Sunday, November 27, 2011

The R-Word, The Descendants, and George Clooney

It feels as though I am forever fighting an upward, never-ending battle to abolish the word "retard".   Society's ignorance is forever amazing me.  Just when I think we are moving in the right direction (i.e. Lauren Potter's role in Glee setting a positive perspective on Down syndrome), we take a landslide backwards.  Between Democrat H. Braun, The Change Up, and many other movies and TV shows, the latest should really be as no surprise to me.  The Descendants.

I will admit that I have not watched this George Clooney movie.  I wanted to.  I typically enjoy George Clooney movies, but I am grateful that I was warned about what to expect.  My friend Jennifer over on Cowgirl Up! sat down expecting to enjoy a movie with hottie George Clooney only to be slapped in the face with ignorance and insults.   Jokes using those with disabilities as the punch line.

Here is what she heard:

Matt King ( Clooney): You are so retarded

Sid (Nick Krause): That's not nice.  I have a retarded brother

Sid : I'm just kidding.  I don't have a retarded brother. Sometimes when old people and retarded people are slow, I just want to make them hurry up.

Are you for real?  Making fun of group of people who cannot always stand up for themselves all for the sake of a laugh?  Was the above conversation pertinent to the movie?   I think not.  Shame on you Clooney and Krause.  Shame on you.

It hurts in more ways that I can say.  I think of my Aunt Peg who also has Ds and her friends who also have intellectual &/or physical disabilities.  Imagine them going to see The Descendants to drool over Clooney only to hear the above conversation.  Do your think she and her friends do not understand?  They do!  It is insulting and hurtful.  It is unacceptable.

Over at Stop Disability Slurs, we never get a break.  We have more letters to write and I encourage you to do the same.  Speak out and be heard.  Speak out and make a difference.  United, we can make a change to end the word.  Let's make the r-word RESPECT.

Movie: on Facebook

Director & Writer:
Alexander Payne
William Morris Agency
1 William Morris Place
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

George Clooney:
George Clooney Management
Smoke House
4000 Warner Boulevard
Building 15
Burbank, CA 91522
(818) 954-4840

Nick Krause: I am working on this.

Disclaimer: I have not watched The Descendants so all information with regards to the offensive material in the movie comes from a trusted blogging buddy at Cowgirl Up!


  1. The world is a mean place but you need to try not to focus on that. I don't have a child with a disability so I don't know what it's like but I know that in life you have to focus on the positive and positive people.


  2. Laura: Working to remove this word and the attitude behind it from mainstream society is a way to make the world more positive. Ignoring it isn't focusing on the positive; it's allowing such a thing to happen without comment, and giving it tacit approval. Not sure what's so positive about that.

  3. I respect everyone's opinion and I recognize that the world can be a cruel place, however we no longer accept the n-word (nigger) nor is it acceptable to go around saying "that is so gay" or "you fag". It is my hope that one day, the r-word will be treated the same way. Again, I appreciate everyone's comments! I love seeing what everyone's thoughts and opinions are.

  4. I didn't know saying the R word was isn't in my world, I never hear people saying that...but I am Canadian and we tend to be much more sensitive to others ;) j/k of course..kinda!

  5. Thought I would share this with you, I work for CMHC and this is one of many reasons why I am proud of my company...


  6. Thanks for spreading the word Anna!!! We will get there! Hugs to Ellie!


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