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posted Tuesday January 22nd, 2013

I was scrolling through Instagram when the word “nigga” caught my eye.  Not something you see every day when you follow a bunch of food geeks and restaurant PR people.

It was part of a screen shot of a series of text messages — made no sense, lots of gobbledygook, dumb drunk behavior, it appeared to me. Then I noticed the comment below it from the user, a guy named Cord Chatham who goes by @inkedupchef.

His comment didn’t make much sense to me, either:

My young’n turned up to the corky from life goes on setting. #lmfao #jaguarsgoldclub #faded @rico602 #turnup #turnt #stroke #downsyndrome #corky

I couldn’t help it. I looked up the hashtag for Down syndrome.

I don’t recommend it. There — among some sweet shots of someone’s baby boy and someone else’s older cousin — are pictures of bug-eyed dogs, a shot of a heavily made-up woman (who does not have DS) and a man (who does have DS) and her comment: “At least il always know someone will marry me hahahah” (that one got 25 “likes”) and — well, you get the picture(s).

I did not look up the hashtag for Corky, the lead character on the 80s sitcom “Life Goes On.” I really didn’t want to see what else might be there.

At that, I should have moved on. But I thought about @inkedupchef’s comment last night, as I was falling asleep. I had to respond. Am I going to call people out on using the word retarded but let something like this go?

So this morning I wrote under his post:

I have a daughter with Down syndrome so I was excited to see your hashtag — but I’m not sure what you mean by this? Do you have a child with Down syndrome? I’m always looking for play mates for Sophie.

OK, I will be the first to admit to my own shitty behavior. Of course I had a pretty good idea that the guy didn’t have a kid with Down syndrome. I was quite sure he’d never met anyone with Down syndrome — probably never even watched that show.  (From what I know, the guy who played Corky is actually very bright, so perhaps not the best comparison.) I wasn’t expecting a response, wasn’t even sure I’d have the nerve to check for one.

I just wanted to let him know that someone who is close to someone with Down syndrome saw that screen grab and what he wrote underneath. And he could make of that what he wished.

A few hours later, I had a comment waiting. It left me speechless. What about you?

my youngest sister had #downsyndrome but she passed away when she was 6. But I was using it in regards to how drunk my friend was. I meant no disrespect to anyone whatsoever.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

3 Responses to “#downsyndrome”

  1. Ugh. I wasn’t ready for, nor was I expecting, that response. I was tense because I knew what he meant by what he said and I put myself in your shoes, bracing myself for a reply that would feel like yet another punch to the gut. I had a HS friend use that term on FB…Corky. She said she felt like one while working out with her trainer. And it stung so bad that I still remember years later. I confronted her about it and she apologized. But I didn’t know that would happen. I was prepared for the worst. Doesn’t it always just feel like a lose-lose? Hugs and sighs.

  2. I’m not sure I even get it. But it doesn’t sound like he meant it in any way I’d like.

  3. Now I’m thinking that people who use hashtags in things other than tweets understand and use them better than people who actually use them on Twitter.

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