George Takei branded 'offensive' and 'ignorant' for sharing controversial disabled meme – not that he cares
The actor, who is known for his usually entertaining social media activity, refused to apologise over the image
Monday 11 August 2014
George Takei caused offence last week, after sharing a meme depicting a disabled woman standing in her wheelchair reaching for a drink on a supermarket shelf, alongside the caption: “There has been a miracle in the alcohol isle [sic]”
The Star Trek actor posted the image his Facebook page, prompting a deluge of comments which derided Takei for perpetrating a stereotype that wheelchair-users are all completely unable to stand.
Those with mobility issues have varying abilities to walk and stand; some cannot use their legs at all, while others are able to stand or walk sporadically.
The NHS cites that “wheelchair services are available to people of all ages who have a long-term need for mobility help”.
“It displays an attitude many of us have to deal with every single day: we don't “look” or “seem” disabled enough to do many things without the judgment and criticism of others,” wrote one commenter.
“We're supposed to be much more helpless in the eyes of so many.”
“Mobility issues don't always mean you can't stand... sometimes it just means you can't walk, or you have to walk so slowly that a chair works better,” wrote another. The meme shared by Takei
“I'm disappointed in you, Mr Takei,” said another. “This kind of joke has become all too common. There are many many people who have limited mobility and can walk or stand for short periods of time, but depend on crutches or chairs for longer distances. A photo was taken of this person without their permission and posted on the internet for a cheap and ignorant laugh. I would not have expected you to perpetuate it.”
Takei – who is also known for his active campaigning for LGBT rights - responded to the criticism with another post, in which he essentially told users to calm down.
“Fans get “offended” from time to time by my posts,” he wrote. “There hardly is a day where something I put up doesn't engender controversy. Concerned fans, worried the sky may fall, ask me to ‘take it down.’”
“So I'm also going to ask them also to take it down - a notch, please.”
Unsurprisingly, his omission attracted further disapproval.
“It seems that people Takei have well-tuned radar for every form of prejudice there is, except ableism,” wrote Andrew Pulrang on his blog which focuses on issues relating to disability.
“They probably know what ableism is, but they don’t recognize it when it bites them in the proverbial ass… or comes out of their literal mouths. And, when they are called out for it, their first reaction is the kind of defensiveness they would normally criticize in others for different prejudices.”
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