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Tropic Blunder! My Daughter IS NOT a Retard!

by McKenna on August 11, 2008
category: Down syndrome,In the news,Inspiration,Video

Today has been very busy! Late last week, I learned about this new movie, Tropic Blunder Thunder. It’s full of big name celebrities including Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey, Jr., Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise, etc… The movie is a comedy making fun of actors. The main characters are actors in the movie, so there are “movies-within-the movie.” Tropic Thunder used one of these “movies-within-the-movie,” titled “Simple Jack” for a promotional campaign. Simple Jack was about a person with an intellectual disability and used hateful language and depicted his character in cruel ways. The promotional campaign included posters stating “Once upon a time, there was a retard” and a trailer for viewing which has Christine Taylor’s voice saying “I’ll talk to any retard I like.” During the production of the film, the cast discussed their concern about some of the racial slurs and wanted to make sure they didn’t cross the line with the racial banter, however they did nothing to protect anyone from the cruelty shown toward individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Major disability rights organizations discovered this and met with DreamWorks to discuss their concern and outrage over “Simple Jack.” The promotional campaign was pulled, however there were no changes to the movie made. In the movie, Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller’s character discusses his role as Simple Jack with Robert Downey, Jr. They discuss how Stiller stated that while making the film, he actually felt retarded. The two characters exchange cruel banter filled with derogatory terms toward people with intellectual disabilities and ends with Downey, Jr. telling Stiller to “never go full retard.” You can read the script HERE and watch parts of this scene on the trailer HERE. Shortly after this script leaked, t-shirts were found on the internet with the slogan, “Never Go Full Retard.” There are many more issues with the movie and those who have previewed it, such as representatives of the National Down Syndrome Congress say that after watching the film, they felt “assaulted” and it is actually worse than the internet activists have been able to show.

The creators and cast of “Tropic Thunder” have chosen to continue on with the release of the movie on Wednesday, August 13th without making any changes or cuts to the film. They claim that the film is satire and “the movie’s humor was aimed not at the disabled but at the foolishness of actors who will go to any length in advancing their careers.” Ha! There’s some irony for ya!

Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, wrote the most wonderful article in the Washington Post today. He describes the cruelty that is shown in our society toward people with intellectual disabilities. I was startled to learn that “Gallup found that more than 60 percent of Americans don’t want a person with an intellectual disability at their child’s school. ” We’ve come so far and I’m so happy we are not the society of 50 years ago, but in a society that aborts over 90% of prenatally diagnosed babies with Down syndrome it’s hard to say that we’ve arrived to the place of acceptance toward people with intellectual differences.

While freedom of speech is one of our greatest gifts, I am hoping that we as a society can make the word “retard” and the abuse of the word “retarded” taboo. I hope that we can teach our children that it is never ok to make fun of someone with intellectual disabilities, whether it is direct or indirect. I hope that we can choose to not do the “PC eyeroll” at people fighting the abuse of the words “mental retardation.” I hope that we will tell Hollywood what is funny and what is not funny. This is not about being “politically correct” this is about dignity and respect.

What am I doing about it?

  • Blogging about this has been a way for me to create awareness and vent my frustration about this film and the abuse of my daughter’s medical diagnosis of mental retardation.
  • Online forums and communities have also been an area I have been making a strong presence in. This has been a great way to get more up-to-date information and get ideas on how to make some changes. There is power in numbers!
  • Boycotting the film. While this may or may not keep a large number of people from seeing this film, it will keep those who love my daughter from watching it. For every 1 person who is interested in this film because of the negative attention it is receiving, I hope that 5 people will be turned off of the movie.
  • I am waiting to see what The ARC and my local Down Syndrome Association recommends regarding physically protesting at the movie theater. If I make a public appearance, I plan on having information handy (and will be calling our news station that did the interview again!)
  • Contacting every local news source has proven to be successful as well!

I expect a lot of people to think I’m being extreme, oversensitive, and time-wasting. However, most people that would think that don’t have a little girl who is going to come home from the playground someday crying because she was called a retard. Most people don’t have typical sons who are going to come home crying because someone called their sister a retard. Although, the name-calling that is bound to ensue my children’s future is the “best case scenario” for my kids. Most people are unaware at the cruel, hateful, violent, dangerous acts that are committed against people with intellectual differences all the time. According to The Arc’s Q&A on abuse of children with intellectual disabilities, the statistics are that children with intellectual disabilites are 4-10 times more likely than non-disabled peers to be victims of crime and twice as likely to be victims of physically and sexual abuse.

