Let’s Get Retarded???

A child's heart


I was shocked when I went to the pool party at the park yesterday. The 4th of July was in full swing and I had taken my son and my brother, who happens to be mentally challenged..or as some would say, retarded. 

I had him and my son in the pool and I put a life jacket on my brother, as I know he is terrified of the water, since he cannot swim. When I brought him to live with me, I showed him how to float with the life jacket on and he kicks his feet and moves his arms to swim. I honestly believe this is the first experience he’s ever had with floating in a life jacket and he loves it. 

There was a DJ playing music poolside and all of a sudden I heard it. A song I actually used to like. I never heard these lyrics before and I was very angry when I listened. “Let’s get retarded in here. Get stupid.” Wait a minute, this sounds just like The Black Eyed Peas! There’s no way they would have written this. After all, these are black men, minus Fergie, yet who would know better what cruelty  it is to mock some people who did not choose this life for themselves?  It is equivalent to mocking a person for the color of his skin, or hair, or culture. 

To use such a song to mock these people, would be equivalent to a band throwing the ‘N” word around, as if it’s just a way to entertain. How would this group feel to have that word inserted, where they used the word “retarded?” 

I am so upset, I just lost my whole love for their music in one fell swoop. What hypocrisy and stupidity. Who’s really retarded? After all the oppression against blacks, and the progress made to end this, are the mentally challenged exempt from any such consideration? Why? Because they don’t know any better? 

Well, the people who love them do! My brother was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The very object of his life supply was now strangling him. Cutting off oxygen and damaging his vocal cords to the point where he can barely express himself to those around him. 

When I was a young girl, and he was still living with us, my mother had an extremely difficult time. She had six children and had just lost a son. I watched her struggle as she tried to do the simplest things in our home. She had my brother in a harness and he could play in the yard, but his harness was attached to the pole that held the clothesline. He had the ability to come in the house and go back out, without straying from the yard. This was the only way she could do her chores. 

On occasion, as he played, I would hear the voices of children passing the yard. I looked out my window to witness kids taunting my brother. I was so hurt and angry that I would scream at them to leave him alone! I would run out to him and comfort him. Wasn’t it hard enough for him? To know he couldn’t do the things other kids could do? 

Later, the care of my brother became too much for my mother. She had a breakdown and this is when she placed him in an institution. When I went with my siblings to visit, he would cry so hard, to come home with us. I always cried too and was tormented at the thought of leaving him. I vowed that one day, I would bring him home and allow him to try all the things that other children participate in. 

Of course in these days, there is so much more for people like my brother and I have been blessed to find angels everywhere, who lend their time and energy to give my brother and others like him a chance to ‘fit in.’ 

And this is exactly why I was so shocked to hear a very successful group of musicians, singing something so disgusting. And the fact that it was a group of people who should know what this ignorance can do to bring harm, is just the pinnacle of shame. 

I decided the minute I heard that song, that I would not listen to them anymore. I had to think of their lyrics, “let’s get retarded in here” Hmm,seems to me, they got what they asked for.   

But, as for my brother; he has the mind of an innocent child and totally oblivious to such nonsense. Which, by comparison, makes him a genius next to those who would degrade him!

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