I stopped into Typo to buy a card in my lunch break. I am still on my lunch break – I’ve popped into an internet cafe to write this. Because I feel so strongly about it.
On the wall of cards – some cute, some kitsch, and some retro, I saw this.
It is never right to use the word ‘retard’, or to suggest people with disabilities are any less intelligent or valuable than those without.
Shame on you Typo for ridiculing and devaluing people with disabilities. Shame on you for trying to make people laugh with this card. I would never give it to anyone, and would hate to receive one.
You may have removed the pornography products to protect children, but you’re not doing them (or the wider population) any favours selling this discriminatory attitude toward people with disabilities either.
Typo responded to my tweets, Facebook message and blog entry via Twitter and Facebook.
“Hi Carly, this product was introduced 12 months ago and was not intended as a comment on people with a disability. We thank you for your comments. All remaining stock of this product will be removed as part of our current review”.
Though I am not sure what it was supposed to be a comment on. It is a quote from Megan Fox – so perhaps it was reiterating how thoughtless she is?
The fact this product was designed, approved, manufactured and placed on shelves indicated Typo’s design department needs some more stringent checks and balances.
In the comments below, people have discussed boycotting Typo. I don’t think I’ll be boycotting them – I like their stuff. I actually bought a book on New York and some (tasteful) cards there today. But I will be on the look out for more of these disrespectful and discriminatory products and speaking up.
To those who think this is an overreaction, or that myself and commenters are being wowsers – think about this: if we want to change the way people think about disability, and encourage acceptance and inclusion, we have to start by speaking up against acts like this. And this wasn’t a small act like someone in the street calling someone else a retard. This was a big corporate, with social responsibility (endlessly plugging the charities they (want their customers) to support at the registers) who used the word ‘retard’ on a product for sale.
There is no justification for this word. Intent, word origin, colloquialism, youth speak – I don’t accept these reasons. This card indicates people with disabilities are less than valuable.
People can argue about word origins and colloquialism all they want. But it’s not acceptable to use the word ‘retard’ or ‘spastic’. So don’t.