The bottom line is this. My beautiful daughter, Darah who has an intellectual disability IS NOT a “retard.” That word has no place in any of our vocabulary, and Hollywood needs to understand that while my daughter does not yet have a voice to stand up for herself, she has a Mamma! And this Mamma is not going to sit back and allow her baby girl to be the butt of the joke!

24 Responses to Tropic Blunder! My Daughter IS NOT a Retard!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kathleen Teal
    August 11, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

    I am heartbroke over the release of this movie because of the use of offensive language and the manner in which it is used. I am disgusted that an advocate or consultant for disabilities was not used during the making of this film. I am even more disgusted that not one person on staff ever thought to question the use of this hateful language. I understand that it is meant to be satire. However, the r-word has not yet reached the same status of the n-word and therefore it will be used to quote this movie as a joke, a put down, or to threaten and demean another person. I am the mother of an almost four year old daughter with down syndrome and as a parent I want what is best for my child. I fight everyday to try to pave the way for a safe and happy future for my daughter, Avery. By making and releasing this movie, Ben Stiller has single handedly undone years of fighting and hard work to gain some sort of acceptance for children like mine. And worse yet, Ben Stiller has damaged the future emotional well being for my child and others like her. Shame on you Ben Stiller. Look at the lengths you as “Hollywood” have gone through to be successful! You are doing the very thing that you were making fun of!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by James
    August 12, 2008 @ 1:40 am

    Have you seen the movie?

    If you haven’t then you have no right to say anything at all. If you watch the movie and then it still offends you then you have the right to voice your opinion. But don’t try and tell me what I can and cannot watch because are offended by it. That’s my decision to make.

    I’ve worked with the mentally handicapped for years and I’m not offended by the term “retard” when used is this context (I am offend when people call a mentally handicapped person a retard, but if you notice THAT NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE FILM). I am offended, however, by actors playing mentally handicapped just to get an Oscar, which is what this movie is really spoofing by using that word.

    Finally, based on what I’ve seen of Tropic Thunder the only people who use the word “retard” are idiots. That’s not exactly an endorsement. A bunch of movies feature idiots and morons use racist and hate-filled speech all the time, if you’re going to show a person from the KKK then they’re going to use the N-word. If you’re going to show a homophobe then they are going to say “fag.” If you’re going to show a bunch of people who are blind to the problems that the mentally handicapped face then you are probably going to hear the word “retard.”

    There are thousands of movies and TV shows that come out each year that actually DO portray the mentally handicapped in a negative light. Attack them.

    -James

    PS: “Retard” is quickly becoming like moron and idiot – a word that used to describe the mentally handicapped, but now just describing a stupid person. Language evolves.

    PPS: Tropic Thunder is a flash in the pan. Remember the damage that Basic Instinct did to bisexuals or that A Fish Called Wanda did to stutterers? Didn’t think so. Try to focus your energy on stuff that matters.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristy
    August 12, 2008 @ 6:22 am

    McKenna…I completely agree and support your thoughts and comments. Keep on advocating, you will and do make a difference.

    James….do you have a child who is mentally retarded? Because it is comepletely different than working with one. Not until a person you love with your whole being is being made fun of, would you ever understand the depth of this hurt. Some of these children are not old enough to defend themselves, and they need people like their parents to educate the ignorant people of this world. Language evolves? Seems like just another ignorant comment to me. Does hurt need to evolve with it?

    My beautiful, three year old little boy with Down Syndrome deserves to have us advocate for him…we love him.

    Kristy

    PS: How come it is acceptable to write the word retard, but not the n-word?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristen
    August 12, 2008 @ 6:25 am

    Wow James. Just because you work with those with handicaps, does not mean that you are the almighty power of what would be offensive to those of us that actually have a loved one with an intellectual disability. Your PS is exactly why I am so angry with this film. My son is far from stupid and YES, it is offensive that the ‘r’ word has become standard language today for just that. I will have to send my son to school in a couple of weeks wondering if some kid is going to be coining the new smash hit phrase of the summer – Never go full r****d. That hurts me. It makes my heart ache for the children who are old enough to know that someone is making fun of them.

    So, Mom’s- please listen to our heartfelt cry for our children. It would not be acceptable at all if oh, this movie’s scene with Stiller & Downey Jr. went more like this:

    “You know when I was portraying a black man, I surrounded myself with nig***. I really began to feel like a nig***.”

