“Ugly.” An Internet troll used that phrase to characterize a picture of a blogger’s precious little son. It’s also what sparked an absolutely amazing inspired backlash. This was the mother’s response to a stranger’s comment of “Ugly” on a photo of her infant child with Down Syndrome:
I’ve known this day would come since I began blogging about my son Quinn’s disabilities. Trolls that hide behind the anonymity of a screen name with the goal to be cruel abound on the Internet, and I’ve seen their animosity many times before. Indeed, there was no shortage of uninformed comments on the news story about a recent heist at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston’s offices, in which $10,000 worth of technology was stolen.
“How will they learn to count to potato?” wondered one user. Another stated that squandering computers on “retards” was pointless in the first place, and that the organization deserved to be looted. While offensive, these comments serve only to highlight people’s hate-fueled stupidity and aren’t worth my time. When I read them, I cringe, but I recognize there’s not much I can do about it. However, you directly attacked my son last Saturday, and instead of being outraged, I’d like to offer you some advice: Don’t be stupid. It will come back to bite you in the end.
I don’t want to make any conclusions about you, but I’m guessing you’re unaware of the helplessness that parents have when caring for a sick infant with respiratory problems. Quinn was unwell last week, but by Friday he was feeling much better. After school, we decided to relax in the lawn and soak up the sun.
There are few things more precious in this world than watching your recently-ill child smile, so I took a few images to commemorate his recovery and shared them on Instagram with the hashtag “#downsyndrome.” I enjoy looking over those images in my spare time since those kids are very cute. Of course, you, JusesCrustHD, feel differently because you found this photo and posted a simple comment:
“It’s one thing if you think my child is ugly. You have the right to express yourself.”
“However, it is both juvenile and sad that you purposefully search #downsyndrome for photographs to insult (unfortunately, Quinn is not the only victim of your conduct; I came across many more heated responses).”
“You have a lot of nasty posts and crude statements on your page.”
“You get bent out of shape when many, MANY people called you out on your bigotry in one such photo, which features two kids with Down syndrome and the term “wiitard.”
You argue it was all in good fun and that people should relax. But what if we went out of our way to find photos of our children? What about the fact that your anger tainted a wonderful photograph of my son? This isn’t a joke. That is a form of cyberbullying. Needless to say, your profile was flagged.
This isn’t the first time someone has dismissed my son because he is unique. It won’t be the last time someone makes a joke about him, but intentionally seeking out real individuals to ridicule is harsh. It’s inexcusable.
You obviously want to watch me get riled up over your little “joke,” so I understand. I’ll be honest, it’s difficult for me not to be upset about it, but I can’t carry that burden on my shoulders. I can’t help but feel sad for someone with such little decency. Because, in the end, you will be the one to bear the brunt of your decisions. There aren’t many people in the world who will put up with your retrograde thinking, and you’ll eventually rant to the wrong person. I’m guessing you already have, which is why you hide behind a pseudonym.
There were plenty of vicious adolescent males in my time, adolescents who enjoyed pranks and jokes at the cost of others. There were even a couple addressed at myself, but it gave me tough skin and helped me grow from the experience of being mistreated. Perhaps that’s why I’m prepared to let this one go; I know where the majority of those lads ended up, and it’s not a place I’d want to be. And as a teacher, I’ve seen students just like you fail miserably. Take a walk outside. Get a book and read it. Pay someone a compliment. Most importantly, educate yourself; the world is already full of cruelty, and anyone worth their salt should be working to make it better, not worse.
I merely hope that my own children learn to see through insensitive remarks and acts and to treat others with decency and respect. We all, including you, are deserving of it.
A Proud Mama.