One thing is for sure: the longer any of us are in the Down syndrome community, the more often we’re hit with an “r-word” battle.
Which usually runs something like this: a b-list start or sad sack of an “entertainer” uses the word, “retarded”. The Down syndrome community is pissed off and demands an apology. The apology sometimes comes, and it all kind of slides away until the next round comes on up.
Sometimes it feels like a relentless run on a hamster wheel, but sometimes the wheel feels like it’s come to a stop and we’re left a little shocked that someone said something THAT BAD.
Case in point: In the Netflix Original comedy “Disgraceful” by Tom Segura, he says:
You can’t say “retarded” anymore. [audience laughs] It was just here. Don’t you remember? -“Retarded.” That’s how I… -[audience laughs] People get very upset. I don’t really support the arguments against it. When people are like, “You shouldn’t say it.” “Why?” “What if there’s one over there?” And you’re like… [audience laughs] We never said it like that. We were never like, “Look at that guy!” [audience laughs] You didn’t say it like that. You said it to describe an idea, or a situation, you know? If your friend was like, “I’ll pick you up at your house, and then we’ll come back to my place, and later we can go back to your house. And we can get your bags. And then, we’ll come back over here after that.” And your like, “That’s retarded. Why the fuck would we do that?” [audience laughs] But now you can’t say that. Now you’ve gotta be like, “That’s not… smart. Your idea has an extra 21st chromosome, if you ask me.” [audience laughs] It’s not the same.”
This blows my mind all over the place because, a) how can that even pass as comedy? b) this is a NETFLIX ORIGINAL, which means that Netflix had to okay that content c) and, really Netflix?!
This kind of crap wouldn’t fly far if he was talking about race instead of disability; why is it okay if he’s clearly, obviously, unequivocally hating on disability? Little Flick’s mom started a petition and it’s gaining ground (here’s a link to a news clip), but as she says, we can’t lose steam – which is basically what Netflix is banking on before they issue any kind of an apology. So! join on in:
Over 90,000 have signed Take it Down, Netflix! already, with the goal being 150,000. Please consider adding your voice to this, and making a clear, firm and united stand against Tom Segura’s disgraceful piece and Netflix’s continued silence on their support of him.
Meriah is the deaf, single mom of 3 kids (one gifted 2E, one with Down syndrome). A longtime career counselor, teacher and disability advocate, she loves helping to create community and empower parents, people with disabilities (and of course, parents with disabilities).