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be ALL over Dreamworks ass, and rightfully so. So, if mom’s like myself and McKenna have to be the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson of disability rights and portrayal- game on. We WILL protect our children.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Nancy Iannone
    August 12, 2008 @ 6:32 am

    If I have to hear Stiller pat himself on the back ONE MORE TIME for his careful use of racial humor so as not to offend I will scream! Where was your brilliant ability to be funny AND sensitive when it came to my little girl? Homor and satire, making fun of shallow actors — all of it is OK. But to clearly make a specific choice to protect racial groups WHILE simultaneously trampling my child – unacceptable. There are ways to do cutting-edge humor, even disability-related humor – that neither debase nor demean. I just wish he’d thought about it for even just one second before he went ahead so that he could count on people like James to not give a damn about how much words hurt.

    This is the best reflection ever from a person who is completely unrelated to the disability community:

    http://mediaandmayhem.com/2008/08/09/bravo-dreamworks-what-courage-it-must-taken-to-make-fun-of-retards/

    And James, your statement makes me recall the time our caseworker came into my home and used the R-word (definitely not in its clinical context). I told her “You’ve gotta get a new word” and she looked puzzled. The two therapists there told her – “you said retarded” – they seemed surprised that she did not even realize. “Oh,” she responded, “At least I didn’t say ‘stupid.’ I teach my kids never to say, ‘stupid.’” Hello? THIS IS YOUR JOB!! Get a clue about how your words impact the people you work with. If that word is so important to you that you can’t let it go to save people some pain, at the very least pick a new career James. You may be completely fine wth the ongoing evolution of a word based on MY child’s disability to include a host of negative images but those of us who actually LOVE someone with Down syndrome and who care how words impact them and us do not appreciate it!

    If you say that word in ignorance of its impact on us – you are ignorant. But if you say it with full knowledge as you should have by now – you are cruel no matter how much you protest about about you don’t mean it “that way.”

    As far as your paternalistic advice for us to focus on “what matters” – our children and their life-long efforts to fit into a world that has historically abused and devalued them, and is on a current “Tropic Thunder” high of ridiculing them – most certainly does matter. Though obviously not to you.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by MK
    August 12, 2008 @ 6:42 am

    James,
    One of the biggest problem I have (as a mother of a child with intellectual disability) is that the studio released a number of promotional items around the “Simple Jack” story out of the context of the rest of the film. A picture of a well known actor who is playing an man who is a jerk playing a person with a disability with the words “never go full retard” on it isn’t satire taken out of context. At that point the studio released the promo and the spoof website, to the viewer (who doesn’t need to see the movie to be offended an comment, IMO) sees a picture of a famous actor making fun of a person who is retarded.

    To me, the word retarded has a place in the vocabulary of people. It has a musical connotation, and a medical connotation. Nothing wrong with using it in those contexts. And crass people use it as slang directed toward “friends” they think aren’t being very smart – I don’t care for that, and generally thing that people who use it that way are uneducated and base (probably a bit mean spirited as well). I get that. But once you start using it in the context of making fun of the people in our society who have the least opportunity of defending themselves, I think it crosses a line of humanity, and it does become “hate speech.” I don’t think standing up and saying that is wrong is outside anyone rights. If my child (my beautiful little girl) has to live in a mean spirited world, I will try to raise her to deal with it. But if she is living in a society where movies like this dehumanize her, and put her at risk for physical and verbal abuse because some people sees nothing wrong with treating people with a disability like they are meaningless and less than human, that will be something I can’t help her with. And it is incredibly frustrating and sad for me to think that would be what the reality of the world is. I think you and people like you are better than that, James.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Gillian
    August 12, 2008 @ 7:03 am

    Thank you McKenna for writing about this!

    Name calling in general is a horrible thing. But when you are making fun of people who some times cannot stand up for themselves it’s even more horrible.

    People with intellectual challenges have so much to offer. And the word “retard” is so very negative.

    I am fighting along with you to change the future for all three of my children.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kayla
    August 12, 2008 @ 7:41 am

    Thanks for putting this out here McKenna. This is not an issue that just involves families with members that have intellectual challenges, this should be an issue for all. People must tell say NO, we will not take it, and cruelty will not be rewarded. Thank you for alerting people like you are doing. Many would have gone to the movie without knowing what it truly was about.

