The North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance is Outraged…
Raleigh, NC (February 1, 2021) – The North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance (NCDSA) is outraged at the use of an offensive term by a Member of Congress to refer to individuals with Down syndrome. The word “retard” has no place in the public discourse or the halls of Congress. People with Down syndrome have the right to be treated with the same respect and dignity as any other member of society.
Elected members of Congress must hold themselves to the highest possible standards of fairness and equity. They should not preserve an archaic stereotype that people with Down syndrome are somehow unworthy of equal and fair representation. The video of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene that is currently circulating in the media is heartbreaking, offensive, and unacceptable. It is a disappointment and extreme concern that in this video, Rep. Greene refers to her new Congressional colleagues as “retards.” Despite acknowledging in the video that the word “retard” is offensive, she not only uses the term, but goes on to associate “retards” and “stupid people” with people with Down syndrome. We are shocked to see an elected official use the R-word despite knowing it is offensive.
People with Down syndrome marginalized…
NCDSA is committed to working with Members of Congress to deepen their understanding of the impact of Representative Greene’s words. Her words have hurt our community, but the impact reaches greater depths then the emotional toll. Her words have power and perpetuate a negative stereotype of people with Down syndrome that marginalizes them and relegates them to be second class citizens.
Issues that affect individuals with Down syndrome…
Despite its large representation among the U.S. population, the disability community remains one of the most socioeconomically depressed minority groups in the country. Issues that continue to affect individuals with disabilities are unemployment, homelessness, and food insecurity. 80.7% of people with disabilities (including individuals with Down syndrome) are unemployed and school age children with Down syndrome do not receive an education equal to that of their non-disabled peers. Outdated and biased views perpetuated by Members of Congress directly impact the quality of life and healthcare outcomes across the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome.
Remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Committee on Education and Labor
Members of Congress take an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. However, Rep. Greene’s actions are in direct conflict to that oath. Members of Congress have the power and moral responsibility to correct this situation and remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Committee on Education and Labor. It is clear she does not have the best interests of people with Down syndrome in mind and cannot faithfully fulfill her duties to represent them in her work on the Committee.
Christina Reaves, Executive Director