Monday, August 8, 2011

It Starts With Us

I am mad today.  Mad for Ollie.  Mad for our society.

Before I joined the Down Syndrome community never realized how easily and often the word retarded was thrown around.  It's constantly used & I will admit to be a user of the word in my younger years - shame on me.  I know better now. 

We use the word retarded to call each other stupid or ridiculous.  Well it is a hate word.  It is a disability slur.  Now that I have Ollie, it hurts.  If someone called her retarded to my face I think I'd lose it on them. 

Do you think this face is stupid or ridiculous?  Would you make fun of her to my face for having Down Syndrome?  Would you think it was funny that she has to work harder at every single thing she will accomplish in life than anyone else? 

No.  The fact is that she is a person.  She may have special needs, but she deserves respect.  She is loved.  She is unique.  She is smart.  She is joyful.  She is funny.  She is only 6 months old & she is changing the world & perspectives of those that have met her.

First it was GQ magazine.  In a fashion article they said in a nutshell that Boston's fashion is so bad that they add a little extra and ruin it, just like Down Syndrome.  They issued a standard apology email to all those that complained, but have yet to publicly apologize.  Shame on GQ magazine - you owe us all a public apology and even a fashion spread with young men & women of the DS community styling it up!

Now it's the new movie The Change Up.  I for one am very disappointed because I'm a huge Ryan Reynolds fan & have been since his days on 2 Guys A Girl & A Pizza Place.  I wanted to see this movie, but now I won't put my money into a pocket that is involved.  In one scene in the beginning of the movie, Ryan Reynolds who plays a bachelor who has never settled down, visits his long-time friend Jason Bateman; he sees his twins in their high chairs and says, “Why aren’t they talking – what are they retarded?” Which is offensive enough but then he says, “And this one, he looks Downsy”.   I mean seriously come on Ryan & Hollywood - is it funny?

So I ask you - would it be so hilarious to make racial jokes, religious jokes, sexist jokes, gay jokes?  No!  We as society have stood up against this stuff for years & look at the progress made!

But where is this progress for the people with special needs?  Who stands up for them?  If they can't advocate for themselves who does it for them?

I know some people may think I'm a bit sensitive on the matter, but why the hell wouldn't I be?  Why would I not fight for Ollie?!  It's time for a change!  It's time for a movement!  It's time for us to stop backing down & to say you aren't funny when you make fun of people with any form of disability!

It starts with us.

Please join us in this quest!  Read here how to help & follow the steps to join our facebook group & how to pester Hollywood enough to get an apology & make an impact on future films.


  1. We went to see that movie and as soon as I saw that scene tears welled up in my eyes and I thought of Ollie,in all honesty it made me sick to my husband and I chose to walk out and go get ice cream instead.I used to throw that word around as a teenager generally referring to myself but never again and I am teaching my children differently.your daughter is a true blessing and I am great full I found this blog,it has opened my eyes and my heart,
    Thank you,

  2. Thank you for this post. When people use the R-word or make offensive jokes about special needs they sound SO ignorant and uneducated! I go after my friends whenever they say anything like that, and they all know better by now.
    I am shocked about that scene in The Change Up. I had wanted to see that movie, but I will not be seeing it now.

  3. it's the negative connotation that's the problem...I do think people are far to PC nowadays, it's okay to joke and have fun, but to be hurtful is unnecessary...
    Remember There's Something about Mary, from back in the day? Her bro was special needs, but it was dealt with in a positive yet still funny nature, totally different...
    no need for everyone to walk on eggshells all the time, but no need to put people's a very fine line...

  4. Oh my. I wanted to see the movie, nope. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Good job Annie. I am linking to this post tomorrow on my blog. xoxo

  6. Yep, that was absolutely infuriating to me, too. I like that NotAPerfectMom reminded me about Something About Mary - that's a great example of how it can be done well!

    Great post, Annie.

