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Down Syndrome Girl: Not So Funny

I have a new post at Bloom: Parenting Kids with Disabilities. It’s called “Not so Funny” and it begins: 

I absorb a lot of news every week. We listen to National Public Radio morning and evening. We subscribe to Time, The New Yorker, and the Sunday New York Times. I read a handful of blogs and receive a daily Google update on stories with the key words “Down syndrome.” And usually, when an article or story catches my eye, I write about it. That might be because I appreciate the perspective or information shared, or because I’m saddened or opposed by the view it presents.
But then there are the stories that bother me so much they don’t even seem worth commenting upon. The church that wanted to burn the Koran on September 11th, for instance, left such a bad taste in my mouth that I didn’t even want to mention it. And last year, when the TV show “Family Guy” ran a series of episodes with a character with Down syndrome, I refrained from wading in to the debate it inspired. Then it came to my attention that a song from “Family Guy” had been nominated for an Emmy. The song was called “Down syndrome girl.” It included the following lyrics:


Her kiss is so inviting
and her hugs are so delighting.
And what makes them really nice
is that they’ve got a little spice
Because they’re tighter than a vice
and they go on for an hour.
My boy, between the two of us
we’ll get you on that shorty bus
And then you’re going to take it for a whirl…
Now go impress that…
As of Monday, shoelace-tying
Mega-rocking, pillow-talking
Just a little crooked walking,
Coyly pouting, booby-sprouting,
For some reason always shouting,
Fascinating, captivating,
Happiness and joy creating…
Down syndrome girl!

Even then, I ignored the news…

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posted September 21, 2010 at 10:17 am

The words to that ‘song’ are disgusting.
Recently a blogger-I-like posted a video of two brothers, the younger one with Ds. The blogger thought the video was a nice representation of brotherly love. Honestly, I thought it was a little creepy (suspicious). It’s on Utb with music by the Magic Polar Bears.
Where does one go with that?

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Leticia Velasquez

posted September 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

More than disgusting, it’s terrifying!
As a teacher, I take safe environments classes which detail how special needs children are more susceptible to pedophiles. These lyrics are actually encouraging men to see young women with Down syndrome as ‘easy marks’ for sexual exploitation. To think it was considered for an award is a sign of how sick the culture is.
When it came out, Down syndrome advocacy groups defended this episode of “Family Guy” although Sarah Palin complained that Trig was being mocked.They felt it was a teachable moment, on the order of Chris Burke’s wonderful series, “Life Goes On”.
Now that the lyrics to the song are out, they are against “Down Syndrome Girl”. They should have seen it coming. Nothing positive comes from “Family Guy”.

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Ben Miller

posted February 3, 2011 at 3:53 am

You don’t have a sense of humor. This song is not just about the down syndrome, but the preparing for a date. My mother is teaches down syndrome and other special children for a living, so you can’t say that I don’t know about down syndrome. This song is not offensive at all.

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posted February 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

you people need to chillax, its just a song and its funny so stfu

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Forest Child

posted April 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

The episode was revolutionary, who else even mentions down-syndrome teenagers? Not only does Family Guy present the audience with a different way of looking at people but in this episode they give the down-syndrome girl an attitude. She is the one with the power, she is the one who gives Chris the heave-ho and she is the one in command of the situation.

I love the way that Family Guy addresses disability in comedy with Joe in his wheelchair getting into all sorts of situations and a down-syndrome girl as Chris’s date. Only by bringing these very real issues around disability to the forefront do we stand a chance at changing society’s attitude. It is the very people who find something like this offensive who represent the biggest discriminators against disability simply because they continue to see down-syndrome people as different and not worthy or capable of being in the spotlight.

The humour is supposed to grab your attention and make you think but if all you see is a ‘poor disabled person’ who needs your sympathy then perhaps that’s the REAL problem. Disability does not mean lack of a funny bone or the need for deadly propriety at any cost. Lighten up, smile, laugh and treat EVERYONE regardless of ability, race, language or otherwise as human then we might stand a chance at being considered humane.

Ever wondered why Family Guy has a Black guy, a Cop in a wheelchair, a fat idiot as the star and a sex maniac who is your A-typical respectable (pilot) guy? It is a satirical comment on how society sees stereotypes, if you don’t get that basic premiss then perhaps that is the bigger problem here?

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