Friday, March 20, 2009

Special Olympics Fires Back At Obama

OK, "fires back" is a bit too strong, but S.O.'s Chairman, Timothy Shriver (Yes, Maria Shriver's brother) did issue a statement saying that Prexy O. called him last night to apologize.

Shriver said, “Words hurt and words matter. Words can cause pain and result in stereotypes that are unfair and damaging to people with intellectual disabilities. And using 'Special Olympics' in a negative or derogatory context can be a humiliating put-down to people with special needs."

And he challenged Obama "to take the lead and consider hiring a Special Olympics athlete to work in the White House. In so doing, he could help end misperceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world."

Fun fact: Ugly Betty superdiva Vanessa Williams is on the Board of Directors with Special Olympics International, and I once interviewed her about it. She was incredibly well informed, having worked with S.O. for over 15 years.

Special Olympics is much more than just the Special Olympics Games. It's an important international movement that deserves support and attention. Hopefully, Obama's shockingly ill thought out remark will turn into increased public attention toward and support for the organization.

I just made a donation. You should, too.

1 comment:

Pro said...

During the campaign for the White House in 2008, the media criticized Palin for being ‘common,’ and ‘not presidential.’ However, compare Sarah Palins attitude in this video created three weeks ago for the Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho.

You decide the more ‘presidential’ among them: