Sports And The Disabled (Conclusion)

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 22, 2009

Roy Campanella

Roy Campanella

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — So you think the N-word is bad? Can you imagine you have Cerebral Palsy which is a muscular disability that affects every part of your body?

Now think about other children that have other disabilities calling you the N-word. Cerebral Palsy was considered the lowest rung of the disabled community hierarchy.

Children with CP talked funny, drooled, and were spastic and jumped at sudden loud noises. All of these issues were frowned upon by the greater disabled community.

For a white disabled child, it may or may not matter, but for a disabled African American Child this was a triple play, Black, male, and disabled. The 1960-70 era America did not like you because you’re Black.

People who you thought were your allies and would support you because you had a common bond-disability were now calling you the N-word. So the disabled child with Cerebral Palsy had to have a thick skin or they would not last long in the United States.

If a white child grew up with racist parents they grew up more intense because they stayed at home, these kids did not socialize with other kids to dispel their parent’s myths, and cultural believes so they were intense with their feelings of race.

The same event occurred with Black disabled children if his/her parents were prejudice. They mimicked their parent’s views politically, socially, and economically.


Christopher Reeve’s becoming the spokesmen for the disabled community when he was only disabled for two years was profound. He did not know many of the issues the confronted the disabled community. Why?

Because he never lived, talked or worked with other disabled Americans.

Many issues did not get addressed because of his star power. Yes, he did wonderful things for stem cell research but many other important issues were left unaddressed.

While disabled singers like the late Curtis Mayfield and Philadelphia star Teddy Pendergrass, who are both quadriplegics, addressed inner city issues and health care for the African American with disabilities, something the White Disabled leadership still fails to address today.

Unfortunately, the issues of the handicapped aren’t sexy enough for the American media or the White Disabled leadership and are often forgotten.

Dodger Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella was the first disabled coach in Major league history. Every spring, Campanella would travel with the Dodgers to their spring training camp in Florida.

He would help the young catchers on the art of defense behind the plate. Whenever a team member had a problem they would visit with Campanella. He used his disability to help others.

If you get live into your eighties, nineties, or a century most likely a certain part of your body will fail. That is just human nature and then your body will force you to join the disabled community.


Please ask if the disabled person wants to be helped, it is a common courtesy to ask before assisting anyone. Don’t be offended if he/she says no, it’s just part of being independent.

Remember we teach all of our children to be as independent as possible, the same can be said for disabled youth.

Post Script: Check out these other movies about Disabled African Americans

The Caveman’s Valentine with Samuel L. Jackson The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington Article 99 with Ray Liotta, Kiefer Sutherland and Forest Whitaker The Waterdance with Wesley Snipes, Eric Stoltz and Helen Hunt Ray with Jamie Foxx. Regina King, and Kerry Washington It’s Good to Be Alive: The Roy Campanella Story with Paul Winfield A Patch of Blue with Sidney Poiter Men of Honor with Cuba Gooding Jr.

NOTE: Want to know more about the Black Disabled community? Log on to or THE GRAYLINE at

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