We’re Not All Like That, Some Of Us More so Than Others

Gill has a bunch to say about how race and disability are portrayed in pop culture.

In my almost four decades of life I have watched a lot of TV,and in that time I’ve noticed things. There are stereotypes, from the wise old Asian man to the African American gangster girl. Today I’m going to focus on the stereotypes that are common in the world of persons with disabilities.

  • The monster – Generally this pertains to the Elephant man and others with horrible disfigurements. Seen as outcasts or freaks, they are often played as extremes, either very kind but misunderstood or evil and nightmarish.
  • The Victim or the angry – This could be pretty much any disability, and these people aren’t afraid to let you know in a less than pleasant way how they feel or that the able bodied owe them something.
  • The Super Crip – Daredevil is a less offensive stereotype, however this is more an exaggerated portrayal of persons with disabilities. Often times they are the heroes, and a big deal is made about the fact that they did “an amazing` thing.

  • The I’m Here- This is probably what you’re less likely to see. Blaire Warner’s cousin Geri on The Facts Of Life is a good example. Although her cerebral palsy was the focal point of an episode it was not shown as a “pity me` fest.

Not long after that, she sent this.

Have you ever wondered to what lengths movie actors and entertainers have gone in order to play a role? Today we’ll be facing the sad facts about what some have done.

  • Blackface – This is disgusting, and not just a thing of those tasteless minstrel shows of our great-grandparents generation. In 1986 with Soul Man {C Thomas Howell} and again in 2008 with Tropic Thunder {Robert Downey Jr.} this racist thing of old was employed. Closer to home, sometime in the early 1990’s lacking a person of color my boarding school dressed a white student in blackface for a play called “The Day Jon Lennon Was Shot”.
  • Yellowface- Like blackface this is also just really bad, and like blackface this also comes along with exaggerated Asian stereotypes. A good set of examples are Holly Golightly’s landlord {Mickey Rooney} in Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Charlie Chan, played by Swedish American actor Warner Oland.
  • Crip Facing – Yes, I’m going there! It’s when let’s say, my sister plays a paralyzed person. Good examples are My Left Foot {Daniel Day-Lewis} and 2016’s controversial Me Before You.
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