Ben Stiller ought to know better. Jack Black ought to know better. Robert Downey Jr. ought to know better. Paramount Pictures ought to know better. And Dreamworks ought to know better. I’m talking about the movie Tropic Thunder due to be released on 8/13, and their collective efforts to make fun of people with developmental disabilities (not to mention black folks).
The word “retard” is thrown around as they talk about Ben’s role in another movie called Simple Jack, where his character plays the part of a farm worker who has a developmental disability. Lots of laughs at the expense of a group of Americans struggling to get by in their homeland. Why don’t they take the same level of disdain and place it where it belongs... at the feet of the government that neglects these people?
Do they not know that people with disabilities are some of the lowest income people in our country? Do they not know that when you have a label of mental retardation, you are only allowed up to $2000 in resources before you are cut off Medicaid? Do they not know that almost all these people use food stamps and are destined to live with medical services like the Oregon Health Plan where they are treated like cattle? Are they all THAT ignorant?
Until we as a society begin to acknowledge the pain and strife THAT IS the lives of people with developmental disabilities, films poking “harmless” fun at them should not be made. We all ought to know better.