Sunday, August 10, 2008


Tropic Thunder premiers on August 13th. The movie trailers are hilarious and it promises to be a box office hit. That is, unless you know or love someone with an intellectual disability. That is, unless you are a person with an intellectual disability.

The movie relies heavily on the theme of insulting people with the use of the word retard, the "R" word. It features a film-within-a-film in which Ben Stiller insultingly portrays a man with an intellectual disability named "Simple Jack." Already, before the release of this film, t-shirts featuring the line "Never Go Full Retard," have been made. Teenagers have been overheard using this phrase.

You don't have to agree with me that misuse of the word retard is hate speech (which it is). You just have to be a thinking, feeling human being to know that it is wrong, cruel, and should not be tolerated to throw around the word retard or retarded as an insult. School will begin soon. I ask students to help make classrooms and hallways safer for people, like my daughter who was born with Down syndrome, by no longer accepting the misuse of the "R" word. Educators and parents, please speak up when you hear it.

It is a sad day when people in Hollywood decide its acceptable to make money by insulting the most vulnerable in our society. It's an even sadder day when the public decides to support the movie after learning what its truly about.

More information about the movie and the disibility community's response can be found here and here.

I leave you with the words of the great Margaret Cho who inspires us all to have self esteem in the face of discrimination and in doing so spark a long overdue revolution.


Liz Ditz said...

It is time to take the "r" word out of circulation.

I've written a blog post, Words Hurt: The "r" Word, on Wanda and Rick Felty's campaign to "Ban the R Word", and Jenna Glatzer's pledge campaign, as well as the "Tropic Thunder" controversy. I've included a link to your blog.

JRS said...

liz ditz-
I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the comment and link.