On August 17, 2008 Representative Verla Insko wrote the following letter to the editor in reaction to the release of the movie "Tropic Thunder". We appreciate the action taken by Representative Insko in supporting our state and national efforts to educate people on the negative images portrayed in this film.
A Demeaning Movie
In the Aug. 13 edition of The N&O, staff writer Craig Lindsey characterized the movie "Tropic Thunder" as a must-see summer comedy. Yet the movie makes heavy use of the derogatory R-word, "retard." It also portrays people with intellectual disabilities as lesser people. The R-word is not funny. It is not OK to ridicule this wonderfully diverse and individually gifted population that is increasingly mainstreamed into our lives.
Lindsey went on to say that the movie "could have so turned sour if the slightest hint of racist stereotyping revealed itself," but he seemed innocently unaware of the demeaning, dehumanizing effect of the R-word -- a word all of us heard as pre-teens on the playground and a word that is increasingly used today to put down and shame anyone who does not measure up.
The producers, actors and critics associated with this movie know better.
I join Special Olympics of North Carolina and the Arc of North Carolina in their efforts to eliminate the use of the R-word in today's society. Please go to www.r-word.org and pledge not to use this word. It is not funny.
Rep. Verla Insko
Chair, Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services
Published August 17, 2008 – News and Observer Letters to the Editor.
News and Observer Letters to the Editor