I’ve been reading about the recent debate over the new film Ben Stiller film, Tropic Thunder, and have been trying to decipher the root cause of all the fuss.  While I have not seen the film, I’ve now read several reviews and feel the film should be boycotted.  It was Timothy Shriver’s article on CNN.com that pushed me over the edge.  Mr. Shriver writes:

The degrading use of the word “retard” together with the broader humiliation of people with intellectual disabilities in the film goes way too far. When the R-word is casually bandied about and when bumbling, clueless caricatures designed to mimic the behavior of people with intellectual disabilities are on screen, they have an unmistakable outcome: They mock, directly or indirectly, people with intellectual disabilities. They perpetuate the worst stereotypes. They further exclusion and isolation. They are simply mean.

And while I will always support the artist’s right to be mean, I also support and encourage my fellow Americans to voice their disapproval by refraining from paying to see the film.  Remember the absurd portrayals of African Americans in the old Minstrel Shows?  Is it any different making a mockery of people affected by mental and cognitive disorders?  This is a group of people made up of individuals first that struggle themselves each day to look beyond their differences; to fit in with the greater population.  It’s an integration of sorts, and as Shriver says in his article, films like Tropic Thunder, widen the divide between individuals struggling with disabilities and those of us with less obvious differences.  

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