You may have seen the hashtag #NoGoodWay on your social media feeds this week, and if you’re wondering what it’s about, read on. Motionball, a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation, has been around since 2012, launched with support from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, but it’s their latest campaign that’s getting a lot of attention. The organization wants Canadians to know there really is no good way to use the R-word (you know the one). And they want everyone to know that if and when you do choose to use the R-word, people will see you differently.
Last year’s campaign video featured YouTube star Madison Tevlin, who has Down syndrome, reading hurtful tweets, showing how using the R-word is a bullying tactic. This year, however, the campaign takes a different approach and shows how the person saying the word can be impacted. That’s right, if being a good person isn’t enough to motivate you, you might want to know that you look pretty bad, and you’re hurting your social capital when you say it.
You know it’s true. If you’ve ever been chatting with someone who busts out the word in the middle of a conversation, you can’t help but cringe. Or maybe it’s your lips that it actually escaped from and even as you say it, you know it’s wrong. But despite knowing it’s a hateful, ugly, belittling word, people still say it, and we still hear it way too often. Hopefully, soon, that will no longer be the case.
You might not mean any harm, but when you use the R-word, you’re not only hurting others, you’re hurting yourself. That’s what the campaign is trying to show. And if that’s what works to get you to finally stop saying it, that’s what works. For some people it’s just a casual expression that you might not even mean in a disrespectful way, but the eye-opening video shows the kind of impression you’re making, no matter what the intention.
We talk about equality of race, religion, sexuality and gender but this is equally important. Any time a community is marginalized, change needs to happen. It wasn’t too long ago that we referred to those who are challenged and differently-abled as mentally retarded, handicapped and disabled. But we grow and learn; that’s how we evolve. So start now. Be better.