In a newly released song, Jodeci Freestyle, artists Drake and J.Cole use the “r-word” and the term “autistic” as insults. I find it hard to believe that there is nothing else that will rhyme with “started”, aside from retarded. And using autistic in this manner is an insult to thousands of individuals on the autism spectrum who deserve respect. The context doesn’t matter, the use of both words is a slur that demeans individuals with disabilities – and that is unacceptable.
Words are a powerful thing, and sadly many influential people, like Drake and J.Cole, still fail to see the impact of their words. Rappers, actors, and any public figures have a responsibility to the people who admire them to choose their words wisely. There is no denying that both Drake and J.Cole are talented musicians, admired worldwide, which makes it even more important that they put thought into every word they use. Your choice in words is a reflection on you and your beliefs. Public figures or artists should not want to be connected to the ignorance and malice associated with the words that Drake and J.Cole chose to use.
Sadly, I am not shocked to hear that the r-word is being used in a rap song, but it doesn’t mean that I am not disappointed. The fact of the matter is that using language that was rejected by the people it was used to describe is a slur against them and shows blatant disrespect. We as a society should not allow language that diminishes another person’s value or insults them to be socially acceptable. I see this as an opportunity to educate more individuals, and hopefully educate Drake and J.Cole. Their fans are among the many who have already signed a petition condemning their language in this song. Hopefully, this petition will send a message to them that their choice in words is absolutely wrong, and their fans are paying attention.