As you may know, October is Down Syndrome awareness month. This month is in place to help promote acceptance, inclusion, appreciation, and respect for people with Down Syndrome across the U.S. As you probably also know, many people in the IG community use #downsyndrome to make fun of how they look in pictures or when they're doing something dumb in a picture. Imagine that you are a family member scrolling through pictures tagged #downsyndrome to see other beautiful faces of kids and adults who are experiencing life as you do and then you stumble across some of these hateful and ugly pictures. Clearly #downsyndrome is being used as a joke and an insult. Because, obviously, people with Down Syndrome make stupid faces all the time, do dumb things, and are generally a laughable presence in our society. Oh wait...no, that's just the ugly stereotype that is being perpetuated by these ignorant folks. And it's also being perpetuated by Instagram for not taking down these pictures when they are reported as harassment or bullying.
I have tried to engage some of these people to explain why the hashtag #downsyndrome is hurtful in that context. I've had a couple of people respond respectfully that they were wrong and promise to stop using it. Most have been hateful, telling me things like, "There is a cure for Down Syndrome. It's called abortion." As a mother of a beautiful son who has DS, you can probably imagine how devastating a comment like that is.
On behalf of the large Down Syndrome community here on Instagram, I am asking that you look at your harassment/bullying policy and update it to include that pictures with the hashtag #downsyndrome will be removed when reported or, at the very least, the offending comment and hashtag will be removed from the comments on the picture. I have reported multiple pictures and comments and have, disappointingly, seen no action taken by Instagram.
I love your app and I appreciate the community you have provided. Please continue to make this a safe place for all people, regardless of their differences.
Sent from my iPhone
Day in the Life: Spring 2017
6 months ago