  7. Annie, I saw that movie this weekend and that scene stuck out like a really nasty sore thumb to me. It was rude and crude throughout anyway, but that made it worse. I am fan of both RR and JB, but this movie disappointed me, especially when they used the babies inappropriately and made what I consider a remark that is a slur. Cheap laugh at someone's expense. Wow, you know I believe it's a round world and usually when people are insensitive, time teaches them a lesson. When things like this happen it shows how uninformed people in general are able any disabilities. Ignorance is not pretty. My daughter doesn't have DS, but she has a mental illness and the stigma surrounding that is boggling. Awareness and education is the key. Ann

  8. Hey Annie,
    I also hate having to be PC, but the previous commenters are right about how our words can be so hurtful to others. We constantly get comments about our choice to adopt internationally. Some hate that we're adopting, and some just hate that we're doing it from Taiwan. The sad part is, what comes out of the mouth is the ugliness from the heart/head of that person.

    The bottom line is this: We all constantly compare ourselves to others like a mini Public Relations team in our head. We make judgments and somehow deem ourselves "better" than those we pass on the street. Until you have a good reason to change your worldview on any given subject (personal experience, spirituality, etc), this stuff is going to be perpetual.

  9. While the word itself does bother me, it bothers me more when it is used to describe something dumb. If it was used in correct context (after all, the ARC *is* called Association for Retarded Citizens) it would be one thing... but when it's used as a purposeful insult to call something stupid.. THAT makes me irate. I do believe that the ARC should be renamed, simply because our degraded society has turned that word into something derogatory. The ARC moniker is ARChaic in that sense. It's sad, really. I hope I am making sense... I hate seeing anybody singled out, offended, or put down.

    In the words of Depeche Mode

    "So we're different colours
    And we're different creeds
    And different people have different needs"

  10. This brought tears to my eyes :(.

    This family,, Annie, will not spend a dime on this movie .... TEAM OLLIE!!


  11. Why do these people have to go to these types of slurs to get a laugh. It's not funny, it's never funny. I use to always watch What not to Wear, until an episode where Stacy picked up a pair of shoes and said "what did you have polio as a kid?". The pain it stuck in my heart, yes I did have polio as a kid and her remark cut so deep. People are so cruel for no reason. Your little girl is so beautiful, so,so beautiful.

  12. thank you Annie, you said all in the best word and I want translate it to Persian and share it in my Facebook and Persian blog,is it OK?

  13. Annie,
    I won't see the movie heart broke while reading your blog, just because I'm a mom. And I understand the depth of love you have for Ollie. I must tell you that when I see pictures of your amazingly healthy (thank you, God) baby girl, I am just desperate to hear her laugh. She has the most wonderful smile and I'll bet her giggle is infectious. I could just kiss her cheeks all day. How do you get any work done with her around???

  14. Well said and you are so right, we should all be as vocal. Wrong is wrong, it doesn't matter if you have DS in your family or not, it makes our society sick to allow movies to be made with such dialog. Your daughter is a cutie and her life is destined for greatness with a Mom like you beside her cheering her on. It's what Mom's do best!

  15. GQ and the movie. When people say the "R" word in front of me....I ask them to not ever use it in front of me again.

  16. I have to be honest. I to have used the word. Even in my young adult days I did. I was young and uneducated. I know now that word hurts many innocent people. I have vowed that my kids will no better and be educated.
    Thanks Annie. You are an amazing woman!!

  17. Way to go Annie! You are an inspiration!

  18. You are such a great mama and person...I agree w/ you 100% and hate that "r" word. I am 31 years old and I get a pit in my stomach when i see one of my "grown up" friends use that word on FB. WIth your permission I would love to post a Pic of Ollie talking about what you said "The fact is that she is a person. She may have special needs, but she deserves respect. She is loved. She is unique. She is smart. She is joyful. She is funny. She is only 6 months old & she is changing the world & perspectives of those that have met her."
    They need to SEE that she is beyond the "r" word, she is an absolute angel...She can teach us "old folks" that it is just not right and make them second guess themselves whenever they choose to say that horrible word.

  19. Hi Char - I can't email you back or contact you about using Ollie's picture. I would prefer if you linked directly to this blog post & then your friends can read about her life & see her pictures. Since I'm not your facebook friend, I can't see what people are commenting on her picture, and I just feel a little uncomfortable with that. I'm sorry, but definitely feel free to use my blog post to help educate :)

    God bless!


Thank you so much for your kind words & support! I love hearing from you & read each and every comment you leave for me! ~Annie


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