This morning I made a post on my other blog about the "R" word. As I'm sure most of the bloggers within the Down syndrome community know today is the day the Special Olympics have set aside to raise awareness about that word.
To me the use of the word is more than just semantics or popular culture. It's an attitude our society has about people with cognitive and other disabilities. It's a reality that parents and individuals effected by a loved on with special needs have to face on a daily basis: Our children and loved one's are marginalized and laughed at by the society we live in.
This fact hurts me beyond all else when I look at my son. When I think of his extra chromosome, the one that resides in every cell in his body, the one that gives him his almond shaped wide set eyes and his short little legs propped up with the cutest little feet, society is what hurts me. Not that chromosome. It's the judgement and exclusion from this society that my child was born into.
Frankly, I don't know if we'll ever see attitudes change, at least in my or my son's lifetime. I guess all I can do is strive to change the attitudes of the people around me, the few souls that I collide with in my own little microcosm. I can only strive to give my child the best, expect great things from him, demand respect and inclusion from the people around him, try to change hearts one at a time.
That's the least I can do for you Yusef. I know you will do the same.