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QUIT PLAYIN’: America…Retarded or Dumb?

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” Marian Wright Edelman, Former Director, Children’s Defense Fund.

Retarded or Dumb

As harmless as it once sounded to my generation, we don’t call kids with disabilities “retarded” anymore. We thought we were more sensitive than the generation before ours just called them the “dumb.”

But that’s nothing compared to what they call them in Utah, where they called them Niggers. Retarded and dumb are less than affable, to say the least, but calling a child with autism a Nigger has to be proof that America is at its lowest point. We don’t stand for children, and we don’t stand for much.

You may have nodded on this story, but I have not been able to sleep since seeing it on CNN. My pastor says that empathy is the ability to live in someone else’s skin. As an empathetic parent, this story makes my skin crawl.

“Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, a 10-year-old Black and autistic student in Utah, died by suicide last Saturday after allegedly being bullied by classmates, and her family’s complaints were ignored, the family’s lawyer tells CNN.

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The tragedy comes just weeks after the Justice Department publicly detailed a disturbing pattern where Black and Asian American students at the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, were harassed for years, and officials deliberately ignored complaints from parents and students. The DOJ detailed the pattern in a report and settlement agreement released in October. The agency had been investigating the school district since July 2019.”

Izzy’s mother and stepfather, Brittany Clark Tichenor Cox and Charles Cox must be going through hell. Utah is hardly the most diverse place in the world. The state is 87% White, 2.32% Asian: 1.19% Black or African American, and 2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Retarded or Dumb

Like most Red states, Utah resists changes, so that old proclamation stands even if it’s not posted. “No Jews, No Mexicans, No Niggers, and No Dogs.” The only exception is Utah is probably the dogs.

Rather than hang my suppositions on the fatal treatment of a Black 10-year old, let me suggest that the hatred that has infused and inflated American social and political tension is not limited to children of color.

Gaze at a New York Times article reporting on the civil trial against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

‘Mr. Jones for years spread bogus theories that the shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six educators was part of a government-led plot to confiscate Americans’ firearms and that the victims’ families were “actors” in the scheme. People who believed those false claims accosted the families on the street and at events honoring their slain loved ones, abused them online, contacted them at their homes and threatened their lives.

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The parents of Noah Pozner, the youngest Sandy Hook victim, whose parents were the first to sue Mr. Jones, have moved nearly 10 times since the shooting and live in hiding. Each time the family moved, conspiracists published their new home address “with the speed of light,” she said.”

The Crimes Against Children Research website shows just how brutal we are to the littlest and least among us.

“CCRC researchers conducted the Developmental Victimization Survey to gather data on a range of victimizations from birth until adulthood over the course of one year.

Just more than half of youth (530 per 1000) experienced a physical assault, mostly between the ages of 6 and 12. One in 12 (82 of 1000) youth experienced sexual victimization, including sexual assault and attempted or completed rape.”

Child maltreatment was experienced by 138 per 1000 of our children. Maltreatment includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and family abduction) of which emotional abuse (name-calling or denigration by an adult) was most frequent in occurrence.

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These numbers are startling, but what’s more confounding is that we have policymakers who talk about everything but child welfare. The suicide of Izzy and the trial of Alex Jones are not anomalies. We don’t stand up for children, and there is not much they can do to protect themselves.

America appears to be either retarded or just plain dumb and its killing our children!


Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.

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Written By

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and award-winning columnist.


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