Greenfield man uses Youtube to spread awareness on the impact of derogatory words

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GREENFIELD – Robb Scott has learned a lot from his son Turner and hopes a Youtube video will educate others as well.

The Greenfield resident is, along with his wife Kelly, raising three children; one of them who has Down syndrome. And while there are many blessings and challenges, one of the most difficult things is when three-year-old Turner is treated differently because of his disability.

The first exposure to such an incident occurred this summer in Masstown when a child playing near Turner said, ‘oh this kid is weird, let’s get away from him.’

It’s a moment Scott knew would happen and is something he fears occurring in the future when Turner is old enough to understand its meaning.

“My fear is if someone calls him a retard what do I say? My biggest fear is of him being rejected.” [Click to Tweet]

Those experiences and fears ultimately led to Scott posting his thoughts on Facebook about the devastation that comes when people use the word ‘retard.’

“The response was good. Some said, ‘it had me in tears’ and I thought I really touched people.”

Scott then posted a Youtube video called Breakin Labels - The R Word, which is a three minute and 20 second clip of Scott's spoken word poetry written for his son. As of early in the weekend, it had more than 6,700 views.

He posted it to remind people that a special needs child is “normal” in many ways and to encourage people to consider how their words impact others.

“I didn’t want to be lecturing. I’m not telling you not to say the word ‘retard’ but I’m saying it does hurt people when you say it. I just want people to be more aware,” said Scott, admitting before Turner was born, he too uttered the word “without thinking anything of it.”

“Ninety-nine per cent of people don’t use it to hurt (anyone) but when you are on the other side of it, you start thinking about what you are saying.”

For the most part, Scott, a full-time artist, has had positive feedback.

“Overwhelmingly the comments are good. I like when people are honest and say, ‘I’ve used that word and I didn’t think about it,’” he said, adding, “I think it has made a difference in some small way. If I change one mind, that’s good.”

He admits, however, not all feedback was kind. A few comments bordered on “mean spirited” and that’s one of the challenges he knows his family, as do other families who have a child with special needs, continue to face.

“When I saw a few negative comments I thought, ‘do I want to do this? Do I want to be an advocate?’ You have to be so courageous to look past people who don’t agree with you,” Scott said.

“There is no ‘normal.’ All children have difficulties and have their own challenges … and they are all the same when they laugh, cry and hug.”

Scott said he’s eager to hear from others who have dealt with similar situations. He can be reached at robbscott@eastlink.ca to share stories and help each other spread awareness.

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mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

 

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  • Headly
    November 03, 2013 - 22:50

    I have added this video as part of a unit I do on bullying. Its message provides an example that young people can relate to. Thanks again Robb.

  • Richard L. Provencher
    November 02, 2013 - 22:22

    This is an article worthy of support to encourage people to refrain from using hurtful words, against defenseless persons.. I am also appalled at those major newspaper forum bloggers who write disgusting, derogatory and malicious comments against the government as well as our police forces who work hard to secure our community safety. There are regular bloggers who respond regularly after articles, with vitriol and disgusting language too often. I also feel no blogger should be allowed to make remarks on newspaper blogs, unless they give their full name. If adults cannot control their negative attitudes on public forums, where do younger persons go to for guidance?