Monday, December 17, 2012

Spreading the Word to End the Word

Hello polished friends!

When I saw Ooooo Shiny!'s call for entrants for her nail art contest, I was immediately intrigued - who doesn't want free stuff?  Then I read what the nail art had to entail:  design a socially engaged manicure that supports a cause and raises awareness about an issue that you care about.  I doubly in!

This isn't the original cause I wanted to blog about, but I had recently watched the Hollis Boys' video dedicated to their sister:

"We live in a small town in Central Illinois and woke one morning in April 2011 to find our home and cars had been spray painted," says Anne Hollis.
The family had been attacked because her two daughters have Down Syndrome: "RETARDS." "Get Outta here." And other unprintables. 
"That day changed my life forever." 
But her two sons said they wanted to make a video, to "Speak up for our sisters."
If you haven't seen the video, click here, it's worth the watch.  When I first watched this video, I thought the boys were super cute and it was such an amazing thing for them to want to speak up for their sister in such a public way.  I didn't relate it back to myself, but as I thought about this challenge, my mind kept going back to that video and how badly I needed to listen (or read) to what their message was - or what their message meant to me.

Besides the fact that I am blown away that people actually had the audacity to spray paint someone's house, it was the words they used that really hit home for me.  I have to admit, I use the r-word, not just a little, but a lot.  When I think something is stupid, or hard, I use that word.  When I think someone is being stupid or annoying, I used that word.  I'm an educated woman, I work with professionals, yet, this is the word I used to describe almost everything bad - not good - not good at all.  I give my coworker a hard time for referring to a group of people the wrong way, I actually cringe, I get uncomfortable and look around to make sure no one heard - but yet I through out the r-word like it's nothing.  And it's not nothing, it hurts, it stings and it's in no way accurate of how I feel.
The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory. The R-word is hate speech. See why supporters think the R-Word is hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech.

I found the r-word website while researching my design.  The website was launched in 2008 by the Special Olympics to combat the inappropriate use of the R-word in common usage.  The site focuses on the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, there is a ton of resource material to help plan your own event and you can also take the pledge to support the elimination of the r-word.

I have taken the pledge and will be sporting that brand spanking new banner on your right until the end of my blogging days, not only to remind myself of the pledge I've taken, but also to spread the word to end the word!

I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

For more information, please visit  The Hollis boys are encouraging everyone to watch, share and join and - to create a world where EVERYONE is free to be EXACTLY who they are, without shame, apology - or attack.

Holla, N

ps:  a HUGE THANK YOU to Moana from Ooooo Shiny!, not only for making me think about what is important to me, but also for extending the deadline for me - I read the due date wrong and was going to save this for another day, but she kindly opened up the link for me to add my post.  I know this isn't the most beautiful mani, and I totally don't expect to win, but I'm super proud of this post and myself for really looking at something about myself that I'm so not proud of and changing it.


  1. I think we're all guilty of it, well a lot of us anyway, I have a few words in my vocab that I really need to drop, that are derogatory and just hurtful, but I grew up saying them and not really meaning to hurt anyone. Excellent post my dear, and a great mani to go with it!

  2. I hope the Maya's have it wrong and the world will not end Friday, but your mani looks really cool!

  3. Oh, MAN...this is a wonderful post, and a very special mani.

    Thanks, Nicole! It warms my heart and makes me a bit teary-eyed.


  4. Nicole - Thanks so much for this post! Until this post, I had never known about this campaign. I may have to create my own mani, even if the contest is closed! I have a 17 yr old cognitively delayed daughter. There is no "label" for how she is. She is not autistic, she does not have Down Syndrome, she is mentally delayed. Because of no "label", some people say she is retarded. They don't intend to be mean, they just don't know what else to say, but the R-word has come to have such a negative connotation that I always correct them. Politely of course :) It may be harder to say that she is "cognitively delayed", but think how hard her life already is without you calling her retarded and make an effort. As I reread this I sound a little harsh, and I don't mean to, but I love my daughter and hate to hear a word that has negative connotation attached to her. She is such a sweetheart. Thanks for your pledge and your post!


Thank you for commenting! I love getting and reading all your comments, feedback and questions. I will always try my very best to answer each and every one - thanks for checking in!! Holla, N