Posted September 8, 2014 by Michael Ernest in Commentary and News

Commentary: Handicap?

My heart honestly breaks most of the time I see disabled people on the streets. Many years ago, I remember watching a segment of Oprah when she still had The Oprah Winfrey show and wailing because this disabled kid was bullied. I see all levels of internet bullying all the time, and I’m ashamed to say most times I make light of it. However, when the person being bullied is disabled it irks and sickens me, it sickens me enough to write about it.

A while back, NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, and a number of other celebrities mocked a disabled man on social media primarily by making a picture collage of this man.

Shaquille O’Neal created a two-sided collage of himself pulling a (mocking) strange facial expression merging it with Jahmel Binion’s actual picture.


This distasteful act was also carried out by Rapper Waka Flocka Flame and Utah Jazz Point Guard Trey Burke.
Binion suffers from Ectodermal dysplasia which is an inherited disorders that cause abnormal development of the skin, hair, teeth, nails or sweat glands.

This is something that I can’t wish on anyone not even my enemy, and it is something no one should laugh about talk less of openly mocking the afflicted.

So why in God’s name was this man mocked online for it?

Why did this mockery generate over 17,000 likes?

Is the world running out of humorous things to laugh about?

When did it become cool to laugh at handicapped people?

Would it still be funny if it were you, our siblings, children or spouse?

Even though O’Neal deleted this picture, the damage was already done, and Jamal Binion is now reportedly suing for emotional distress according to Macomb Daily.

Binion is said to have received apologies from the aforementioned celebrities, and while he accepted each one at the time, he has since decided to take legal action and is seeking damages.

“When they said sorry, I felt like they were saying it to get the pressure off of them for being considered ‘bad people,'” Binion told Macomb Daily.

In the lawsuit, the Detroit native claims the ridicule caused “emotional distress, invaded his privacy and defamed” him.
“[The Photos] constituted a public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about the plaintiff [and] placed him in a false light in the public eye,” the lawsuit states.

Binion, who is a Christian, has been inundated with support since his story went viral. His”Hug Don’t Judge” Facebook Group now has more than 22,409 members and counting and the response from the public has been incredible.

I once read comments of people mocking Toni Braxton for having an autistic child, I see images on Instagram of people taking a jabs at disabled, I see people comfortably making fun of poor people and it all sickens me. This makes me wonder when did mocking handicapped people become the norm? When did laughing at the poor become cool, and why? Please enlighten me.