    Kayla

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Stephanie
    August 12, 2008 @ 8:09 am

    James Says:
    “Have you seen the movie? If you haven’t then you have no right to say anything at all. If you watch the movie and then it still offends you then you have the right to voice your opinion.”

    I had to laugh if you think this statement is right. James, come on, I have to see the movie to voice my opinion? Where do you live? HA HA HA HA! Sorry that made me laugh out loud!

    McKenna, keep spreading the message…..I think you have your stats right by the look of the comments. “For every 1 person who is interested in this film because of the negative attention it is receiving (James), I hope that 5 people will be turned off of the movie.”

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Joy
    August 12, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    McKenna,
    Thanks for sharing your heart. I’m very disheartened at the movie and at the flip response from those involved.

    Joy

  • Comment by McKenna
    August 12, 2008 @ 8:47 am

    @ James, I would never want to take your choice away and do expect that my opinion about this film may actually make people more interested in watching it. I have not seen the movie, BUT I have read transcripts, watched the promotional campaign, watched the Simple Jack trailer before DreamWorks pulled it, watched the Tropic Thunder trailer that is still available, read reviews from people who HAVE seen it and I feel like that is enough to have my very strong opinion. In the trailer, Simple Jack is referred to as a “retard.” So, I guess, I don’t understand you saying that he’s not called that in the movie? Also, your PS is exactly what this is about. Why does my daughter’s medically given diagnosis get to equate with “stupid?” The words “moron” and “idiot” used to be the appropriate terms for someone with an intellectual disability. Why is it ok that society changed those words to be another everyday word for “stupid?” I get that language evolves, but society controls how language evolves!

    I get that they are making fun of actors in the movie. What I can’t accept is my daughter being made fun of in this way and the abuse of the word “retard.” I would not react this way to a movie that had the word “retarded” in it. I would not love it or like it, but to me “retard” is different. I truly want to have the discussion and while I don’t think you and I will agree on this, I hope you can hear my heart and the many mothers, fathers, family, friends, and individuals with intellectual disabilities.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by James
    August 12, 2008 @ 10:55 am

    First of all, The promotional materials using Simple Jack out of context were stupid and I’m not going to argue that.

    Stephanie:
    “I had to laugh if you think this statement is right. James, come on, I have to see the movie to voice my opinion? Where do you live? HA HA HA HA! Sorry that made me laugh out loud!”

    Of course you CAN voice your opinion without seeing the movie, but that doesn’t mean you should. First of all, like I said before the context and tone of a movie must be taken into account when criticizing it in any way. Without seeing the scenes in context or noting the tone of the film, which appears to be broad satire, I don’t think it’s fair to judge it too harshly. ARC and other organizations actually have seen the movie, and I respect that. People who are protesting this movie without seeing it are no better than the people who protesting Dogma without watching it.

    You went onto say:
    “McKenna, keep spreading the message…..I think you have your stats right by the look of the comments. “For every 1 person who is interested in this film because of the negative attention it is receiving (James), I hope that 5 people will be turned off of the movie.”

    I really don’t think the comment section of this site is not an accurate barometer of reaction this movie is getting. Go to spill.com or any other movie fan website and look at the comments people are leaving about this controversy, I think you’ll be surprised. People outside of the handicapped-rights community are reading about this controversy and laughing at you, and just making them use the word “retarded” even more – now out of spite for what they see as a meaningless and insulting PR stunt.

    Kristy:
    “Language evolves? Seems like just another ignorant comment to me. Does hurt need to evolve with it? ”

    Yes, actually it does. If I was gay and someone called me a “fop” I don’t think it would be hurt by it because that word does have the same connotation that it did many years ago.

    And everyone needs to understand, I’m not saying that calling someone is mentally handicapped a “retard” is good. It’s not. One of my best friends where I used to work had a severe mental disability and if anyone called him that I’d take that person out back for some education. Tropic Thunder using that word doesn’t mean that the makers of the film are calling anyone in the real world a “retard” which is something that I think you people have a hard time understanding.

    If anyone sees the idiots of Tropic Thunder saying the word “retard’ and decides to make fun of the mentally handicapped because of it then they were already insensitive ignorant bastards. Like I said before, you are all giving this movie far too much credit, no one is still talking about the “damage” from Basic Instinct, A Fish Called Wanda, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back or any other movies that supposedly insulted a group of people.

    And by the way, this is an R-Rated movie, if any kid on the playground picks up the word “retard” because of it, maybe you should really be complaining to their parents instead of the movie.

