There’s a new movie coming out. Tropic Thunder boasts some powerhouse comedic stars who you’ll do doubt recognize. Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey Jr. are the big moneymakers in this one. The folks at DreamWorks are banking that we, the American public, will be so drawn by this threesome that we’ll flock to theaters and gladly fork over 10 bucks or so for a couple hours of entertainment.
What they’ve neglected to tell us though, in all of their million dollar advertisements, and promotions and movie hype, is that some of the language in this “film” will most definitely be very hurtful to a large percentage of the population.
Do you remember the movie Napoleon Dynamite? I do, though I’d like very much to forget it, not because it was offensive, but because it was dumb. One of the reasons I remember it though is because for months after that movie was first made popular, I saw t-shirts for sale that had phrases like “Vote for Pedro,” and “Ligers Rock,” emblazoned across the front of them. That’s the beauty of marketing I suppose: when done right, it sends an unforgettable message to consumers.
You can imagine then, how completely repulsed I am by the fact that t-shirts are being made to help spread one of the messages Tropic Thunder endorses. One day soon you too might see someone walking around with a shirt that says “Full Retard” in bold letters.
Because, haven’t you heard? It’s funny to disparage those with intellectual disabilities.
When my daughter was born it was bad enough that I had to worry about the looming possibility of open-heart surgery, leukemia, and countless other potential medical disasters. What made the situation worse though was the ignorant and hurtful comments from people I trusted. People in the medical community who took an oath never to do harm, though harm is exactly what they did when they called my sweet baby girl a “Downsie” and hinted that I should consider adoption.
It wasn’t until I researched her condition on my own that I came to a know a wealth of stories, all heartwarming and truly inspirational, that featured an intellectually disabled person playing a starring role.
Throughout history these people we’ve come to know as “special” have been discriminated against in more ways than we’ll probably ever know.
I think it’s time that we put a stop to that right now.
Please stand with me, with my family, and with my daughter as we demand dignity and respect for people all over the world who were born into bodies with limitations. People who struggle to accomplish tasks that might seem commonplace to you and I. People with feelings and souls who deserve far more than the hateful labels this movie has given them.
Please don’t spend your money to patronize a movie that ridicules my daughter, and others like her.
There is a country song lyric that says it in a way better than I: You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.
Join me in standing up for people like Cassidy. Your stand won’t soon be forgotten.