March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, and to raise awareness and start a dialogue, CoorDown, an Italian organization for people with Down syndrome, released a video starring actress Olivia Wilde as a young woman with Down syndrome.
In the video, a voiceover describes how one young woman with Down syndrome sees herself: as a daughter, a sister, a best friend and a person who follows her dreams.
Wilde plays the narrator laughing, crying, singing karaoke with friends and camping with her family. The video is narrated by Anna Rose Rubright, a young person with Down syndrome, who doesn’t appear until the end, looking out at the viewer and asking, "This is how I see myself. How do you see me?"
The video is part of CoorDown’s #HowDoYouSeeMe campaign, and viewers have been tweeting out their reactions.
Some shared support:
Let’s change the way we look at people w/ Down Syndrome, & see them the way they see themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhCEoL1pics … Love #HowDoYouSeeMe
On behalf of myself & my daughter, thanks @oliviawilde for being in this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhCEoL1pics … #HowDoYouSeeMe pic.twitter.com/gcqmJuyb96
But many criticized the video and the #HowDoYouSeeMe campaign for what some called an ableist message that erases Down syndrome as an identity:
HowDoYouSeeMe? Why not ask #HowDoIPerceiveYou when you are being ableist as all get-out? (I fixed it to "perceive" bc sightism.)
HowDoYouSeeMe video is analogous to fat people being seen as thin people trapped in fat bodies. Erasing identities never ends well.
HowDoYouSeeMe is a shining example of what happens when non-disabled people spearhead "disability" initiatives.
When I look in the mirror, I see my disability. I’m okay with that. It’s part of my identity. #HowDoYouSeeMe