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The R Word

Kanopy (Firm)
Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
People have called them village idiots, imbeciles, fools, subhumans and retards. They have been incarcerated in prisons and institutions, abused and even at times murdered. They have been feared and misunderstood for centuries. This program chronicles the incredible struggles of a culturally diverse group of Canadian people with intellectual disabilities and their families to be recognized and treated as fully human with the same rights as anyone else in society. We have been studied as if we were a different species, says Joe Clayton. Clayton, who was sent to an institution at age 12, takes us across the country, through a shocking history of abuse as told by the people whose lives were dehumanized by the system. He explains how he suffered years in a government residential school not only for the crime of being Metis, but also for the additional sin of being intellectually challenged. He introduces viewers to others, including persons with Down Syndrome and Autism, from different ethnic backgrounds from all across Canada filmed in Vancouver, Quebec, Yukon, Toronto, Newfoundland. Some speak out for themselves in expressing their outrage at the cruel treatment they've received in the past which seems often to involve sexual victimization and severe bullying. Some must rely on their parents and siblings to speak for them. Beginning with a brief examination of the history of their oppression, we learn how the fears and superstitions of the middle ages culminate in the policies of Hitler and the genetic movement and how vulnerable this leaves people with intellectual disabilities right up to the present day. We do this by showing personal histories over three generations of some of these Canadians and their families revealing incredible stories of courage, vulnerability and love. We also examine the experience of those people who have been neglected by family and society left to suffer and sometimes die in isolation - as witnessed by two survivors of institutional abuse. They tell inspirational true stories of their struggle out of darkness into light and the fulfilling lives they have created with the help of others despite these horrible beginnings. Celebrates all the victories of recent years - emphasis is placed on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which, at least formally, gave these people the status of personhood. We come out of these stories with a new understanding of the ongoing urgency to create conditions where all people can maximize their potential without fear of discrimination and dehumanization and what concretely needs to be done as a society to bring that about.
Performers
Features: Joe Clayton
Release Date
2004
Language
In English
Notes
  • In Process Record.
  • Title from title frames.
Published
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016.
Recording Info
Originally produced by Kinetic Video in 2004.
Publisher no.
1158597 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 65 minutes) : digital, .flv file, sound
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
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