These Are the Best Responses to Ken Jennings' Offensive Tweet About Disability

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In an move reminiscent of Kayne West’s epic insensitivity to people with disabilities earlier this month, Ken Jennings tweeted the following on Monday:

Jennings, best known for his 74-game winning streak on “Jeopardy!,” has not removed or addressed the tweet, despite outcry from his followers. Many people have rightfully pointed out the offensiveness and ignorance of the statement.

Here are a few examples of Twitter responses:

 

 

A few have also found funny and creative ways to show Jennings they disagree with his opinion. Check out some of our favorites:

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6 Songs That Helped Me Through Losing My Legs

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In every culture, music has the power to connect people in spite of their differences. Music encourages the spirit, stimulates the imagination and inspires emotions of all sorts. My life has been enriched by music, and I couldn’t imagine living without it. Over the past few months in Cape Town, South Africa, following my amputation, I’ve been accompanied by music through the rain and cold while I make a new life with wheels, instead of legs. These are a few of the songs that gave me strength and joy and motivation.

1. “Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding

This has to be one of the most hope-inspiring songs I’ve ever heard. When the chorus bursts out, like sunshine through the clouds, you really can believe the future is bright with endless possibilities.

Favorite lyrics:

After the war we said we’d fight together
I guess we thought that’s just what humans do
Letting darkness grow
As if we need its palette and we need its color
But now I’ve seen it through
And now I know the truth:
That anything could happen…

2. “Se A Vida É (That’s The Way Life Is) – Pet Shop Boys

This is such a feel-good song — a celebration of life with the sound of a Caribbean carnival.

Favorite lyrics:

Although we see the world through different eyes
We share the same idea of paradise
So don’t search in the stars for signs of love
Look around your life you’ll find enough

 

3. “Heart and Soul” — Joy Division

On the eve of Joy Division’s first U.S. tour, their singer and lyricist, Ian Curtis, died by suicide. His lyrics are some of the most articulate and poetic expressions of the overwhelming powerlessness, despair and loneliness that comes with depression. You might think it would be depressing to listen to songs like this, but in fact it’s encouraging to hear someone put words to my feelings and to know I’m not alone in these feelings.

Favorite lyrics:

Existence, well what does it matter?
I exist on the best terms I can.
The past is now part of my future,
The present is well out of hand.

 

4. “Go the Distance” — Roger Bart

No song list would be complete without a number from a musical, and this winter I’ve been drawing inspiration from Disney musicals. One song in particular struck a chord with me: “Go The Distance: from Disney’s “Hercules.” This song beautifully articulates my desire to fit in and find my own sense of purpose.

Favorite lyrics:

I will find my way, I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday – If I can be strong
I know every mile will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong.

5. “Part Of Me” — Katy Perry

Katy Perry has written so many empowering songs of self-acceptance, but the defiant “Part Of Me” strikes a particular chord with me. Perhaps it’s because with the loss of my legs I felt that not only a physical but also a psychological part of me had been taken away — the part of me that did all those things requiring legs: dancing, exploring, skipping and Pilates. There’s so much of me left over, though, and I’m rediscovering the impulses that motivated all those actions and learning new ways of expressing them.

Favorite lyrics:

Throw your sticks and stones,
Throw your bombs and your blows,
But you’re not gonna break my soul.
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me.

6. Hero – Mariah Carey

OK, I know this is super corny with an extra side of cheese, but this song helped me achieve one of the most important revelations of my life: Over the past year I’ve realized I need to be my own hero. Friends and family are vital, but if I’m to survive those moments when I have to make a decision or face a challenge alone, I must be able to fight for myself. A similar song is “Proud” by M People, which is a great motto to live by. To me it’s not about being a holier-than-thou do-gooder but about nurturing a sense of self-worth and accountability. You have to live with yourself every day, so are you proud of the person you are?

Favorite lyrics:

When you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

Now it’s your turn.

Which songs have you had on repeat over the past few months? Let me know in the comments.

This post originally appeared on darylhb.com.

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A Mom's Response to Kanye West's Awful Comments About Disability

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“I can’t do this show until everybody stands up,” Kanye West told his concert audience in Sydney, Australia, on Friday night. “Unless you got a handicap pass and you get special parking and s**t.”

This is not a guy known for his tact, but this weekend it was his ignorance that made headlines.