    And like I said before, there are far worse examples in the entertainment industry of the abuse of the word “retard” than this stupid movie. Go watch Family Guy, or anything on Adult Swim. Then tell me if this movie still offends you.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jenna
    August 12, 2008 @ 11:56 am

    Certain people will never get it, so I won’t put much attention there. This movie, Family Guy, and so on is all offensive, but no matter the severity of offensiveness it doesn’t make anyone of them right or less offensive.

    One worse wrong doesn’t make a lesser wrong any less wrong.

    It’s a SHAME and incredibly unfortunate that there are people out there making fun of us parents that has our children’s best interest at heart. So to those “YOU PEOPLE” hopefully one day you’ll become wise to humanity and the importance of being good people no matter the cause. Until then may “we people” never cross your path with the precious people we have been entrusted with to protect against any such ignorance.

    So back to where attention should be, this post is extremely well written and informative. I hope that you will continue to enlighten people to the sensitive nature of using such words without any regard to who it may hurt and offend. Peace!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Ranee
    August 12, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

    I have no desire to see this movie and I could care less what it was about until today. The web seems to be abuzz about the issues in this movie, which I honestly thought was going to be the “white” guy painting himself “black” issue. I had no clue that they did the things they did until I read this post, http://thetgozone.com/?p=806#more-806, where the author suggests to just GET OVER IT!!!!

    Knowing his usual antics I ignored the post, then I stumbled onto yours. Your post is so well written and from an actual standpoint of a mom, that cares. I’m so glad I got to see your side of the argument. I’m still not going to see the movie. I’m thinking about posting on my own blogs about how disgusting I think this is and the fact that actors that I thought were decent before have really taken a hit in my book. It’s sad.

    Thanks for putting such a well written point of view out there for people to see!

  • Comment by McKenna
    August 12, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

    I appreciate all of your support! Ranee, I am so happy you found my post! I know for a fact that there will be people out there who don’t get it and my intention isn’t to debate those people because that’s just not the fight that seems worth fighting to me. My intention is to inform the people who just aren’t aware of the hurt that the word “retard” and movies like Tropic Thunder cause to individuals with intellectual disabilities. You can’t take away freedom of speech, and there will always be extremists on the opposite end of my spectrum who will make it only about the freedom of speech and “politically correct” issue. This isn’t about freedom of speech or being politically correct- this is about morale. Again, I really hope my voice is being heard among those who are open-minded about this topic, and just misinformed. I hope that I am not coming across as only another angry mother, but am coming across as a person trying to inform people of the power they have with their words and their Hollywood films.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristy
    August 12, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

    James…what if you could not defend yourself, but you knew someone was making fun of you?

    In response to your example of being gay and being called such would not bother you.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Brit
    August 12, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

    Hey sis, I linked to your blog from mine.

    And that was a really beautiful interview. You are such an inspiration.

    Give both of the little monsters a kiss from me!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Mel
    August 12, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

    Hi McKenna,

    Thanks for the discussion on this. It is interesting to see so many folks have such passionate opinions on the topic. Personally, I will not waste my hard-earned money and time watching this movie. It is especially disappointing to see the list of famous actors in this film see nothing wrong with the use of the word “retard” as if it has no weight in today’s society. Clearly, none of them have ever parented a child with learning disabilities and cannot understand the struggles that goes along with that experience. Perhaps they would feel differently then.
    Keep on truckin’ McKenna!

    -Mel

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kathleen Teal
    August 12, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    I really don’t think the comment section of this site is not an accurate barometer of reaction this movie is getting. Go to spill.com or any other movie fan website and look at the comments people are leaving about this controversy, I think you’ll be surprised. People outside of the handicapped-rights community are reading about this controversy and laughing at you, and just making them use the word “retarded” even more – now out of spite for what they see as a meaningless and insulting PR stunt.

