Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bigotry and Retards

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

John Franklin Stephens
The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics.  See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet,   John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia

My comment on facebook 
J'Carlin: It is high time that words referring to mentally challenged people used as insults be treated as the bigotry that they are. I have worked with mentally challenged people who have used other abilities to make a useful place for themselves in the world, and with others that have been warehoused with no opportunity to develop other skillls because of their mental challenge label. In either case the label is a cruel insult to the disabled and evidence of a mental disability of the user of the term. That mental disability is the lack of common decency and respect which has its own label which should be used freely and openly "Bigot." Or as Rollins should have said more concicely: Ann Coulter is a bigot and should STFU.
I had the pleasure of working with an IQ challenged person who was never allowed to be labled by his parents, who used his "people skill" ability in a customer experience capacity to make a respected career for himself.  Although I trained him in the CE skills, in my follow up with customers I found that he was much better at the job than I, even though technically I was clearly better.  Any technical errors were forgotten as each customer was in fact the special focus of his attention and knew it. Absolutely critical to creating a satisfied, loyal customer.  He certainly taught me important lessons in the CE which served me well in my career in this customer critical area. 

1 comment:

Robert Paterson said...

Beautiful post, J'Carlin. We often forget that IQ intelligence certainly doesn't account for everything, and sensitivity and care go a long way in any field. Lovely people like this gentleman are gems for showing us this.