Well, today is the last day of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. And I haven’t done enough to promote it nor have I done enough to raise awareness. However. On this final day, I do have something I want to share.
If you hadn’t heard, last week conservative pundit Ann Coulter made the choice to publicly call President Obama a “retard”. It is certainly no secret how I feel about that word and why. But in case you haven’t heard my rants, let me link you. Go read & come back. I’ll wait. End the Word
Okay. That is how I feel about it. Now I see that Ms. Coulter has not only used that word as an attack, after being called on it she refuses to apologize. She instead turns it around and says those who are calling her out are “authoritarian bullying victims”. So now change.org is circulating a petition to get her to apologize. And she continues to resist, saying “Screw them”. Here are my thoughts.
Don’t force her. Not because it’s okay or she has a point or anything like that. Because she DOESN’T GET IT. It’s pretty obvious that Ms. Coulter is unable to see or admit when she’s wrong. Even if we COULD get her to apologize, it would be meaningless. I mean, think about it. When someone does that whole “I’m sorry if you were offended” thing, that is not an apology. The person is basically saying “I’ll say whatever you need to hear in order to shut you up”. In fact, they’re often saying that they think you’re stupid and if the word “sorry” will placate you, they’ll present it to you without actually claiming any responsibility at all. I don’t want that from her. Contrary to popular belief, Ms.Coulter is an intelligent woman. Any apology she would give at this point would be disingenuous.
Instead, we have to just keep educating. Keep talking about it. Don’t demand apologies from people who don’t get it. Tell them why it’s wrong. And tell them again. And again. And again, if necessary. Then when they finally DO get it, the apology will mean something.
And to you, Ms. Coulter. You are smarter & better than what you’re doing. It isn’t weakness to admit when you’re wrong and to apologize when your choices have hurt people. I encourage you to go and read my essay on the r-word to gain insight on how its use affects people. We are not victims. We aren’t trying to bully you. We are trying to support those we love who have been diminished, marginalized & laughed at for centuries. We are speaking up for those who often can’t speak up for themselves. I urge you to seek out people who have special needs – like perhaps that wonderful guy John Franklin Stephens who so beautifully expressed his viewpoint to you. Get to know them. Find out what it’s like to live day to day having to hear these words bandied about like little knives and maybe it will change your perspective.Tweet