Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post: Thoughts of Disabilities and The Glee Project

Below is a guest post written by a friend of mine who feels strongly about how disabilities, specifically visual impairments, were handled on The Glee Project. When we discussed this subject, it became evident to me that Ali was accomodated, yet Mario wasn't accomodated in the same manner, perhaps because Ali was a favorite to win and Mario was not.

The article is below:

As a visually impaired person, I was pretty excited to see a blind person on The Glee Project. After seeing Mario on the show for a few episodes, I knew he had talent, but I didn't think he would fit in on the show. That being said, this is not about that fact that he got sent home. I agree that he was a weak candidate, but I don't think Mario was sent home for the right reasons.

There were some key issues on The Glee Project, primarily between the mentors and those with disabilities.  I couldn't believe that they didn't have Braille lyrics for Mario to read. He had to rely on others to tell him his lines or what was available. It wasn't until the second episode where they emphasize, "Oh, hey, we did this really nice thing for you! We got you a Braille copy." Oh really? Gee, thanks. Let's be real here - Mario was cast because of his disability, and the producers have the nerve to act like Braille text is a favor? How Mario was supposed to feel was clearly not a concern. I am actually surprised he never mentioned it.

As far as teaching choreography went, the team had no idea what to do with Mario. They gave him generic directions which for a sighted person would have been fine, but not for a person who can't see what they actually look like. "Mario, you didn't move enough" hardly cuts it when you don't explain to him how he should be moving. Maybe the problem isn't Mario's acting, but the mentors' directions.

If there is to be a third season of The Glee Project, perhaps the producers should do their homework, rather than casting people that are different just because they're different. Mario could have made it farther in the competition if he was treated fairly.

Do you want an example of what Mario probably experienced? Close your eyes and have someone direct you to do a dance move using words. Tough, isn't it? It's even harder if you've never seen that dance move. So, Glee Project, I fully support you giving people with different abilities a chance to be on television, but treat them right - they way you'd want to be treated.

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