The Times wrongly accused the academy of racial bias in not nominating "Glory" or "Do the Right Thing" for this year's best picture Oscar. The Times would have been better off putting the blame at the feet of my organization, the National Stuttering Project. We failed to convince the academy members that stuttering can be as serious and disabling a handicap as the disabilities portrayed in this year's best picture nominees "Born on the Fourth of July" and "My Left Foot," and last year's winner "Rain Man."
The portrayal of men who stutter in "Glory" and "Do the Right Thing" was commendable. Jihmi Kennedy portrayed in "Glory" a brave, courageous, and strongly religious black Civil War soldier who happened to stutter. But his stutter, rightfully, was not the focus of the character. In "Do the Right Thing," Roger Guenveur Smith portrayed a very severe stutterer who symbolically represented the difficulty men of all races have in communicating with one another. I congratulate these films' producers, Freddie Fields and Spike Lee, for their sensitive portrayals of people who stutter.
Media Relations Coordinator
National Stuttering Project
San Juan Capistrano