Again, how those of us with disabilities get portrayed by the media…
Comedian Margaret Cho raised eyebrows several weeks ago when she made a statement on a FOX News show about “not wanting a retard baby.” Granted, she did apologize on her own website a couple of weeks later. And she may be sincere in that, for all I know.
But here’s where I take her remarks with a rather sizable salt lick. I actually saw her live comedy act a number of years ago. A not-insubstantial part of her routine was about how she gets treated as an Asian-American. In short: not very well.
Combine that with her being out as a lesbian, and you have two areas of her life in which she likely gets harshly judged by others. I strongly suspect she knows what that feels like — to hear the almost-whispers or outright rude remarks.
Yet somehow, she fails to translate her own experiences as an outsider/minority/Other to those of us (or our children) with disabilities. Were I to call her a gook or a slant-eyes, I’d be in the wrong. Yet somehow she does not see the problem with referring to people with disabilities as “retards.”
Maybe, as she says in her apology, it’s a lack of understanding about what it is like to have a child. Having no children myself (and the reasons for that are a post for another day), I don’t always understand what that can be like.
But as an Other who gets treated that way by people like Cho, who themselves have experienced Otherness, it just sounds bitter and hollow. I’d like to think Cho didn’t NEED to be told the problem with her statement. That she had enough insight to see where she was guilty of intersectionality fail.
Clearly, that’s not the case.