Larry the insensitive guy

By Amy Armstrong

After reading a recent news article on Larry the Cable Guy’s upcoming performance in Champaign and all the accolades that were referenced in it, I feel compelled to speak out for a group that cannot speak for themselves.

Larry the Cable Guy takes great delight in telling jokes in his act about “retards.” The “R” word is not allowed to be used in my family’s presence as an adjective or a source of jest. My daughter has a clinical diagnosis of Down syndrome and mental retardation. It is a hateful word to those of us raising beautiful individuals with special needs and/or developmental delays.

Larry offends me. He is using my daughter as the brunt of his jokes. Many people may think he doesn’t mean it in an unkind way. I would like to know how one kindly tells a joke about the mentally disabled? Would Larry be able to use racial slurs or slurs about homosexuality in his act and be given a giant write-up in the paper and win awards?

I will not be seeing his show. I will not participate in funding an act that perpetuates bigotry. I will tell anyone who brings him up exactly what I think of his show.

Hopefully the next time you use or hear the “R” word, think about a beautiful 15-month-old girl that fights a great battle not only with her health, but with those who will use her as a punch line. She could be your daughter, sister, niece or just a sweet little girl that you know and love. She doesn’t deserve what has been handed to her in her short life, and Larry, if you are reading or even care, come by our house when you are in town. Tell her the joke. I’ll bet she doesn’t laugh.

Amy Armstrong

Champaign resident