Lisa Ling, her of The View and Oprah and the sister in the North Korean incarceration and then rescue by Bill Clinton, announced her pregnancy on Anderson Cooper’s show last week and I happened to catch it . She’s smart and nice and has been through a lot so even though I don’t know her I was really happy for her. I said “Ah so cute” along with the audience as she showed an amazing sonogram video of her baby dancing and jumping around in her womb. (watch video below)
And then she said that she hoped the baby didn’t grow up to be “a SPASTIC!”
Darling, I hope your baby doesn’t grow up to be “a spastic” either because if it did it would probably have cerebral palsy. You seem like a really smart woman so I can completely understand why you never made a joke out of saying “I hope my baby doesn’t grow up to be “a retard”. But then you would never use the “R” word, heck I think you even campaigned against its use. But right there on Anderson Cooper, and by the way Anderson you should know better given how much time you spend with Sanjay Gupta and Dr Oz, you laughed and joked and in front of a sonogram of your beautiful baby girl dancing in your womb you said “wow look at her move I hope she doesn’t grow to be a Spastic!”
Now even though I am English and live in Singapore, my kids do go to the largest international American School in the world (SAS) so I am bilingual and speak English and American. I have come to accept the inconsistencies in the PC dictionary and I know it is bizarrely considered acceptable in the US to call someone a SPAZ (short for spastic meaning according to Merriam Websters: of, relating to, characterized by, or affected with or as if with spasm <a spastic patient> b : characterized by hypertonic muscles <spastic cerebral palsy>
So yes Lisa I get that you don’t want your child to grow up and have cerebral palsy ( definition from the NIH site: Spastic paralysis; Paralysis – spastic; Spastic hemiplegia; Spastic diplegia; Spastic quadriplegia). You wouldn’t ever want your child to have to suffer spastic episodes when their limbs stiffen and stick out uncontrollably (hypertonia) and I am pretty sure you wouldn’t want your child to have to endure a challenged life. No mother would.
My daughter doesn’t have cerebral palsy but she has frequent spastic episodes every day, often at school. She’s a good student and an amazing and accredited artist – she paints with the wheels of her wheelchair Lisa, she controls her wheelchair by manipulating a trackball with her lips and chin, the only things she can move apart from her eyes. She’s amazing and astonishing and inspiring – oh and a spastic.
Take a leadership position Lisa (and you too Anderson given you just sat there and laughed) – apologize for what you said and start educating people that Spaz and Spastic and all the other denigrating terms that insult the physically disabled community need to be banned from public use in the way the “R” word is.
Congratulations to you and your husband Lisa you seem like really good people and will make wonderful parents I am sure. You are so talented and committed and smart and you have shone a light on so many important issues in the past and made a difference just think what you could do now for the CP community.
– and I really truly with all my heart hope that your baby grows up to be healthy and happy.
Video from Anderson Cooper Show (start watching at 50 seconds)