people didn't find this word so offensive when its not being directed toward special people. My daughter has DS, and if someone called her the "r" word, that would break my heart and you bet my momma claws would come out. But calling a person retarded who is not mentally handy capped, I just dont understand why that is offensive. (not that I use it, out of respect) The word simply means slow.... its the way, the context, that it is used, that can make it offensive. Praying for the day that no one speaks negatively about anyone.

  6. Ok...gotta comment. You did the right thing. That word is too often used offensively as it was by him and it blows me away when people think it is funny...seriously how is this funny? and I get further unnerved when people get defensive about their use and explain it away....

    ...but more importantly....Happy Birthday to your beautiful Ella!