Derogatory term inspires N.S. father to speak out

A Nova Scotian father of a child with Down syndrome wants people to think twice about using a derogatory word to describe the condition.

Robb Scott posts poem to YouTube to change the way people view those with Down syndrome

A Nova Scotian father of a child with Down syndrome wants people to think twice about using an offensive word about the condition.

Robb Scott lives in Greenfield with his wife and three kids. Before their middle child was born, Scott said he threw the offensive word around. 

“Like most people, probably a few times a day to describe all kinds of different things. ‘That’s retarded, what a retard,’ but never to hurt people like the video says” said Scott

But then he found out his son Turner had Down syndrome. Scott uploaded a a spoken-word poem to YouTube last week.

“Most that I know that use the word don’t use it in a way to be demeaning to somebody and they certainly would never say it to somebody with an intellectual disability.”

So far the video has garnered close to 10,000 views.

“I am not prepared for that day he comes home maybe crying, maybe not, [and says] 'someone called me this, why,'” said Scott.

Scott says he doesn’t want to lecture people, “but when it’s used to disparage someone else that’s hurtful to me when I hear it in that sense.”

Scott’s wife Kelly Macintosh-Scott said it stings to hear people use the word.

“I’ve corrected people in public,” she said. “In this day and age where it’s everywhere, where the Black Eyed Peas were made to change their entire song Let’s get retarded to Let’s get it started. It obviously has big impacts to a lot of people."

“It’s a word that just doesn’t need to be out there to describe someone or a silly situation.”

Scott said he’s received a barrage of hurtful comments on his YouTube video from people who say he’s overreacting.

“When I got those negative comments, I’m not going to compare it to [the] civil rights movement or women’s movements, but it made me think, 'My God it’s tough to be an advocate for something.'”

Scott said knows some people won’t change, but he just wants them to think about the word’s meaning.


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