In the spirit of full disclosure I have in the past used the words ‘retarded’ and ‘mental’ to describe someone I found to be less than me. I think maybe even the word ‘tard’ has crossed my lips. Our family had a maiden aunt named Hazel who was deaf. We used to yell at her rather than talk to her in a normal tone of voice. If someone in our family asked “What?” in response to something they didn’t quite catch we would likely respond, “I said _______________, Hazel!” We were fucking hilarious.
Ward wrote last week about an incident that occurred where (an open letter from a pissed off dad) at a meeting someone made a joke about how dumb someone else was on the ‘Down syndrome scale’.
“How dumb on the Down syndrome scale?” I have never heard that expression – ever, ever, ever. It feels hostile . It feels personal.
There are moments that leave little impact in our lives and there are those that radicalize us. Consider me radicalized.
Recently, I was asked in a not offensive way why our blog has the tag line – the true-life adventures of an exceptional kid with Down syndrome and his middling parents… This person said “What makes him exceptional among other kids with Down syndrome?”
It never occurred to me that the word ‘exceptional’ referred to him having Down syndrome. The more I thought about that question in light of what happen at that meeting I came to a realization.
Thorin and all children with Down syndrome are ‘exceptional’ because they are here. They exist. They made it in a world where 90% of them are aborted. They survived the odds. They are The Exceptions.
I am pro-choice. I also hate that I have to tell you that. Being pro-choice means I support a women’s right to chose for any reason – incest, rape of any kind, poverty, because they are a teenager, they just don’t want to be pregnant, they hate kids, they don’t want to ruin their figure, etc, etc, etc and reluctantly I must add because their fetus tested positive for Down syndrome.
What I am not ‘Pro’ is that one reason 90% these children are going down the tubes is that someone thinks it’s OK to make fun of how dumb and worthless they are and no one questions it.