I'm not sure how I missed this story right after it happened, but as I was watching my DVRed episodes of 'The Talk', I was nearly in tears hearing about this. Here is a link with the full story, but basically they talked about comedian Tracy Morgan who in his act joked, not to "mess with women who have retarded kids. Them young retarded males is strong. They're strong like chimps." He also went on to comment on crippled children.
Wow...really what would possess someone to say such a demeaning and hateful thing? I have written many times about the topic of 'the r word' and how even saying it not towards those with developmental disabilities is very hurtful and offensive. I even recently posted on my personal Facebook about my annoyance saying, " I've seen it a LOT this morning which is why I felt the need to say something... I truly believe that most people mean nothing by it and don't even realize that it is an insult, which is why unless its someone I am super close to, I don't say much and try not to take offense ...though I have privately called people out on special ed/short bus jokes. That crosses a line from not knowing to deliberately being hurtful. It was just bothering me this morning because I had seen it so many times."
The comment made by Tracy Morgan most certainly crosses the line of not knowing and being a downright bully. It is attitudes of the people like him that make me so worried about bullying my child could face in the future...just because he's autistic. I've had many comment to me why I feel so passionately about this as autism does not mean a child is retarded (I don't even like typing that out, but I do so to share what I've been asked). Those people are right, it doesn't. My child is incredibly brilliant. But that doesn't mean that there is not ignorance out there, the previous statement proves that. People with this mindset aren't really going to care how amazing a person is, how brilliant and sweet...no, they are going to see the label or disability and judge merely on that. It is truly sad.
In high school, I was lucky enough to be able to help a preschool boy with Down Syndrome. He was the sweetest little boy. Every morning my day would start with a hug from him and it absolutely made my day. He was an amazing little boy. At church camp, I was lucky enough to room and make friends with an amazing girl who was born without both legs. She played sports (not handicapped), slept on the top bunk, etc. She did not let her 'disability' stop her from doing anything she wanted to do. Not once did I see her feel sorry for herself. She was an amazing person and such an inspiration to myself and so many others. And most importantly, I have been so truly blessed to have been chosen to be a mother to an amazing little boy with autism. He has his struggles, but he is the most brilliant boy I've ever seen and he is truly my everything. I could not imagine loving him more. We've also been able to meet many other wonderful children on the spectrum and every single one of them is amazing. To say that any person who has special needs of any kind is less than others blows my mind because I've seen firsthand that it's just the opposite.
Tracy Morgan was right about one thing though. You don't mess with mommies whose children have disabilities. There is nothing stronger than a mother standing up for her child and in making such a statement, he has angered many.
I have shared the link many times, but I will share once again. If you haven't already, please consider taking the time to take the pledge to stop using the 'r word' and teach your children to do so as well. It's such a simple thing to do and really can make such a huge difference to many.
Spread The Word To End The Word