Monday, April 20, 2009


We watched it because we were afforded no option. Sitting in a bar on a Saturday afternoon you are going to watch sports. As we were only a few miles out of New York City it was no surprise that the bar was full of Yankee fans. Well, the Yankees didn't do well. When we left the bar they were 10 runs behind. I don't know sports well but I know enough to spot a sound drubbing. The other patrons in the bar were hurling insults at the screen, when they didn't have their faces burried in their hands.

Sunday morning we were sitting in the lobby while the maid cleaned the room. A group of guys were sitting in the area next to us and talking about the game the previous evening. All of them were still proudly wearing something with the Yankee's logo on it. After complaining about the performance one of them said, "It was like watching a team from the Special Olympics!"

One of the other guys said, "Hey!" I turned to look but wasn't noticed. "You know Obama said something like that when he first got in office, he made some stupid joke. He apologized for it. He's a good guy, if he thinks it's wrong then we should think about it. I did and I think it isn't funny, it's mean."

"But I didn't mean anything by it," the originator of the comment said defensively.

"Yeah, but it's still mean."



And they went on. I sat there giving us a 'thumbs up' on that one. Maybe we are making inroads. Maybe people are beginning to think a little more about the language they use in reference to people with disabilities.




rickismom said...

Yes, change comes by dribbles... but isn't it exhilerating when you notice those drops?

CJ said...

Change is hard to come by. It often comes by blood, sweat and tears.

However, when it does come, it is most satisfying to the heart.

liz said...


I called someone on using the r word the other day. He said, "I felt like a (rhymes with clucking) (rhymes with petard), excuse my language"

And I said, "I'll excuse (rhymes with clucking), but not (rhymes with petard), it's an offensive and hurtful word and I hope you'll stop using it."

It was the first time (since becoming aware of the issue) that I got an opportunity to say something to someone who used it.

shiva said...

this might interest you:

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough CJ someone I know used the r word today. Not sure Ihandled it too well as they are cleverer than I am and were able to do all the "but it is a word acceptable in the dictionary" bit however they agreed not to use the word again so as not to offend my sensibilities.

Kate said...

Wow, thats great! Maybe Obama using the word and getting called out for it, accomplished more good for our community than if he had not used it at all. People took notice that this wasn't an acceptable thing to do, apparently.

Andrea Shettle said...

The thing that gets to me about the "special olypmics" remark is the underlying assumption that people with intellectual disabilities are somehow necessarily incapable of being good athletes. Now, I've never been involved w/the special olympics, or, indeed, any kind of athletic endeavor (other than rooting for the Red Sox ... or for any team that beats the Yankees ;-) ). But I do gather that, although not every participant is a world class athlete, some of them are pretty talented and take their training very seriously. These "Special Olympics" remarks arewrong both because they're mean and also because they unfairly characterize a group of hard working and, yes, often talented athletes as inherently "incompetent" when they're not.

Sorry. I know I'm preaching to the choir. But it frustrates me that even when people "get it" ... they still don't actually "get it."

CJ said...


That was a half assed response from that person. It should offend everyone's sensibilities.

That if offends yours, reflects favorably upon you.

There are lots of words in the dictionary that are hurtful. It doesn't mean that we should use them...but you already knew that.

Cynthia F. said...

my favorite part about Obama's special olympics bowling gaffe was when they interviewed the actual special olympian gold medal bowlers. who said: "he'd have to improve his game a lot to even make the team."

great teachable moment, great usable example all 'round.

Ettina said...

Some people say that what Obama really meant wasn't that his playing was like the Special Olympics, but the way his buddy was giving him over-the-top praise for a feeble performance.