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50 Cent: A Reflection on a Culture of Intolerance

50 Cent: A Reflection on a Culture of Intolerance

We live in a culture where we claim to tolerate differences but very often we do not. Too often jokes are made at the expense of people who are different and the chorus of laughter can be heard echoing off the walls of intolerance. When we make fun of someone who is gay or has a disability; who is overweight or mentally ill; who is from another country or dresses differently, we are perpetuating a culture that encourages hate and intolerance.

Angel: The Face of Autism

We are making it acceptable for a celebrity like Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to tweet a joke about someone “looking autistic.” We are making it acceptable for 50 Cent to give autism a negative connotation. We are making it acceptable for 50 Cent to say he does not want special ed children on his twitter time line. (Check out his tweets, which were included in Holly Robinson Peete’s scathing letter to the hip hop artist.) As Holly’s letter went viral the twitterverse went ablaze. Everyone including myself became enraged. Some parents tweeted pictures of their children to 50 Cent. They wanted to show him what the faces of autism look like.

We are still waiting on an apology. In addition to giving an apology, 50 Cent needs to learn more about autism and the families affected by it. Lack of exposure can also breed ignorance. 50 Cent needs to come face to face with autism to begin to understand that people with autism and their families have feelings, too. We are not a punchline.  The truth is if you put a picture of my son next to 50 Cent’s son, you will not be able to tell which one of them is on the autism spectrum.

 

I think that a boycott of all of the products that 50 Cent endorses and sells until he apologizes will send the message home. I am talking about his Vitamin Water. Contact Glaceau. I am talking about his Power Cologne. Contact Lighthouse Beauty Marketing. I am talking about his Street King Energy Drinks. Contact Pure Growth Partners. Boycott his music and G-Unit. Take a stand and give a voice to our children.

Do not think that 50 Cent is alone in this. A few months ago, Ice Cube ignited a similar firestorm when he use the word autistic as an insult in the movie 21 Jumpstreet. People laughed. It was funny to them. Disability is not something to make fun of. Then, we wonder why children are being bullied every day by their peers.

You may ask: What can I do? Everyone makes fun of other people. My response to that is when someone makes a joke about someone else for being different, take a stand. Tell them it is not funny. Put them on the spot. Don’t laugh as if it is ok. It is not. When someone calls another person retarded educate them. When someone makes fun about riding the little yellow school bus, put them in their place.

If anyone thought that parents like me are being too sensitive, remember that words can hurt. Words have led children to take their own lives.  Do not wait for the joke to be made about someone you love before you take a stand.

What are you going to do or are doing to promote tolerance? I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Miz Kp

Update (July 8th): According to a post on The Hollywood Reporter, 50 Cent has apologized for his offensive tweets. Now that 50 Cent has apologized, may the healing begin. I can think of many more things that he can do to learn more about our community but at some point we have to accept his apology and move on with our lives. I hope everyone has learned from this and that this makes people more mindful and aware that words can hurt. See post here.

Update (July 5th):  According to a post on babble.com, 50 Cent took down the offensive tweets. He has not given an actual apology or made a general statement to all the parents and families he offended. Is this enough?  I would still like him to learn more about autism and engage the community, so this does not happen again.  See post here.

 

 

 

Miz Kp
Written by Miz Kp

29 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    July 05, 2012

    Well said! Plain and simply, this guy is a jerk. I agree with the boycott of his products! Hit him where it hurts.

    Reply

  2. Avatar
    July 05, 2012

    Thanks for speaking out and taking a stand against this unacceptable discrimination against those on the Spectrum. I support the boycott pending an apology!
    The outrageous “50 Cents incident” shows that the battle against ignorance and insensitivity about the meaning and nature of autism has to be intensified. In this connection, I would like to find out if anyone else has had the experience of a child on the autism spectrum being referred to as a “sick child”. What was your respond? How did you feel? Is autism a sickness? Look forward to hearing from others.

    Reply

  3. Avatar
    July 05, 2012

    People are uniformed and ignorant, and therefore insensitive. To assume the worst is not productive or beneficial. How motivated do you think this man will feel to educate himself based on all the hate thrown at him? Generally if I’m called names I want to do the opposite of what’s being suggested. Why don’t folks give the guy a minute to come up with an appropriate response before spewing a bunch of alienating crap that will just incite a deeper divide? Who’s to say he doesn’t feel badly about what he said? Have you never put your foot in your mouth? I know this is a sensitive issue, but you can’t chalk people of to ‘jerks’ when they act in accordance with the culture in which these comments were made. The culture is problematic. The people who act in accordance with it need to be encouraged to educate themselves in order to overcome that. Name calling does not encourage change.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      July 05, 2012

      i dont understand ur side. can u please clarify? i will say that calling out someone using the word autistic is cruel and justifies exposure to media. this guy uses media for fame and profit. he deserves punishment for his disrespect to an innocent group who….this is important……CANNOT DEFEND THEMSELVES!!!!! just my feelings right now…

      Reply

    • Avatar
      July 06, 2012

      I do understand that people make mistakes. I heard that 50 did some charitable work in Africa. We don’t know what was in his heart when he made those comments. It seems that from reports that he was making a retort to something negative someone tweeted to him. I have no idea. This brings attention to another problem that exists. That is on some unconscious level these remarks are typical so they are carelessly tossed around. There has been in existence a complacent attitude that those comments are okay. It’s really only in this century that enough people have spoken up and the feeling of the majority is that it is wrong to use slurs against certain groups of people and use certain derogatory terms against people. It is good that this controversy will shed light on the fact that special needs individuals, especially innocent children should never be used in a manner demeaning them. They are God’s most precious gifts to us. The innocent. In this case, 50 lacked SENSE.

