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  • Disability representation and the Super Bowl

    Posted by deann-r on February 16, 2024 at 9:06 am

    Did you watch the big game?

    With my sketchy internet, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to, but miraculously it came in.
    Although I saw slight disability representation I feel more should be done. For example, why introduce sign language interpreters if you don’t have a dedicated portion of the screen for them? I think there’s a stream where you can watch it, but it is not widely known. If things like this were integrated into the mainstream media it would become more commonplace.

    What do you think? Are you satisfied with the level of representation you’re seeing?

    mike-huddleston replied 2 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • alyssa-silva

    February 16, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    I thought that was the strangest thing, too. It was performative activism at best. I’m happy there were sign language interpreters for those who needed it at the game. But with millions of people watching, you think they would have shown it on TV, too.

    Now I wonder what accessibility is like at the Super Bowl locations. I might have to do some field research next year. 😜

    • deann-r

      February 19, 2024 at 8:43 am

      I don’t follow closely, where is it supposed to be next year? The crowds would be too much for me.

      • alyssa-silva

        February 19, 2024 at 10:44 am

        According to my googling, it’s in New Orleans. I’m not a big fan of crowds either, but I would definitely run over some toes to get to the Super Bowl.

  • RudeboyArt

    February 20, 2024 at 2:42 pm

    I think I’m probably the odd man out here but I don’t really look for representation like this nor do I really want it. I represent myself when I’m out and about and I don’t like to be compared to ‘ambassadors’ (if you will) because they are typically acting when they are in some kind of spotlight, they are representing an ideal rather than just being human. I think we represent an incredibly small minority on this planet and I don’t think it’s fair that we would get equal screen time.

    To your example of the sign language interpreters, that’s just the NFL covering themselves. There’s no way anyone is reading sign language from the second deck or above and television broadcasts have incredible closed captioning.

    Now to be a bit of a hypocrite, I did love sitting in disabled seating on the field next to the end zone for a Vikings vs. Packers game.

  • mike-huddleston

    February 21, 2024 at 7:59 am

    Some of this is incremental improvements. Personally, I don’t view an ASL interpreter as “media representation”, but rather a necessary enhancement to the experience of those in attendance – or watching. And, unlike some, I don’t really think this is an “equal access” issue. They don’t need to do a split screen, but a PiP option would be a nice and easy thing to do. Technology is way past this capability – so use it. As far as in the stadium experience, I haven’t been able to confirm it online, but perhaps they had the ASL displayed on the jumbotrons, meaning anyone further away from the field could see this…games I’ve been to (never the Super Bowl) often display something on the in stadium broadcasts not easily seen in the entire stadium? Additionally, there were streaming options available that showed the entire ASL performance of each of the songs.

    Was it perfect? No. Will it improve? Yes, thus my incremental improvement comment above. I mean, since the US Barriers Act and the ADA were implemented, access has improved – dramatically. Curb cutouts, ramps, dedicated public seating, public transportation access, accessible restrooms, online mechanisms to determine accessibility for those concerned (have you seen this option in Google maps??), and the list goes on for folks with non-mobility related issues. No, it’s not perfect, but this whole uproar is making perfect the enemy of good. Be constructive, advocate for yourself and for improvements when and where deficiencies are identified.

    Some of this, and certainly not all of it, fake outrage is what gives DEI and being “woke”, which truly just means being aware and empathetic that others have a different life experience than your own (and not the lies and garbage being portrayed negatively in some political circles), a bad rep.

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