Monday, March 4th, 2013

The Power of Words, And A Campaign To Stop One Gone Wrong

Ending Pop Culture Use of The R-Word

This Wednesday is the fifth annual "day of awareness" in a national campaign - R-Word: Spread The Word To Stop The Word - to stop use of the word "retarded" and its variants, as reported in The New York Times:

As a medical label for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the R-word used to be neutral, clinical, incapable of giving offense. But words are mere vessels for meaning, and this one has long since been put to other uses.

"Retarded" and "retard" today are variations on a a weapon of derision, it does the job.

As purveyors of words, we look for expressions saddled with new meaning by popular culture usage, to assist organizations in attracting people to their product and point of view.

When a word appears with new contextual meaning, cruelly acting to exclude rather than include, use of the word diminishes brand reputation of the user, whether person or product brand.

As one television personality recently learned.

In this elegant rebuke.

[Image: Jordan Awan, Source: The New York Times] 

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