Winter is coming. Actually winter is here and the Winter Olympics opens tomorrow, the Game of Thrones quote was just too good not to use. I am a big fan of both the books and the HBO series and anybody who has heard my opinions on the lack of representation the disabled receive in books, movies, and television can probably guess at one of my biggest reasons. 1 billion people worldwide have some form of disability,that’s 15% of the world’s population. We are the world’s largest minority. In spite of this fact I can count on both the hands the number of disabled people I’ve seen on television my entire life and we’re not even going to mention the times I’ve seen a person with a physical disability in a magazine ad, that’s really depressing. When I was little (preschool age) the only disabled person I remember seeing on tv was the deaf lady Linda who was the librarian on Sesame Street, I watched Star Trek : Thor Next Generation later and found Geordie Laforge, to this day I love Levar Burton extra for that role. That being Now thanks to Glee there is Artie Abrams, who has a spinal cord injury and Becky Jackson who has Downs Syndrome. Television still has a lot of ground to cover neither Levar Burton nor Kevin Mchale (the actor who plays Artie() are disabled. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the actress playing Becky Jackson really has Downs.
I was surprised because even though disabled characters are becoming less rare the chances that they are being played by a non disabled person are better than average..Thus the fact that the actor who plays Tyrion Lannister also has dwarfism like the character he portrays is something to cheer about.
What does any of this rambling have to do with the Winter Olympics you might ask? The answer is…it doesn’t. It has to do with the Paralympics the Olympics far less known and therefore less publicized sibling. The Paralympics is the Olympics for the physically disabled athlete. It is held in the same city as thr Summer and Winter Winter Olympics, athletes still come from around the globe to participate, in fact aside from modifications of some of the sports for disability ( the hockey players play on sleds rather than skates for example) there are only two major differences from the Olympics.1) The Paralympics is held two weeks after the Olympics 2) THE US DOES NOT TELEVISE IT! When every other participating country, including Iran does( I’m not kidding Iran with all the social backwardness it has beat us on this) televise it but we don’t, that’s just wrong. It’s not even on ESPN I looked. I have started a petition to cover the Paralympics and when I get at least 1,000 names I’m sending it to the programming directors of CBS, NBC and any other major television network. Gandhi said, “Be the change you seek in the world. Here I am.