Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheers and Jeers

I think that TV Guide has a section called "Cheers and Jeers." They spotlight both the good and the bad in the industry that they cover.

I thought that I'd take a moment and do that for some of the blogs that I read.

Grand Cards had a very nice post on Tuesday about the Metrodome. I'll quote my favorite portion of it.
... the Metrodome claimed another victim tonight, in what was perhaps its shining moment. The secret is that the building's steel was forged by Lucifer himself and the dome is inflated by the last breaths of dying puppies and kittens. So, yes. The Metrodome wins again, and the Twins live to play another day.

I have a link on the sidebar for blogs I like to read. This last week I've removed three of them. The writers of those blogs used the word retard or retarded in a mocking way. They are very talented and generous people. But I don't like to or want to read their posts right now.

If you have read my blog for a while you know that my daughter, Caroline, has Down syndrome.
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. Caroline started kindergarten a few months ago. She is learning sight words, attempts to write her first name, speaks in complex sentences and is rather independent.

I think that the recent use of the r-word was used to denote a look or behavior that is clumsy, hapless and perhaps even hopeless. The word, used intentionally or not, conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual disabilities. As Caroline's advocate, it hurts. In the past I have stepped up on a Soapbox, emailed people privately, commented publicly on comments, ignored it. Today I'm blogging about it again.

I respect the right for others to use whatever language they want. I have a right not to promote them. At this time I'm exercising that right. There are many good things happening now. I choose to focus on them.

Some resources about Ds and those with special needs can be found here:
* National Down Syndrome Society
* Special Olympics

At the All-Star game, Major League Baseball teamed up with People magazine and showcased a number of individuals (All-Stars) that were making a difference in their communities. One of them was Brad Hennefer. Brad has Ds and his accomplishments at the game of golf inspired the Brad Hennefer Golf for Life Foundation, which provides golf opportunities for individuals with Ds. More info on Brad and the other All-Stars can be found at


  1. Great post, and a lot of things which, sadly, need to be said and repeated time and again and some folks still don't get it. Best, CCC.

  2. I agree with both you and CCC - keep up the yelling from the soap box, it's a worthy goal to be sure.

  3. Excellent post. BTW, Caroline is beautiful. What a fantastic smile. (We are experts. Our daughter Lucy collects smile cards.)

  4. Thank you for having the courage of your convictions! You are absolutely right in upholding a standard of respect, You have expressed the issue very well. Love, Mom

  5. Wonderfully written post and definitely food for thought. Sensitivity towards others should always be paramount when it comes to this that are publicly displayed, such as what we all do on a daily bsis with these blogs.
    The flip-side of the coin here is that as individuals we also need to temper our sensitivity with some honest and rational reflection. In the end words are just words. How we react to those words goes a long way towards their true impact.
    Those of us who have never had to deal directly with the impact of certain prejudices, beliefs or ignorances can only present our point of view. Those who deal with it on a daily basis present theirs. With the help of both sides we can hopefully come to some kind of understanding that we control the power of words, not the other way around.

  6. Mark I read this yesterday and have been thinking about it again and again.. the slogan ... it is a medical term term not a tool of humour... and when i think of how it is used in stabs at "humour" I want to gag... "you think my child is like that moral oaf?'... Mary is the one in our family who you do not want to tangle with on the subject of the "r" word... she has more than one sister boyfriend wanna-be straight and it has become a litmus test... is the would be suitor "teachable?" so with the other commenters, I say... keep slugging (ah a baseball metaphor)away... stand up for our gorgeous kids...

  7. Just wandered across your blog via Long Fly Ball's giveaway. I admire your advocacy...I've actually been working with people with disabilities and/or special needs for quite a few years now, and I absolutely love it. In fact, one of my all time favorite people is a old lady with Down's Syndrome named Sharon. She actually inspired me so much that now I'm studying to become a special ed teacher!

    I hope that in my teaching I meet a lot of parents like you. Advocacy is tough, but it definitely needs to be done. Keep on fighting the good fight!

  8. Awesome job of turning a negative (the use of that word) to a positive (informative piece).
    Thanks for sharing.