Monday, August 11, 2008

Thunderous Controversy

The disability communities are all abuzz about the movie Tropic Thunder. I don't know if it's hit the mainstream press yet - but I thought I'd share it with YOU - since I know you all love Ruby, too.

The concern is the movie throws around the dreaded R word - retard. It throws it around A LOT - there are even t-shirts out already.

Yes, the movie makes fun of gay people & other races (at least African-American, I'm not sure beyond that). But I bet they don't use the word f@ggot or n*gger. Retard is comparable to those words. It's a hateful word, making fun of people who often have no place or chance to defend themselves.

It's especially associated with people who have Down syndrome - because they can't hide their DS. They wear it on their faces. And they shouldn't have to hide it. But, yes, mental retardation can be part of the diagnosis for a person with DS. And throwing around the word "retard" can make it seem as though there's something very wrong and very negative to have any sort of retardation. Well, we know better than that - but it's still a very hurtful word.

Anyway. I don't have a whole lot new to say about this - but I wanted to put this info out there for you to read. This interesting little blurb talks about a boycott being called on the movie later today.

I first heard about this controversy on the blog of another parent. Since then, many other blogs I read have jumped in to share their thoughts, to let people know about this. For instance this family and Sophie's mom - blogs of parents who are rightfully upset. If you have time, check out Dave Hingsburger's open letter to Ben Stiller.


My daughter has value. She is loved. She is so much more than her diagnosis, her labels.

Please, don't use the word retard anymore. Thanks.

14 comments:

ann said...

I work in Special Education. That word makes my blood boil. I hope people do boycott that movie!

Amber said...

Sorry you even have to defend sweet Ruby. I hope people take this oppurtunity to think about how what they say effects others.

Kellie said...

That word is wrong. Even when someone says it in a "joking" manner, like "Don't be retarded. Of course I love you." Wrong. Hurtful. Disrespectful.

Ruby should never have to "hide" her DS. It's what makes her HER. She is just as special and beautiful as a child without it. I love her. I don't even know her and I love her.

Her? I'd SO share cupcakes with :)

Liz Ditz said...

Here's my post, Words Hurt: The "R" Word. It covers more than the Stiller movie. I've linked to this post.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for writing this - the more people that are offended by this situation the more it helps me to feel that maybe there is hope after all.

Sara said...

Hope you don't mind, but I used your post & the links in your post to create a post in regard to this movie. I figure, the more people that read how offensive this is, the better. Unfortunately, I don't think people understand how hurtful the word retarded can be.

Ctevia said...

My lunch is balled up in my stomach and I just want to cry...for our daughters and the many other children that will be hurt by this.

Rachel said...

I feel really bad. I don't really know anyone with downs and I never knew that word was so offensive. I have been known to use that word, having no idea it was hurtful. You can call me ignorant. I wouldn't purposely hurt the feelings of anyone, especially the mother of someone as precious as Ruby. I will no longer use that word, EVER. Thanks for the information, I guess I needed it. Also, I am sorry.

Kim said...

Ugh! How horrible, I hadn't read anything about the movie. I did see a preview and didn't like the looks of it then. Now I am not going to even watch the previews!

Maia said...

Awful. I got a psychological eval back today on a kid that I work with and I was again reminded that "mentally retarded" is a term that is used commonly in the schooling/psychology area. Still. It's so hurtful - I don't understand why it's still used.

Lost A Sock said...

I wish I could print this entry twelve thousand times and hand it to everyone I see.

debi said...

My daughter and I were just talking about this film. This word bothers me more than the others though they are all wrong and I cannot understand why anyone would think it funny. Won't be wasting our money on that one. And you are right, we all love little Ruby.

Anonymous said...

Michelle,
The best thing about this BLOG is the education that WE get. I have learned so much about Downs, Cancer and my daughter. You. You are building a huge family on line.
Rachel, you know a child with downs because of this blog and you are definitely not alone in using the wrong words.You are right it is ignorance and lack of exposure. Thank you Ruby for the education.
Love 'youse' guys, Dad/ Boppa Bob

Lisa said...

I am sorry it offends you, but it is just a word. It means, "less advanced, especially mentally, than is usual for one's age". It is exactly what it is. I have a retarded son, and I see nothing wrong with the word. He sees noting wrong with the word. People from other countries see nothing wrong with the word. People can take anything and make it into something ugly, and that is what some people try to do with this word. It is just like calling a black person a Nigger. It was not originally intended to be offensive, but people made it that way. Before you start accusing me of being some backwoods hick, I will let you know that I have 3 Master's Degrees and I work with children. Words only have as much power as you give them. The people of the USA need to stop being so damn PC and concentrate on more important things!

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