    Oh James, You just still don’t get it do you! Your point right here is JUST what we are talking about. This film gives these ignorant people the permission to say this word in a demeaning context! Yes, they are laughing…they don’t get it either. Until you have a special needs child come home from school crying over some idiot calling them the r-word or using the new “catch phrase” in front of them or worse yet, to them, you will never understand the piercing pains that you feel for that child! We, as parents of special needs children, have the right to protect our children from harm and words are hurtful. Nobody told you that you cannot see this movie. OUr job as protective parents is to inform people of what they are about to see and let them decide for themselves. People will see this movie and it will make a ton of money and it will release a huge backlash on the special needs community! But we have a right to voice our opinions about the matter and try to make a better world for our children!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Bethany
    August 12, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

    James said:
    I am offended when people call a mentally handicapped person a retard, but if you notice THAT NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE FILM.
    ___________

    Ummm … the “full retard” scene between Stiller’s Speedman and Robert Downey Jr.’s Kirk Lazarus is more extensive than the clip distributed on the internet. Among the lines not included in the Internet version are this:

    Stiller: You know, it was an intense experience, you know? I just did the work. I watched a lot of retarded people, spent time with them, observed them, watched all the retarded stuff they did. In a weird way, I had to free myself up to believe that it was okay to be stupid or dumb. To be a moron. To be moronical. To be a moron. To be an imbecile. To be the dumbest mother fucker that ever lived. Stupid ass Jack.

    Stiller is made to re-enact Simple Jack to entertain his captors, and wear a coconut wig, improvised overalls and borrowed dentures to act the part. When he doesn’t perform the way they like, they hit him and say “more stupid”.

    People with mental handicaps have a degree of mental retardation. So if what Stiller said in the movie in the words above isn’t calling a person with a mental handicap a retard, then what is?!?! He refers to retarded people as stupid, dumb, morons, imbeciles, etc. He is dressed in a way that he thinks a retarded person would dress … IT IS ALL A JOKE!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Andre
    August 13, 2008 @ 11:24 am

    As a child, I witnessed groups of kids that took pleasure and entertainment in pushing down and/or making fun of other people with uncontrollable disabilities. I felt sorry for both the abused and the abusers. I looked on with a sorrowful heart because of the disrespect and prejudice that existed; I knew each was better than what they represented. Others ran to the aid of the abused child and would confront the abusers. If these words were to fall on deaf ears, another group would use hurtful actions to get them to understand the physical/emotional pain; “fight fire with fire.” It slowly became a vicious circle and each became harder and more determined. We will always have our differences and people are naturally geared/created differently, this is what makes us human and filled with errors. Acts of disrespect and self-centeredness will always exist, but it’s good to know that you will have that spunky person to be the voice of the abused. McKenna, you were probably that child that spoke up when others wouldn’t. You are a beautiful soul that only expects respect and understanding. There are others that don’t think this respect has been deserved or earned. Don’t be discouraged, let your voice carry…many are listening and support you.

    I watched the news clip; you did a very good job on the interview and your beautiful words, thoughts, and courage helps others understand, relate, and take action. Keep being that voice that others need to hear.

    Side note: Comedians like to push the limits (extreme to cause shock and laughter) but remember that their “roots” originated from court jesters and clowns. At times, these reliefs can sooth a troubled soul but still…only the easy to influence personalities will take a comedian’s “statement(s)” seriously. I only say this to tame the anguish that you must feel in hearing/seeing how these types of people think and act. It’s not right that we still encourage this behavior or find entertainment in it. Your voice should be heard just as much as theirs. You have more truth, compassion, and sincerity than any clown that thinks of life as a joke. Please continue to broaden our views and hearts.

  • Comment by McKenna
    August 13, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

    Andre, Thank you! Yes, I have been discouraged by some people’s response and have felt at times like I’m the only one who cares, but then I open my email and see amazing words of encouragement and then I come on here and read your encouraging response and know that most people “get it.” I always find the good in people, and maybe it’s because I’m naive, but I truly believe that for every person there is that is going to slam me for this belief, there are many more people who will stand up for what’s wrong!

    Girls, I cannot express what I have felt reading your powerful words! You are all AMAZING moms who I respect more than you could ever know! Thank you for fighting for individuals who need us to rally around them! I have really recognized how much good there is in people through the response I’ve seen to this movie. I’ve recognized some awful things in other people, but I really think there are more out there that are standing right next to us than people who are against us!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jennifer
    August 13, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

    Just to weigh in, I have a physical disability, cerebral palsy. Few of you may never know how frustrating it is to be called retarded by people who are intellectually inferior to you. I am a poet and professor.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jennifer
    August 14, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

    I want to know how we could mobilize the disability community to take further action. Would anybody be interested in putting together a march in New York. This goes much further than a word or a silly movie. We need to mobilize and convince the so-called able-bodied community that we deserve stuff like equal employment rights. equal pay, affirmative action. complete inclusion in schools,complete intergration into the media and disability studies and sensitivity in schools. How can we do this?

    10,000 people marched in Paris…why can’t we?

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