Editor, The Messenger:

I believe that people have become blind to their discriminatory thoughts and discrimination towards people with disabilities and special needs. I think that people make negative, inaccurate assumptions about these people, such as thinking that they are "dumb" or "unhappy."

I believe that it is wrong to make comments to or about people who have disabilities, physical and mental. I also understand that this sort of behavior commences from their thinking.

I also would like to bring up the use of the word "retard" or adjective "retarded." I think that people have become desensitized to this word, and refuse to understand the magnitude of it. The word is disrespectful and disgraceful to the special needs community when it is used as an insult or a joke. I just want people to think about that and realize the impact it can have.

People with disabilities and special needs are just as human as anyone else. Many disabled people can think and everyone can feel emotions just the same. Humor doesn't have to be discriminatory. Calling someone a "retard" as an insult often really shouldn't offend the victim, it is an insult to people with special needs and disabilities, even if that wasn't the intention.

I have an older sister who is physically and mentally handicapped, and I know a lot about how she thinks and acts. While she doesn’t think the same way as a normal 22-year-old, she still experiences and expresses joy and other emotions.

I invite you to think who you could be hurting or what your point that your trying to get across is the next time you want to think or act in a prejudiced or uninformed way.

Annie Moulton

Athens

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