Wednesday, July 20, 2011

GQ magazine slams Boston with slur against people with Down syndrome

From The Boston Herald:

A GQ magazine online feature that uses insulting terms to declare Boston the “worst-dressed” city in America takes a shockingly low blow at the mentally challenged.

The scathing fashion review posted on the magazine’s Web site lists Boston at No. 1 in its “40 Worst-Dressed Cities in America” list. GQ sneered: “Boston is like America’s Bad-Taste Storm Sewer: all the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate and putrefy.”

The Web site’s blurb then delivers an astonishing jibe: “Due to so much local in-breeding, Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome.”

Efforts to reach GQ for comment late yesterday were unsuccessful. Advocates were stunned by the slur, which began circulating through Facebook July 15.

“I’m horrified,” said Dafna Krouk-Gordon, president and founder of TILL Inc., a Massachusetts nonprofit that provides community programs for people with disabilities. “This is vile. It sets us back as having to work so hard to eliminate the stereotypes that people with any kind of disabilities have had to live with for hundreds of years.”

“They are doing societal damage by using those kinds of examples. It is especially hurtful for someone with Down syndrome who would not be in a position to advocate for themselves,” Krouk-Gordon said.

Melanie McLaughlin, whose 3-year-old daughter, Gracie, has Down syndrome, said, “It makes you feel like somebody really stabbed you in the heart. It’s the only way you can put it. It hurts. It really hurts.”

McLaughlin, a volunteer with the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, found out about the GQ slur through a network of activists, volunteers and parents on Facebook.

“I’ll be writing a letter to the editor and say, ‘How dare you?’ ”

In May, Miami Heat star LeBron James was widely criticized after blurting out, “That’s retarded,” in response to a question during a postgame press conference in Boston. James initially defended his remarks but apologized two days later.