Steve Palmer's blog about his son Stanley - who has Down's Syndrome - & the extended family.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Garth Brooks: Down's Syndrome freedom fighter?

Around 1993 I started listening to Garth Brooks's music. I even dragged Down's mum along to see the country singer at Wembley Arena. And just now, because Garth's not on Spotify, I was having a trip down memory lane via YouTube and I found this. I nearly fainted:
Garth Brooks: Standing outside the fire (1993)

Starring in this video is a young man with Down's Syndrome - Brandon - who takes part in a High School race. Now, these days, with social media, we're quite used to seeing people with Down's doing extraordinary (and ordinary - see previous blog) things. But how extraordinary was it to see someone with Down's starring in a popular music video in 1993?

However, Brandon, encouraged by his mum, spurns the Special Olympics to take part in the 'regular' race. His dad argues with the mum because he wants to protect Brandon from humiliation. The mum wants to push Brandon on so that he's not 'standing outside the fire', in the world according to Garth.

If that scene was in a music video in 2016 I wonder if there'd be an uproar. You see, the Special Olympics, 23 years on, has so much more status these days. It's not something that anyone should be ashamed of taking part in. Perhaps in the 90s it was seen as second best. Not any longer. 

But it's still amazing to come across this video. It's the first time I've ever seen it so, here in 2016, to look at this man 'standing outside the fire', and starring in Garth's video, has been fantastic. 

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