The other day a friend shared a video that rapper T.I. posted on his Instagram account. He used the hashtag: “ShortBusSuperStupidRetardation.” The hashtag made me cringe. And I was like, really? Because the hashtag diminishes individuals with special needs and becauseT.I. has a huge following.
Someone with that kind of following has the power to create a trend. A person with that kind of following will be retweeted and liked and shared thousands of times over. Whatever they tweet will most likely get replied to, retweeted and/or favorited over and over again. That tweet will be hashtagged and shared on Facebook and Instagram. It will be shared with their followers, their followers followers and so on. When a celebrity uses the r-word to insult someone or something – it goes way beyond their social media reach.
When a person with that kind of following who used a hashtag ridiculing kids with special needs – let’s their entire community know: it’s okay to make fun of and bully those who are different.
It’s not okay. It wasn’t okay when 50 Cent or D.L. Hughley did it. It wasn’t cool when Ann Coulter did it. It wasn’t cool when Drake and J.Cole did it. And it’s not okay when Latino writers do it. There should be no place for that word or that hashtag on social media.
My kid is 8 years old and has autism. He also rides the “short bus.” He’s been on it since he was 2. I put him on that bus to a special needs preschool before he could speak and while he was still in diapers. Putting him on that bus, while he was so young and so vulnerable, was one of the toughest things I had to do as a parent.
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About Lisa Quinones-Fontanez: Lisa is a secretary by day, blog writer by night and mom round the clock. Her son, Norrin, was diagnosed with autism in 2008 and Lisa founded the award winning blog AutismWonderland to chronicle her family journey with autism. You can follow Lisa on Twitter: @LaliQuin or @AtypicalMami
You can listen to Lisa on the Autism Show Podcast here.
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