Today we went to the playground.
Liam and Elliot were sliding, and biking, and swinging, and generally having a good ole time. Then suddenly a clan of loud obnoxious boys appeared. The youngest little boy was about 4. He kept taking his shoes off. At one point my Elliot ran off with his shoes and I had to intervene. There were about 5 other boys with this little fancy free footed boy, mostly pre-teen or teenagers. They came to the playground without a parent. These boys were running a muck, being generally bratty. I heard these older boys repeatedly call the little shoeless boy "Retard".. they were saying, "Come over here retard" or "Put your shoes on retard".
The little shoeless boy to me seemed not to be a "retard". Of course, it doesn't really matter... Because ANY way it is never cool to call some "retard" in a way that is meant to be offensive. They were calling the little boy Retard like it was his name. And they never even said the kid's actual name, and I was listening for it.
So I don't always or usually speak up on matters like this.. but today I did. I said to the kids "Hey, does y'all's Mom let you call him retard?" The main perp didn't say anything. One boy said "It wasn't me who called him retard." He was nice about it, I believe he was telling the truth. And then I said, "Well, it's not really........ appropriate."
And that was it. I am sure the little kid will get called "Retard" again. But my hope is maybe next time one of those kids will stand up for him. Someone will actually think about it.
My thinking on this is: in our society it isn't acceptable to call someone "retard" in an offensive context. So today, I was just one of the should-be-many people to let the boys know this isn't acceptable behavior.
Well, what would you have done ?