Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tropic Thunder Statement

Rayne Project joins many other national groups in the following statement:

We, as organizations and self-advocates representing members of the disability community, recognize the dignity of individuals with intellectual disabilities, the challenges they and their families face, and the meaningful and powerful contributions they make to their families, their communities, and their country,

Acknowledge that individuals with intellectual disabilities have been subject to discrimination, abuse, and exclusion from society throughout history;

Recognize that the more than 200 million individuals with intellectual disabilities worldwide, and more than 6 million individuals with intellectual disabilities in the US, have suffered severe consequences including: institutionalization, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse,denial of education, employment, and healthcare, segregation, and targeted hate crimes;

Acknowledge that "attitudes and expectations of the public, in part, determine the degree to which children, adolescents and adults with intellectual disabilities are able to learn, work and live alongside their peers without disabilities." (President's Committee for People withIntellectual Disabilities, 2004);

Understand that for over four decades, the media has consistently mischaracterized people with intellectual disabilities; (Pardun, 2005);

Realize that over 80% of U.S. adults surveyed feel that media portrayals are an obstacle to the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. (Pardun, 2005)

Recognize that many people, including those with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends, consider the "R-word" just as offensive as the"N-word;" and

Declare that under the guise of "parody," whether intentional or not,Tropic Thunder demeans, insults, and harms individuals with intellectual disabilities by using the "R- word." Furthermore, it perpetuates derogatory images and stereotypes of individuals with intellectual disabilities including mocking their physical appearance and speech, supports the continuation of inappropriate myths and misperceptions, and legitimizes painful discrimination, exclusion, and bullying;

TOGETHER, we declare our intention to make the public aware of the need to create and foster inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilitiesas a matter of social justice by:

Boycotting the film and explaining to our nation's children why the film is harmful;

Educating the public, especially young people, about intellectual disabilities through far-reaching awareness campaigns to ban the use of the"R-word," and other initiatives to permanently change attitudes and promote inclusion;.

Calling on Hollywood studios, writers and executives to pledge to make this the final chapter in a sullied history of demeaning portrayals of individuals with intellectual disabilities and assist in public education campaigns;

Requesting that Congress investigate and conduct oversight of how Hollywood portrays individuals with intellectual disabilities and the effect these portrayals have on our nation and around the world.



American Association of People with Disabilities
American Foundation for the Blind
Arc of the United States
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
Best Buddies International
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.
National Council on Independent Living
National Down Syndrome Society
National Down Syndrome Congress
Special Olympics

Sign the Pledge Today -- Stop using the R-Word!