Searching for a stereotype

This morning I was looking at the stats for this blog. I can see what search terms led someone to find ‘Our Journey Through Life’. My heart sank when I saw the following search term, “a retarded person speaks”. Someone found my blog by searching for a “retarded person”. I started to cry. The fact that Eli has Down syndrome has not been seen as a negative by myself or my husband since we were first given the prenatal diagnosis. Back then, all of these images and fears of what we thought a person with Down syndrome was like highlighted our perceptions. I was consumed with what Eli would look like, talk like, and act like. I was scared. And sad. Then I remembered that I was having a baby and that I should stay in the present, not worry about the future so much. Not worrying (ok, more like obsessing) about the future helped us overcome our fear of Down syndrome, our fear of the unknown. I have written a few times now about proper language and not saying the ‘R’ word (which is most likely why this blog came up when those search terms were used). I ask people not to use that term hopeful that Eli will never hear it said. I never associated it with Eli or someone with Down syndrome. I just focused on people saying it in the slang term and hoped I could help end the use of it in that way. I guess I didn’t realize (or want to accept) that people were still maliciously using that term. Seeing it associated with my blog, my blog about my sweet baby with Down syndrome, pissed me off and broke my heart. I can only hope that the person who searched those words and came across my blog took the time to read it. If they did they would see that the negative connotation associated with that term in no way describes my child. It doesn’t describe his friends. It is an old, antiquated medical term. I’m not sure what that person was hoping to find by searching for that. I know what he found here – A mama who writes about a baby who teaches her daily about true love and total acceptance. A mama who sees past the stereotypes and hopes to help shatter them into non-existence. A mama who prays that I will develop the thick skin to not cry when I see or hear that word in reference to my son. A mama who knows it’s not a true description of the beautiful babies, children, and adults who have Down syndrome. Through this blog, I hope to help change people’s perceptions. I hope it worked today when that person came across my words.

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4 comments on “Searching for a stereotype

  1. Oh mama, I would have cried too. I imagine it will take a little while to develop that “thick skin”. I don’t care what you say about me, but when it comes to my children it’s a different story. I pray that the individual saw what a joy Eli is and changed his attitude.

  2. i never knew i could comment on your blog posts. my only thought, I COULD PUKE. people make me sick sometimes! for the record, i have spent the entire month of February preaching an end to the “r” word at my school…it’s nails on a chalkboard-and that’s how your aunty peg raised me!

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