JLD: What if MY Charlie was YOUR Charlie?
Posted on September 24, 2012
OK, before you groan and say to anyone in the room, “Oh God, here she goes again,” just hear me out. This quick column is riddled with irony, and who doesn’t enjoy some good irony?
Today’s “Chasing Charlie” column is titled, “Learn to advocate for your child with special needs.” Hmmm… Can you tell I wrote it a week ago? It omits my personal favorite, upon which I railed and ranted last night: leverage social media.
Not because it’s effective, per se. More because it takes up enough time that you feel like you did something productive. Even when your rants fall on sites that can delete your commentary.
A few months ago, after watching my first episode of “Veep,” I posted a blog titled, “Dear Julia Louis-Dreyfus: I’m ashamed of you.“
Last night, I posted a blog titled, “Hey, Julia: I’M STILL ASHAMED OF YOU!” It was an emotional response to watching Julia Louis-Dreyfus win an Emmy for her acting on “Veep.”
The outpouring of support both times has been so inspiring, but unfortunately it still feels like I’m treading in quick sand. Julia refused to respond to tweets, messages posted on her Facebook page or even multiple (OK, possibly about a dozen) questions submitted during an online interview with another “Veep” actor.
Tonight, I posted a respectful but pointed comment on a picture she posted celebrating the Emmy win with her family. With her son.
My son is named Charlie.
Her son is named Charlie.
Radio silence. In fact, my comment today was deleted. (I swear, it really was respectful. This mother of a Charlie is respectful. Occasionally snarky, but respectful.)
I understand the politics of responding; if the conversation reached Julia’s team, undoubtedly they told her not to respond. It’s just another mom with too much time on her hands. This too shall pass. It will all die down.
Well, her team hasn’t met my Charlie or his determined mom. (That’s me, by the way.)
Hollywood gets away with too much in the name of cinematic artistry. It’s not held to the same standards as other people or organizations who make a misstep.
I just finished writing an article that will post on SheKnows.com about a family pursuing legal action after American Airlines allegedly refused to allow their 16-year-old son, who happens to have Down syndrome, board the plane.
After I finished, I was exhausted. Not because it was lengthy or took a great deal of research, but because throughout the process, I kept thinking, “This could be me. That could be Charlie.”
I just wish every person who chooses to use the word “retard” would spend a day with my son. Or even an hour. But I’d prefer they spend a whole day so as to get the entire experience.
He will con you for snacks, he will blow you kisses to get his way. He will charm and smile and cajole with his twinkling eyes. And he will giggle when you do something funny, like flare your nostrils (something The Husband cannot do, for the record).
This isn’t about free speech.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to say the words. I’m asking people to individually educate themselves so they understand why that word choice is hurtful.
If each person who uses “retard” knew – really knew – my son, I promise the word would become extinct.
Yes. My Charlie is that awesome.
Thanks for hanging in there with us.