Olympics Lacking Representation
I don’t usually post on a weekend, but I’ve been stewing about something and want your take on it. The Olympic Opening Ceremony aired Friday. It struck me how there was no visible disability representation whatsoever in the program, even with ample opportunity. It annoyed me the entire time, but I continued watching in hopes I’d see someone using a wheelchair somewhere. The closest they came was one of the children singing wearing glasses. Only one out of dozens. He was smack dab in the middle, probably to look aesthetically pleasing. At first I thought maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I suspect even if the games were in the US the results would be the same.
What’s sad is that when I brought this up to friends it didn’t even cross their minds until I mentioned it. That’s the problem. It’s so easy not to consider including people with disabilities. Without representation though it’s difficult to normalize (for lack of a better word) disability. It’s part of the reason I get gawked at by kids at Target. When your not familiar with something, you don’t know how to react. If they’d see representation in programs like the Olympic Opening Ceremony it might not be so strange when they see someone in a wheelchair in person.
After the “regular” Olympics, are the Paralympic Games where individuals with various disabilities from around the world compete. Unfortunately this event takes a back seat. I would like to see some sort of combined games. Maybe athletes from both walk together in the opening ceremonies. Maybe after a traditional sport has been televised a Paralympic sport could be. I would love to learn more about the athletes and their sports from both games not just the Olympics. A big theme for the games is bringing everyone together. Instead of being inclusive, I feel more excluded than ever.
Did you watch the opening ceremonies? What did you think?