Actress and Mencap supporter Ty Glaser has become the latest high-profile supporter of Mencap's R-word campaign, which is calling on people to stop using a term that is offensive and derogatory to people with a learning disability.
Glaser (pictured) joined students at the Ealing campus of Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College to sign the pledge, as part of the College’s Disability Equality Week in partnership with learning disability charity Mencap.
End use of the derogatory R-word
Mencap's campaign, which started in America and is now worldwide, aims to end the use of the derogatory R-word – retard – as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.
The actress, who has a sister with a learning disability, said: "Sometimes people with learning disabilities can be called cruel names because they are considered ‘different’.
"But it’s also worrying that this offensive language is starting to be used everyday by people who don’t really understand its meaning. If people used racist language in the same way, the public would be outraged.
"It will be a long battle to stop people using derogatory language, but we need to start somewhere, which is why I signed Mencap’s pledge to never use the R-word."
Underestimating the power of derogatory language
As part of the campaign a banner was taken to all four of the College’s campuses (Hammersmith, Ealing, Acton and Southall) throughout last week [3-7 June] to gather as many signature pledges as possible to stop using the R-word.
Mark Grainger, regional campaigns officer for Mencap, said: “People often underestimate the power of the language that we use every day.
"The impact of derogatory language on the lives of people with a learning disability can be devastating – indeed, we’ve heard from many people who are too frightened to leave their house because they face torrents of abusive language and confrontation on a daily basis.
"By pledging to stop saying the R-word, we can start to create a more inclusive and tolerant society – one signature at a time – where people with a learning disability are valued, respected and safe."
For more information visit: www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/take-action/r-word-campaign