41.6 F
Thursday, June 30, 2022

They Said The “R Word”

Tony Tone
Tony Tone has worked as a radio personality in Muscatine and the Quad Cities since 2006. He currently serves as Muscatine Community School District Communication and Community Outreach Director and writes Talk of the Town with Tony Tone for the Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Muscatine Living

I’m about as laid back of a person as they come. My mild-mannered nature rarely changes, and that’s the way I like to carry myself. Life is far too short for me to walk around being angry. That being said, there are a few exceptions.

Last week, I was with my family in a public place when I heard a group of kids using the “R Word.” At first, I thought maybe I had misheard them, but it happened a second time followed by laughter.

I immediately said to the group, “hey guys, can you not use that word? It’s not appropriate, and there are several special needs people not too far away that don’t need to hear that.” They attempted to brush me off and say it wasn’t a big deal, but I assured them it indeed is a big deal and incredibly insensitive.

My cousin Michelle Gamboney is in her mid-forties and was the first person I knew with special needs. Michelle was never treated differently, and her parents (my late Aunt Maureen and Uncle Bob) wanted her to always feel included and able to live a full life. The one thing my dear Aunt Maureen instilled in all of us was to not sit idly by as people use the “R Word” or bully special needs children and adults. Michelle is my mom’s goddaughter and she’s been part of my life for all these years. I’m thirty-five years old, and throughout the course of my life, I’ve stood up for special needs people and have tried to educate those who need it.

Getting back to my conversation with the group of young people, I asked them if they knew anyone personally who has special needs.

One of them spoke up, “yes, a kid at school.”

I asked how he thought it would make that student feel knowing they were laughing and using the “R Word” with a group of special needs people nearby. “Probably bad,” was the reply, and he was right, of course.

I told them that even if they didn’t personally know someone with special needs, they can at least understand how using a word like that would be offensive and certainly not okay in a public place. We’re all different in our own ways. Some of us need more help than others, but we are all deserving of respect.

Muscatine County as a whole does a great job providing opportunities for those with special needs. From Special Olympics Muscatine to Crossroads and various companies that offer employment opportunities, a strong effort is being put forth to improve the quality of life of those who need assistance.

I’m not sharing this recent encounter to be praised. I did the right thing and will continue to do so. If anything, I hope you’ll do the same should you find yourself in a similar situation. Let your voice be heard for those who cannot speak for themselves.

To those that have dedicated their lives to helping those with special needs, thank you. This includes people like my wife, Kasey, who works full-time with her brother, Nolan. I have the utmost respect for all of you and you need to understand the powerful impact you’re having on these individuals.

Latest News

Goodwill Helms Career Center offers job search assistance

MUSCATINE, Iowa--Whether people have started the search for their first job, would like to change careers, or reenter the...

More Articles Like This

Muscatine Today

MTS- Brandon is here to talk about Fat Cat

Today on the show Scott Schultz from Impact Fitness and Nutrition is here to talk about more healthy fitness tips. Then if you are looking to get your car cleaned up from the winter listen to today's show to learn about a business in town that can help you with that and more..... Thank you to our show sponsors: Harpers Cycling and Fitness, Beckey Insurance, Muscatine Power and Water, RIVO Plumbing and Heating, ImpactLife Blood Center, Lutheran Living, Toyota of Muscatine, Impact Fitness and Nutrition, Sun Tan City Muscatine, Real Estate Resource Associates, UnityPoint Health Trinity Muscatine and Hy-Vee Muscatine #muscatinetodayshow #goodmorningmuscatine #KindnessIsFree

DMSN Broadcasts

Manta Rays Swim

Join us as the Muskie Boys Basketball team hosts the North Scott Lancers! Watch Your Way: DiscoverMuscatine.com Discover Muscatine Facebook Discover Muscatine YouTube DiscoverMuskie Twitter Muscatine Power and Water Cable Channel 3 Brought to you by Muscatine Power and Water, Muscatine Lawn and Power, Hy-Vee, Bayer of Muscatine, First National Bank of Muscatine, Affordable Metal Manufacturing, Eastern Iowa Power Washers, Arty’s Ice Cream and Grill, Rivo Plumbing and Heating, Riots and Rebelle’s Salon, Bickford Senior Living, Let’s Eat, Muscatine Community Y and the Youth Sports Foundation. #DMSN #MuskieSports #Muscatine #MuskieSchools #basketball #prephoops #prepbasketball

Talk of the Town

People you should know: Mobile food pantry volunteers!

The River Bend Mobile Food Pantry is held 11 months out of the year in the parking lot of the Muscatine Community School District's...

Muscatine Area News

Goodwill Helms Career Center offers job search assistance

MUSCATINE, Iowa--Whether people have started the search for their first job, would like to change careers, or reenter the workforce after taking time away...