The “Tropic Thunder” debate rages on. I hope that this will be my final post on this.
I was in nursing school when the word "mongoloid" was still used freely for Down's syndrome, and it was used as a slur as well. Eventually they used other phrases. But ANY word which is used for the mentally disabled, whether it is "Mongoloid", "Moron", "imbecile", or "retard", or (now) "full retard" WILL eventually be used to hurt and slander people. Because people feel that the intellectually challenged* are worth less. They cost money. The intellectually disabled* community is discriminated against to the point that most fetuses with Down syndrome are aborted.
Boycotting "Tropic Thunder" will not change that. As long as people hate, there will be improper use of language, taunts, and slurs.
Telling people to not see the movie will not help. Those who are insensitive would not listen anyway. I think that a NEGATIVE approach will not get us very far.
I think that our main thrust has to be at PROMOTING rights and respect for the disabled. We have to support the closure of large institutions where the "clients" are treated as numbers, not people. (If an institution is so big that they don’t have a say in what they eat for breakfast, they have lost their rights to be an INDIDUAL.) We have to encourage and support places that hire the intellectually disabled. We have to protest when someone calls a teen with Down syndrome a nick-name fit for a three year old. We have to encourage our child’s right to make certain choices.
However, I do feel the Ben Stiller owes a debt to the disabled community for three things:
1. marketing specially the sub movie "simple Jack"
2& 3. Two disturbing scenes involving Mcconaughey, where he is obviously unhappy with his intellectually impaired* son. This was too similar to the way the “regular”world views parents of children with Down syndrome. It is definitely reinforcing a stereotype that is as false as can be.
For these three things, I personally would tell Mr. Stiller, that the only way he can hope to make recompense would be by paying for public service announcements favoring those with intellectual disabilities*.
I would like to see (much more than protests) many more videos like the one I put on my blog on Wednesday.
And, in the meantime, we must train our children to have self respect, and to know how to react as safely as possible in the face of discrimination and abuse.
* Can’t we find a SHORTER euphemism than “Intellectually impaired/disabled/challenged”???
[Note: Please see added comments.]