Statement on ‘Mongoloid’ Usage in ‘The Guitar Mongoloid’

Our Statement on ‘Mongoloid’ Usage in ‘The Guitar Mongoloid’

On behalf of Mongolians and Mongols around the world, we want to express our deep disappointment and concern in relation to the use of the term “mongoloid” in the context of the film “Guitar Mongoloid” directed by Ruben Östlund.

We are shocked and disappointed to learn that the film festival organisers and programme managers in Sweden, US and Canada did not take a stand in strong opposition to this title despite its historical or artistic value. According to The Washington Post it took its title from a boy with Down’s syndrome.

“The term “mongoloid”, referring to people with Down syndrome, was dropped by the World Health Organization in 1965 because it was and still is considered to be offensive to those of Mongol ethnicity.

Dr. John Langdon Down, who discovered Down’s syndrome in the 1860s, used “mongolism” and “mongoloid” to describe the syndrome as he stated that there were similar physical characteristics with people from Mongolia and Mongoloid race (those of Asian ethnicity). This phrase was used until the 1960s, when scientists petitioned to use “Down’s syndrome” instead of “Mongolism” or “Mongoloid”.

Furthermore, in many countries, the word has come to be used as a term of offense. There are many campaigns around the world trying to stop the hurtful and offensive usage of “mongoloid” and to promote the original meaning, namely, “related to the culture, language and people of Mongolia.”

Therefore, we request that Ruben Ostlund and Comeback Company change the film title, out of respect, human kindness and compassion towards vulnerable members of society as well as the mongolian culture and nation with its rich history and unique standing in the world.

– Mongolian NYC Community
– Mongolian Association in the UK
– Mongolian Association in Canada
– “Tsahim Urtuu Holboo” TBB (NGO) online community of Mongolians around the world