Ok we had to give persuasive speeches in my Honor English class. This is mine. I left it in the speech form because I don't feel like rewriting it at the moment. I might repost it (or something similar) when I have to write my history "Heroes and Zeroes" papers. Anywho, enjoy and I'd love feedback. I didn't get much from my class except "Good Job".

My brother Joshua was born almost two years ago. He's the baby of our family, the youngest of seven kids. He is, for the most part, a very happy child. But when he gets angry or upset, he certainly shows it. He loves playing with his mini blow-up beach ball. He dances and Wiggles to music my sisters and I watch on MTV. He can sing and say his own name and loves to mimic people. Joshua also happens to have Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down syndrome.

Some features of Down syndrome include, hypertonia, which is low muscle tone. And half of all people born with Down syndrome have heart defects; fortunately Joshua isn't one of them. Down syndrome also includes mild to moderate mental retardation.

Because of this my family, as well as many others like mine were very offended when the song "Let's Get Retarded" by the Black Eyed Peas came out. They remade the song earlier this year to "Let's get it Started". The new version was played as the theme song for the NBA finals, as well as at the Democratic National Convention. Many people have told me I shouldn't be offended by the new song; it is after all a completely different song is it not? The fact of the matter is that the new version is still associated with the original and is still very offensive.

The Black Eyed Peas, as well as those associated with the NBA and the Democratic National Convention, have tried justifying their use of the offensive term in their song. A woman, mother of a son with Down syndrome, wrote the Black Eyed Peas about her thoughts on the offensive song. This was his reply:

"I'm sorry to hear about your child. I'm shure he's beautiful. But Retarded

has several meanings and you chose to focus on one! The word retarded in

music means to "Slow down" and that's what the song says is to slow down

your inhabitions and let go. So before you go and judge, make shure you

have the facts. Thanks"

Her response in regard to the first line, "I'm sorry to hear about your child":

"Please don't be sorry to hear about my child. There is nothing sorry

about him. He is doing well and has made our lives and the lives around

him joyous."

IN regard to the rest of his letter he is semi-correct about his assessment of the word "retarded" meaning to "slow down" in music. But actually "ritard" derived from "ritardando" is the musical term for slow down. But obviously we can't expect them to spell that correctly in their lyrics if they can't even spell "sure" and "inhibitions" correctly. So I guess I could sort of understand that. But what I don't understand is that if they were using "retarded" in a musical sense to mean "slow down" what does it mean to "get stupid" in a musical sense? And perhaps those of you out there that play the piano or the flute could tell me what "epilepsy" means in musical terms.

The specific line "Bob your head like epilepsy" is also very offensive to me. A boy in my class died at the age of eleven because of complications of epilepsy. Why anyone would like to dance around to the death of my classmate is beyond me.

An article by Bridget Johnson commented that this only has to do with being Politically Correct and that the people who were getting the most offended at the song really had no right to be because they weren't the ones with the actual mental disability. So anyone who is touched by the lives of those with a mental disability has no right to be stand up for their friend or family member. So, next time your in a situation where your friend is being verbally attacked because of their race, religion, or beliefs, don't stand up for them or, in fact, have the slightest bit of feeling towards the situation because you have no right to. And, also, according to this woman's article the people who should be offended are either too stupid to realize what is being said about them or they have no time to pay attention to these offensive statements because they are too busy trying to break down the stereotypical barriers set up against them.

Many people responded to this woman's article. I am very proud of one woman's response. And I love how she ended it as well:

"I guess I'm not satisfied with the countless vocabulary options we have

in the english language to use as a substitue, and thank you for encouraging

me not to look for them. From now on when I mean ugly, bad, and stupid,

I'll just use the word "Bridget", as in "that was sooooo Bridget". But don't

worry, it's not personal."

So I'm asking you, please stop using the term "retarded" so inappropriately. Many use it to mean "stupid" even though that's not what it means. My brother does have mental retardation and is by no means stupid. He can say his name, he can sign and say "more" when he wants more food, and he knows the signs for shoes, ball, mommy, and daddy. He is a very bright baby and is a complete counter example for the synonymous definitions of stupid and the slang term "retarded".

I believe if we all stop using the term retarded, other than in a medical sense (and musical when spelled correctly) as well as stopping the use of other offensive terms such as the "N" word and terms like "That's so gay!" will make many millions of people happy. It's not a hard thing to do, change one or two words in your vocabulary. So I believe we should stop using the offensive terms, teaching our younger brothers and sisters, and our children not to be offensive and to stand up when other people do.

I got my information from personal experiences as well as:

Trisomy 21

The National Down Syndrome

Opinion ?id110005723

Thank you for reading this and please post any responses or criticism.