Saturday, August 23, 2008

Something I don't understand

It seems lately I've had two instances where I have had to think about the following subject and truth is I just don't get why people do what they do(myself included). What I am talking about is why Hollywood (and many other people)choose to make fun of the mentally handicap. They don't chose to be born that way, they can't do ANYTHING to change it so why use them as a target? It all started with the new movie that's out called Tropic Thunder. I had heard about the controversy on the television and just flipped the channel (not wanting to get involved in that mess, thinking I would never see the movie). Then I went to another blogger site and read some of the quotes from the movie. She was rather appalled being that she has a mentally handicap daughter. Who could really blame her for being offended? Her daughter is one of many helpless people that are being hurt by the quotes of the movie. Now I haven't seen the movie, therefore I don't know what exactly it's all about. However I do know someone close to me that saw it and said that it's supposed to be making fun of how Hollywood is, rather than the mentally handicap, and that it was a rather funny movie. My husband and I own quite a few movies like this, that have some inappropriate phrases in them. We of course laugh at them and don't think on how it may effect some people's lives. Some of the one liners from this particular movie however struck me the wrong way. For instance, "Once upon a time there was a R****d" and "you went full R****d, never go full R****d". Although the movie was made to show how silly some actors/actresses can be, I don't believe they should have used these lines. It is just plain disrespectful and aren't what made the movie funny. The person I know that watched it said without these phrases it would have been even funnier. So there you have it, Hollywood made a HUGE mistake. They've done before and sadly they will do it again. Truth is I grew up in the time where calling someone a R****d or saying they were acting R****ded was just an every day occurrence. I will admit that I too joined in on the fun. This is not some thing I am proud of, actually something I am deeply ashamed of. Society has made it to where it is acceptable to use that word as just an everyday word and it's just flat out embarrassing. I try my best not use the word because I had a mentally handicap brother( he died at 15 months, I was 3 years old at the time). My mother would get highly offended when people would say that word. I am surprised she didn't slap the fool out of me when she would hear me say it. Instead she explained to me that it wasn't something I should be saying, because by doing so I was belittling my brother. Talk about a hit in the gut. Who wants to realize that something you've been using in your everyday slander is against your dead brother? To be honest it was a struggle for a long time to remove it from my vocabulary (and occasionally I still slip up). Now you may think I am blaming it all on society, but I know that it was my mouth that used the word. Therefore I have to take responsibility for my own mishaps and be a better person than I was then. I feel by admitting my mistakes to all of you I am saying I am sorry to my brother and to all the other helpless people out there like him. None of you deserve to be belittled or taught so unkindly. Which brings me to the most appalling thing I have come across in a very long time. So the other night I went and rented George Lopez:Why you crying? I have been watching the George Lopez show for a few months ( and even bought seasons 1 & 2 on DVD) now on Nickelodeon at night and it's pretty funny. There's usually a good message at the end of every show kind of thing. So I was pretty excited to find a stand up act from him at the video store. It was going pretty good until he got to talking about how Latinos hide their family members if they are, how did he put it...."special needs." The only descent thing he had to say was that he respects white people for including their "special needs" relatives in the family. He started talking about a friend he had that had a "special needs" brother that they hid in the back room. He happened to walk into the room and saw him and yelled in horror. Then he started making gestures with his hands, feet, and face mocking what the brother looked like. As if that weren't' enough he made fun of the "special needs" people in wheelchairs that can go like 5 miles an hour. I was so APPALLED at this. Why? I mean really why would you do that? Again I am going to blame it on society. I lost every ounce of respect I have for that man. There was no denying it he was flat out making fun of the mentally handicap people of this world. They can't help they way they are and to make fun of the way they look and act was just heartbreaking. Really it was, especially realizing that I had done the same thing in my past. The funny thing about it was he couldn't keep up with the joke because not many people were laughing (good for them). So he changed the subject. It's not funny to do that. It's not funny to make fun of people for something they can't change. I hope that when he goes back and watches his DVD he will realize how wrong he was. I can't say that I will forever hate George Lopez for this. People make mistakes. We do terrible things that we can't take back. I recall in middle school a phrase all the kids used, "dur de dur de dur" while hitting their chest with a down turned hand. Where did we all learn that that was acceptable? Thinking back on it now I know how terrible it was of all of us. If only I could go back and time and undo all those things I did. I just pray that I didn't ever do it in the presence of someone that didn't deserve that kind of treatment and took it to heart. Tonight I am truly truly embarrassed not only for myself but for the generation I grew up with. We were all so very wrong.


Sally said...

I've been hearing a lot about that movie also. Sometimes I wonder if it's the ones who don't have any handicapped family members, loved ones, or friends who say words that are so hurtful to the ones of us who do and to the actual disabled persons. In your case, losing your brother so young, it is understandable that you didn't realize until your mother explained it to you. I've also heard that t-shirts have been made using some of the language including the "R" word. They'll probably make a fortune selling those shirts because, in my opinion, people are becoming less tolerant and more ignorant than ever before. So, Jodie, don't think it was your generation; nope, it's been going on for years and only gets worse. Sad, very sad.

Sandi McBride said...

I guess it's easy to mock those who can't speak up for themselves. I made the mistake of lumping this problem in with political correctness, and it's not the same at all...illnesses, as you say, are things some folk can't help...luckily they have family members who can stand up for them and make it plain that it's just wrong. Good post, and your MIL are taking great stands...I'm proud of you both!
Aunt Sandi