Bully, let me ask you this question. Why do you tease and use the word retard towards me? Am I not the same as you? You have a heart, so do I. You have two arms and two legs, well so do I. Is it because I’m slow, look different, sometimes say silly things or don’t understand something? Have you never had an instance where you too looked different or didn’t understand as quickly as others? So how am I really any different from you?
Do you know the real meaning of the word retard? Here is the definition according to dictionary.com: To make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede. Is that what you mean when you call me or others that word? I don’t think it is. I think you say it to hurt me and make me feel less than you when in actuality we are all more alike than different.
Now let me introduce myself and maybe you can get to know me and see I am no different than you. My name is Kristine Hughes and I am an athlete with Special Olympics North Carolina, Wake County. I’m 41 years old and I attend Wake Technical Community College as a full time student. I’ll graduate in December 2013 with an associate in applied science degree, and two certificates in the office administration program. I’ve served my country in the United States Navy during Desert Shield, aboard the USS Yellowstone AD41. And since I was nine years old, I have competed in many sports from high school on up through college. My favorite sports are softball and tennis. Currently I am working on becoming a certified bocce official and am now a USA provisional volleyball official.
And that is just who I am on paper, try saying hello or smiling at me in the halls and you’ll probably learn a lot more and even make a friend.
Finally when you use the R-word, it truly hurts me even if I know you’re not directing it towards me. Remember that I am a human being who has feelings like you and I deserve to be treated with respect whether or not I have a disability. Kind words towards others go a lot farther than hurtful ones. My time spent in Special Olympics has shown me that these athletes have a huge heart of love towards everyone and they don’t judge or tease anyone. Special Olympics athletes live life to the fullest—you should do the same. So please don’t use the R-word anymore. Spread the Word to End the Word!
Special Olympics Wake County athlete