You know what? I’m pissed.
I’m not usually one to go there. Frankly, life is full, I’m busy, and pretty much nobody wants to hear it. I get that. But this is my blog and today I’m venting.
There’s a local afternoon radio program in New Orleans. It is, at best, mediocre. It also comes on the radio station with all the Top 40 music that Charlie loves so much. So, despite not loving the program, when we’re driving an hour each way to Feldenkrais therapy, I will occasionally have it on.
Imagine my dismay today when I heard one of the DJ’s call the other “retarded” on the air. There I am, riding in my car with my disabled child and THAT comes on the radio. I immediately changed the station, but the damage was done in my mind. A black mark on the already stressful adventure of taking four small children into the city.
At the first available red light I tweeted my dismay.
As I expected, the radio station didn’t respond to my tweet. Why should they? Who am I? Nobody. About three people responded and two retweeted me. I wrote a tweet about my cat throwing up on my dining room table once that garnered more attention.
And that was fine with me. I made my complaint. It was my fault for listening to the show with the kids in the car–I shouldn’t have expected anything different.
But you know what frosts my freakin’ cookies? When people defend stupid choices. When people say things that are hurtful and then get all bent out of shape when they get called on it. I mean, really? No part of me thinks that DJ was completely unaware when she uttered that word. She knew exactly what she said, but rather than apologize, the station posted this:
And then this:
I get that it’s a free country. I get that we all have freedom of speech, but freedom of speech is not the same as being a jerk and never getting called on it. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that people have to listen and not say anything.
So I’m saying something. Here, in my space, and if you don’t want to read it, then don’t. And if you don’t agree, that’s fine too. I’m tired of being quiet about this:
It’s not cool to use the word retarded as an insult. Not cool at all. Defending the usage in a public forum? Ridiculous. Inexcusable.
This is a city where earlier this year we heard how just one person uttering that word can ruin a child’s entire experience at Mardi Gras. No one who lives here can say they have no idea that those words can be hurtful. They know.
I don’t expect that DJ will apologize and the station she works for probably won’t either. If anything, probably a couple of people unfollowed me on Twitter for making a big deal out it.
I’m fine with that. People being ugly is one thing–institutions defending the practice is another.
It’s not right.
**The DJ at B97 post an apology on both Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been told there was an on-air apology as well, but I didn’t hear it. I’m posting the Twitter apology below–it appeared exactly the same way on Facebook. Some people don’t love the apology, but I’m happy one was issued. I think we always hope that a better understanding of the issue will be a result of talking about these issues, but a step in the right direct is still a step in the right direction. **