The concert was the last leg of Kanye’s “Yeezus” tour. As you can see in the video above, after most people stood, Kanye noticed two people still seated and called them out, refusing to get on with the show until they got up. It’s hard to see in the video, but The Daily Mail Australia has a photo of a person waving a prosthetic leg as proof. “OK, you fine,” Kanye said, like he was…Yeezus. After his bodyguard confirmed that another person in a wheelchair couldn’t stand, Kanye went on to perform.

Kanye had the same mandate at his recent show in Melbourne, Australia, The Daily Mail reported — asking people to stand up “unless y’all sitting down because y’all handicapped.”

The guy who posted the clip on YouTube called it a “misunderstanding.” One commenter thought the clip was “taken out of context.” Another said it was an “honest mistake.”

Clearly, Kanye didn’t realize the people he’d spotted could not stand up. But his misunderstanding is beside the point.

How crappy of Kanye to call out his fans with disability and to exclude them — a dishonor they paid for — on the basis of their physical abilities. He didn’t think it might be insulting to say what he did… twice? He didn’t care? He couldn’t think of a cooler way to engage an audience? There are plenty of ways to show the love at a concert, although I guess having people shout or wave their hands or, heck, just show up wasn’t enough to appease his ego. It was also seriously crude of him to define disability as anyone who gets “special parking and s**t.”

I have another definition of disability: being this closed-minded.

Kanye got good press a few months ago when he gave a mic post-concert to a guy in a wheelchair who couldn’t see the stage. But one gesture (and really, it would have been more decent of Kanye to move the guy to a better seat) means nothing once you understand that his mindset is all wrong. This is a man who once rapped, “They tryna put me on the school bus with the space for the wheelchair,” as The Daily Beast notes.

I haven’t yet come across reactions from the people with disabilities who were at the concerts, so who knows how much this did or didn’t faze them, despite the disgust others have felt. Perhaps Kanye’s publicist will encourage him to apologize (he’s no stranger to apologies). At the very least, to look at Ye Olde Bright Side, this incident has gotten people talking and thinking about how people with disabilities deserve to be treated: like any other concert-goer, like any other human being.

This post originally appeared on Love That Max.

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Disney Princesses With Disabilities Inspire Kids to Be Proud of Their Differences

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When you wish upon a star, everyone finds acceptance.

That’s the goal, at least, of Italian artist AleXsandro Palombo, who’s created a series featuring Disney princesses with disabilities.

Disabled Disney princess pricessess Snow White Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Disability is part of our world, but unfortunately too many people think it’s something ugly that you have to hide,” Palombo, 40, told The Mighty in an email. “People with disabilities have to deal with all forms of discrimination and humiliation every day. It’s important for me to create a reaction to fight indifference.”

Two years ago, after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Palombo was paralyzed on parts of his left side. He soon realized that having a disability is often isolating. The princess series combats that feeling.

“It’s a message against discrimination, a message to redefine standards of beauty,” he told The Mighty. “It’s through the eyes of children that you can change the world.”

Disabled Disney Princess Cinderella prosthesis shoes Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Disabled Disney princess Pocahontas Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Disabled Disney princess Snow White and Prince Charming Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Human Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Palombo hopes his images’ popularity will convince Disney to create a protagonist with a disability. A lack of one, he believes, margianalizes children who look or think differently.

One out of every five Americans has a disability of some kind,” Carol Glazer, president of The National Disabilities Organization, told The Daily News when Palomobo’s images first made headlines. “So when you portray popular iconic figures, like Disney princesses, without any of them having disabilities, you’re cutting out 20 percent of the population.”

If Palomobo has things his way, that’s about to change.

Disabled Disney Princess Jasmine Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Disabled Disney Princess Tiana Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

Disabled Disney Princess Ariel The Little Marmaid Disabled Disability Equal Rights Wellchair Health Art Campaign ADV Cartoon Painting Portrait Illustration Sketch Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo

To view more from this series, visit Palombo’s blog.

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When a Little Girl Called My Daughter 'Sad'

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Yesterday after our church service, my husband, Wes, and I picked our daughter, Julia, up from Sunday school class, put her in her wheelchair and started down the long hallway back out to the common area.

As we passed the first grade classroom, a little girl waiting in the hallway pointed at Julia and loudly said, “Look at that girl in the wheelchair. That’s SO SAD!”

