I was so looking forward to seeing the movie "The Change Up" with my friend Sam this weekend, and was totally disappointed when I found out that the movie is receiving a significant amount of negative feedback regarding a line that is said in the movie.
At one point Ryan Reynolds' character has a scene with Jason Bateman's character and his twin babies in the movie. Ryan Reynolds says:
"Why aren't they talking, are they retarded?" then follows it up with "The one on the left looks a little Downsy."
To be honest with you, looking at that statement, out of context, and perhaps being said by a mother or father of a child with Down Syndrome, probably would have been completely acceptable. But sadly this statement was put in the movie to encourage laughter.
I will be 100% honest with you, prior to having my son, the word "retard," in a derogatory fashion, had slipped out of my mouth a few times. As soon as the word left my lips I felt guilty. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to interact with numerous people with disabilities, prior to having my son. During HS for community service credits, I assisted in the SDC (Special Day Class) elementary class that my mom worked in at the time, and got to meet and share my time with a great group of children. My 2nd cousin, Gary, was born with Down Syndrome, and I've known him my entire life, so when I was told there was a possibility my son might have the genetic defect, I felt a strange sense of ease in knowing it would be just fine.
The part that I don't understand is when the word "retard" or "retarded" started being looked at as some sort of joke, or synonym for the words dumb, stupid, silly, or ridiculous. I honestly would like to know how the term "Mentally Retarded," a term STILL used to describe an individuals diagnosis, was transformed into a cut down or a diss. I feel fortunate to have been blessed with a son with Down Syndrome. My 2 other children have the opportunity to be educated, first hand, that people born with Down Syndrome are not only just like everyone else, but bring so much joy to all those around them. Because of the disability Ethan was born with, my sister, brother-in-law and soon to be sister-in-law have all chosen to study either fields of medicine or academics to help those with special needs. My oldest daughter has also decided that when she grows up she wants to become a physical therapist and even go as far as adopting a child with Down Syndrome, because according to her "I know how to take care of them."That is just a few of the blessing that Ethan has brought into our lives, and I can't wait to experience the ones to come.
Down Syndrome, as well as many other disabilities are all around us. Its nothing to be scared of...it's nothing to laugh at.....
The purpose of this blog was to initially get out my feelings, but if you have made it this far in reading, the least I can do it try to educate you in the type of person I'm fighting for... the type of person that was ridiculed in this movie because of something they were born with. Below is facts on Down Syndrome, please take a minute to possibly learn something new, get some insight into a word you may or may not know about...