We are all people first

February 6, 2014




Kaleb Causey


Last summer, I met a man named Patrick. He was an extremely nice guy and kept to himself. He never bothered anyone and spent his free time playing games with his friends and doing what made him happy.


Patrick is just a normal person. However, quite a large chunk of our society does not agree with that, simply because Patrick has Down syndrome.


Down syndrome is a chromosome abnormality that affects one in every 691 people born, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Patrick does not care that he has Down syndrome, so why do you?


I hear people belittle Patrick every single day, and they do not even know him.


“That’s retarded,” and various forms of that statement, are spoken, tweeted and put in Facebook statuses every single day.


Seriously, go search Twitter for the word and see how many disgusting tweets come up.


The advocacy against the use of the r-word came to the forefront after Ann Coulter sent a controversial tweet after a presidential debate in 2012.


“I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” she said.


John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete, wrote an open letter to Coulter shortly after the incident.


“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the president by linking him to people like me,” he wrote. “Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”


Outrage grew toward Coulter, who refused to apologize, and towards people like Stephens who advocate against using the r-word. Why though?


Amongst people who support the cause, like myself, it was a tremendous move by Stephens to bring this cause to the forefront of national conversation.


Amongst supporters of Coulter, it was the “thought police” trying to take away their freedom of speech.


You can call me the thought police or whatever you feel appropriate. Because of people like Patrick, I will stand up for basic human decency every time, no matter what you call me.


Kaleb Causey is a senior political science and journalism major from Jonesboro who serves as editor-in-chief for The Tech Talk. Email comments to ktc013@latech.edu.


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