      Reply

  4. Avatar
    July 05, 2012

    I think 50 cent does need to apologize. Hitting him where it hurts is a fantastic idea, but I think he shoud make a big donation to an Autism charity. And educate himself!

    Reply

  5. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    If 50 Cent steps up and apologizes, it will show society that what he said is wrong. It doesn’t matter where his heart was when he said it. Admitting he was wrong and taking responsibility for his actions would be a step in the right direction. That action would make his fans look at what they do, and maybe it would inspire some of them to educate themselves and become advocates for individuals with disabilities, rather than succumbing to ignorance.

    Reply

  6. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    So far he has not apologized. Looks like he thinks taking the tweets down is enough. In the mean time, we should continue to keep autism awareness alive. This will begin the effort to make others aware that it is not ok to make fun of others because they are different.

    Reply

  7. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    More than an apology he needs to do a PSA about ignorance and children/adults with disabilities.

    Reply

  8. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    The longer it takes to apologize the more piercing is this blow because I can’t help wondering if 50 Cent doesn’t see a reason to apologize to families of “autistic” children. Perhaps he wants to be remembered not for his good deeds but for not doing the right thing in this case.

    Reply

  9. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    If you boycott,then u big jerk too. Now from what i read he was talking to a freind or fan right that what everyone do now is tweets,that why i don’t tweet or facebook. His comments was’nt directed at special needs people, he call the person he tweet autistic. So apologized and give a donation to Ms Holly Robinson Peete non-profit organzation. You be boycotting one of the good guys. Making the matter worse not going to help.

    Reply

  10. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    Many are misinformed or just too ignorant to what goes on around them. I commend Mrs. Pete for standing up to 50cent and yes he should make a public apology and contribute to it’s cause,but only if it’s truly from his heart.

    We all need to be more informed, not just about autism but of all illnesses that’s prevalent in our communities.

    Reply

  11. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    Well said, Miz Kp! Thank you for taking a stand.

    By the way, “Sailing Autistic Seas” is a lovely and insigtful website!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      July 06, 2012

      You are welcome and thank you.

      Reply

  12. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    To Batman. It wasn’t directed at special needs kids? Let’s Say Ur right. But the example used as if special needs and autistic is bad, inferior or something to look down on is dead wrong on all accounts. No one chooses to be this way. Fifty and the fan was wrong and they are lucky I am not in his face to tell him. Anyone who justifies his behavior clearly has no morales. We need any apology now or we will handle him in defense of our special needs kids.

    Reply

  13. Avatar
    July 06, 2012

    Now you know how us gay folks felt when this same “man” and I use the term loosely tweeted that it was better for gay kids to kill themselves because they din’t like p*ssy. Charming fellow. I don’t want parents of special needs kids to feel like they are alone like so many gay people feel when parents don’t rally to defend us like they have here. Millions of decent folks know what you’re dealing with and respect you and your beautiful children. We are all worthy of love and respect. Any real human being knows that.

    Reply

  14. Avatar
    July 07, 2012

    It’s a nice post.

    Reply

  15. Avatar
    July 07, 2012

    honestly what 50 cent may have been insensitive but he was just throwing a jab right back at someone who threw one at him. The guy said “release the album or get shot” so 50′s response – “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” I think his response was justified. People are just too sensitive now a days. Get over it.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      July 07, 2012

      Darryl, u are missing the point. there was another message stating he did not want special needs people following him on Twitter. The insult was enough, but now it sounds a bit prejudiced now coming from him. Truthfully, everyone has a right to be sensitive within reason, but why would you defend 50 cent in a case like this? Freedom of speech does not mean say what u want at other people’s expense. Did you really think that it was right for non-Blacks to make racial slurs against minorities in the 50s and 60s even though the law allowed it? Do you think it is fair that someone make an insensitive comment against autistic people where they cannot defend themselves? Sorry. Get over it coming from you sounds like you do not care and that is equally as bad.

      Reply

    • Avatar
      July 07, 2012

      Do you simply not understand that 50 Cent was implying that he is a “negative” or “bad” thing to “look autistic”…. think about it. Darryl, if you had brown hair… would you want everyone replacing the word “dumbXXX” with “brown-haired” person. 50 Cent’s comments help instill in our society that it is “bad” to be autistic. 50 Cent should be using a bit of the money that he makes from his fans to educate himself about how to be a productive contributing member of society.

      Reply

  16. Avatar
    July 07, 2012

    Great website! Thank you for writing about this. I wrote to each company that you included in your blog. I have a wonderful, adorable, smart and funny 5 year old boy with autism and I was very offended by 50 Cent. He is incredibly mean and inconsiderate. Thank God he is not the parent of an autistic child…

    Reply

    • Avatar
      July 07, 2012

      Thanks for your feedback, Cathy. One can only hope that 50 Cent will find the time to apologize and do something to benefit the autism community. This can at least show that he understands that what he said was wrong and he is trying to make it right. Until then, we wait. If he never does any of these things, well then he has shown us the true essence of his character. We as a community will continue to raise our children in a world that may not always be kind but we will continue to pray that they are surrounded by people who care.

      Reply

  17. Avatar
    July 09, 2012

    50 Cent has deleted his tweet and “apologized” now the ball is in our court to bombard him with awareness building material on autism and other special needs issues. There is lot of work to be done and we need to be proactive through advocacy, awareness building and research.

    Reply

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