Before my brain could register what to do, my legs took over, and I walked straight up to that little girl, bent down to look her in the eye and said, “No, no, no she’s not SAD! She’s happy! She’s a very happy girl!”

Wes fabulously followed my lead by rolling Julia up behind me so the little girl could get a closer look. “This is Julia,” he said. “Did you see the cool wheels on her chair? They light up!” The little girl looked at Julia’s wheels as Wes spun Jules around and nodded hesitantly. By this time the little girl’s parents were paying attention, probably wondering why strangers were harassing their daughter. “Oh, they do light up,” her mom said. “How cool!”

I asked the little girl her name. I told her we were so happy to meet her and Julia was happy to meet her!  I also thanked her for noticing Julia and talking to us (that might not have exactly been her intention, but that was my reframe because I do appreciate when people see Julia and acknowledge her). I ended with saying again, “We are so glad to meet you and tell you about our happy, happy girl. She is not sad at all!”

I’m not sure if I made a positive impact on the world with that intervention yesterday or scarred a small child for the rest of her life — I hope the former. It was just one of those moments I couldn’t let pass. I spotted the little girl before she spoke, she was staring at Julia, and I could tell she was going to say something. When she pointed her finger at Julia and said, “Look at that girl in the wheelchair” I just figured I would smile and wave, but when she added the “That’s SO SAD” part I was completely taken aback. It’s just not accurate. And I couldn’t leave it uncorrected.

I don’t in any way blame this little first grader for saying what she said — she clearly has been taught from someone in her life, maybe even with good intention, that being in a wheelchair is sad, or being different is sad and that pity is the right emotion to feel when you see someone like Julia.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Julia isn’t sad. Julia doesn’t make us sad. Nothing about our lives with Julia is sad. She is a joy!

We don’t want her to be different. We don’t wish for a different version of her. We want her, exactly as she is, wheelchair and all! IMG_0184 (1)

We celebrate Julia! And she celebrates life to the fullest! She embraces the moment like no one I know! She is joyful, she is silly, she is spunky, she is busy. There is no room for sad in all that amazingness!

The message that people with special needs are sad has to be corrected, not only because it is wrong but because it perpetuates isolation and bias. When we think something is sad, we stay away. When we pity someone we are actually thinking of ourselves as better than that person. Pity and sadness are barriers to being curious, being interested, being involved and being changed.

Please don’t pity Julia. Admire her! And get to know her. You won’t be sad you did.

This post originally appeared on I’m Julia’s Mom.

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I See You There, Special Needs Parent

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I see you there.

I see you in the doctor’s office trying to figure out what is wrong with your child. I see the worry on your face. I see the heartbreak you are feeling but trying not to show. I see the brave face you put on to your child and the world. I see your struggle as you wonder where to go from here.

You are a special needs parent.

You never thought this would happen to you. You don’t know anything about “the system” or how to navigate your way through it so your child can have everything he or she needs. You have no one to talk to, no one that really understands. You rejoice at every new thing your child does, no matter how small it may seem to others, because it is HUGE to you. You try to find others who are like your child, so they know that they are not so strange. They are beautiful and you want them to KNOW that. I see everything that you have given up. I know this may include a job, friends and family you always thought would be by your side. I see the sleepless nights, filled with worry. I see the smile on your face when you think about the day and everything your child accomplished.

You have a special needs kid.

All this really means, when you get right down to it, is that you are a fierce and protective parent who stands up for your child, no matter the cost to you. I see you fighting back the urge to punch someone in the face when they stare at your child. Don’t they see that they are beautiful? Don’t they realize that sound they just made was a “I am happy to see you” sound? I see you fighting with the doctors because you know your child better than anyone else. I see you going to the hospital every month (or more) because your child is sick, and their bodies are fighting so hard. I see the mixed feelings you have EVERY DAY because you love your child more than words can say, but sometimes you just want the pain to go away! Sometimes you just want them to be normal. I see you wondering what that would be like… if only they were normal.

I see you there, you special needs parent.

You’re doing a great job! I see you shaking your head with doubt, but it’s true. Your child knows that YOU love them, just for who they are. I see your struggle, your joy and your pain because I am there too. I hear your cries. I see the tears of joy. You are not in the alone. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! And your child is thriving because of you!   

tracy and her family

 

This post originally appeared on X-linked.

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