I’m sure many of you out there have seen the article about the blunder at the Superbowl regarding Rachel Mazique, the National Association of the Deaf’s Miss Deaf America. In case you have not, let me quickly fill you in. She was invited to attend the Superbowl and sign the national anthem and “America the Beautiful,” she was then completely ignored. Regardless of the fact that she performed there was never a camera trained on her, she was not invited to stay for the game and she was now permitted to sit with the other performers, people like Kelly Clarkston and Miranda Lambert who were performing alongside her.
I feel like this is a huge step backwards. It shows a disrespect and shunning of people with disabilities that I find disturbing. Rachel Mazique is someone that many in the deaf community look up to. She is a person that people watching this program could see using the beautiful language of ASL, a person with a disability living independently and successfully. What we got instead was no coverage of her performance, no mention that she was there and no apology for treating her horribly. We have made many strides forward over the years: we see more representation of people with disabilities in media (although it’s still not where it needs to be), accomplishments have been made as far as structural accessibility is concerned, tv and movies are slowly becoming more accessible, but we apparently, in NBC’s opinion, can’t be seen or heard by too large of an audience. The most viewed broadcast in history and they couldn’t be bothered to show a performer that they invited to perform. Please note that Rachel Mazique wouldn’t have flipped off the camera like some of the ridiculous pop music spectacles they featured, there would have been no nipple slips or lude behavior, but I suppose that is what gets ratings. She was also apparently not shown on the jumbo tron; those that attended the game in person couldn’t even see her. It really just makes me sick and angry.
What are your thoughts on this situation? Can NBC undo the damage? Do you think they care?