+
More

My Marine instructor insulted me by using the r-word. This is how I responded.

My boot camp experience was tough. But the toughest part was the insults.

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

I’m not here to criticize the United States Marine Corps on how they train new recruits.

They’ve been doing it for more than 200 years, so they must know what they’re doing.


Photo via iStock.

My intention instead is to give an account of how standing up for people with intellectual disabilities is possible, even to arguably the scariest individuals you can imagine.

Here’s what happened:

During a period of instruction on Marine Corps values, I answered a question that, while technically correct, wasn’t the answer my heavy (a Marine term for the drill instructor tasked with making life extremely difficult) was looking for.

"You must be a [r-word], Mitchell."

The look on my face must have revealed the disgust and disapproval I had for his choice of words. In boot camp, this is a big no-no. The drill instructor told me to stand back up and explain my inappropriate reaction. I yelled in my best recruit sound-off voice, "Sir, this recruit is offended by that word, sir."

There was about three seconds of stunned collective silence in our squad bay.

It felt more like five minutes, though. My drill instructor kicked over a footlocker, ran right up to my face wearing his signature Smokey the Bear hat, and began to use everything in the book to get at me.

When you’re in boot camp, the only thing you have is the fellow recruits in your platoon and your family who writes to you.

My brother, Chess, has Down syndrome. And throughout my life, I avoided taking a stand against people who made fun of those with intellectual disabilities.

But on this particular day, I couldn’t take it. I had to say something. I got chewed out as a result. A couple of days later, the senior drill instructor asked me about the incident, but no recourse was really taken.

I do remember during my last days of training introducing my drill instructor to my brother at family day.

Me and my brother. Photo via Jay Mitchell, used with permission.

Again, it’s not my intention to vilify the Marine Corps drill instructors.

Those men and women are a vital part of our nation, and it’s their job to prepare our next generation of Marines. Drill instructors are consummate professionals at all times. They’re trained not to discriminate against any recruits based on religion, ethnicity, country of origin, or race.

In my explanation to my senior drill instructor, I explained that no drill instructor would call a recruit the n-word, which is just as offensive to me.

Even though standing up against someone who uses the r-word can be frightening, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that the moment will be etched into that person’s memory.

I don’t know if my instructor ever used that word again. He probably has. My platoon saw me stand up for my brother. And they might laugh thinking about it, but the story sticks and they’re reminded that the r-word is offensive and wrong when they remember it.

So when you’re hurt or offended by someone using the r-word, don’t be afraid to let them know. If they defend their use of it, there’s not a lot you can do to help them.

But maybe if enough people keep letting them know why it’s wrong, they might change over time.

All photos courtesy of Albertsons
True

Summer is officially over, which means we’re looking for any excuse to get together and watch a game or grill outside in the cooling temperatures.

The thing about hosting though is figuring out what to feed your guests—especially with rising prices all around. And frankly, everyone is sick of pizza.

Keep ReadingShow less

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

Keep ReadingShow less

A tiger at the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary and a mugshot of Joe Exotic from Santa Rosa County Jail.

Netflix’s “Tiger King” will go down in history as the collective distraction that helped America get through the dark, depressing days of early COVID-19 lockdowns. The show followed the true story of the feud between private zoo owner Joe Exotic, the self-described “gay, gun-carrying, redneck with a mullet,” and Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue.

Exotic is currently serving out a 21-year prison sentence for animal rights abuses and hiring someone to kill Baskin.

The show was a raucous look inside the world of big cat owners and brought a lot of attention to the animal abuse that runs rampant in the industry. The light it shed on the industry was so bright it led Congress to take action. The Senate unanimously passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act on December 6. The House had already passed the bill in July.

The White House has signaled that President Biden will sign the bill into law.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.

Firmbee/Canva

Google's 2022 Year in Search report shows what trended this year.

There's a lot you can tell about a person by their search history (unless they're a murder-mystery writer, in which case no one should jump to conclusions). And our search habits on the whole can tell us a lot about ourselves as a collective as well.

For better or for worse, what we look up on the internet is an indicator of what we care about, and Google's Year in Search report gives us some insight into what we cared about this past year.

There are reports for different countries as well as a global report. Let's start with what my fellow Americans looked up, shall we?

Keep ReadingShow less