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Global’s Response to Kanye West Using the ‘R’ Word

To be honest, I didn’t know if GLOBAL should respond to Kanye West’s recent use of the ‘R’ word during his interview with Piers Morgan. Would it make a difference? Change Kanye’s mind? Elicit an apology? Would we be feeding into media’s sensationalism?

On the other hand, we have an obligation to educate. And to ask people to be kind and tolerant. Because goodness knows people with Down syndrome and others with intellectual disabilities have received quite the opposite for centuries.

So here goes.

It is depressing, hurtful and infuriating for two famous men to be using and accepting the use of the ‘R’ word on public television.

To be clear, at GLOBAL we accept and indeed embrace the freedom of speech that our amazing country provides us. HOWEVER, what we don’t appreciate is the cowardice of using a thoroughly derogatory and despicable word that has been leveled against a historically vulnerable population. This language and what is behind it, is part of why our loved ones with Down syndrome were put into inhumane institutions or worse. We hope that both men can understand and empathize with this for future interviews.

Piers Morgan described his interview with Kanye as “the most challenging, entertaining, confrontational, fascinating and revealing interview” he had ever done.  At GLOBAL we would like to challenge both Piers and Kanye to choose a different word.

Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO, Global Down Syndrome Foundation

To read one of the most impactful essays on the ‘R’ word please read GLOBAL Board Member, John C. McGinley’s essay, Spread the Word to End the Word

Read John C. McGinley’s essay, Spread the Word to End the Word
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