Demeaning language in film

Demeaning language in film

I am writing as a concerned citizen and as an advocate of the rights and welfare of an individuals with special needs, deeply saddened by the demeaning language used in the movie “Kimmy Dora.” I appeal to everyone to please stop the derogatory use of the words “retarded” and “mongoloid.” The use of these words may only seem to be a funny and petty joke until you yourself have a child with special needs.

As a special educator and as someone who advocates the universal acceptance of differences, this comes with a call to ban the movie “Kimmy Dora.” Or, at the very least, help educate people on the hurtful consequences of ignorance and insensitivity to people with developmental conditions.

Help speak up for the many members of the special needs community who cannot speak out for themeselves.

Our thoughts shape our words and eventually, our actions. How we initially see individuals with special needs is primarily reflected by our language. We can use it to discriminate against special people or dispel negative stereotypes about them. I sincerely pray we choose, and likewise tell everyone we know, to do the latter.

We celebrate the miracle that we are by celebrating the miracle that they are.
For the past days, I have observed a rise in the disturbingly nonchalant and offensive use of these terms. It truly hurts me that a single movie can erase the hard work involved in removing the social stigma associated with these terms.
Entertainment need not be insensitive to be funny. While the people behind the ovie may not have left the wrong notion on some impressionable people, teens and adults alike. Therefore, this is an appeal to local producers, directors and writers to research and use positive and acceptable terms for members of the differently abled special population and portray them in a positive light.

Please do not put the influence of media to waste. Use it to educate people, not pull them into the dark ages of ignorance and apathy.

Beyond political correctness, our special population deserves to live a life free of bias and ridicule. Please educate people that individuals with special needs, such as intelectual disabilities, Down Syndrome, autism and other developmental conditions, deserve to be treated with respect just like you and me.

We pray for everyone’s inlightenment. Please help us spread the word until it reaches the rightful recipients of this messages.

Landa A. Bautista, M.A.Ed., curriculum director, The Learning Center Inc (TLC), 134 Carmelite St., Merville Park Subd., Paranaque City. Published in Philippine Dily Inquirer Sept. 19, 2009s

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