Monday, April 21, 2008

Dancing Marlee

I love Dancing with the Stars and am enjoying yet another season of dancing. This season Marlee Matlin is one of the stars. She is a huge inspiration for all she has done and for the ways she has shown the world that the deaf community is not less than. For the last couple of weeks the judges have commented on how well she does "considering". I get that rhythm isn't the simplest or most natural thing for someone who's deaf, but it also makes me uncomfortable to hear their comments. I mean, if anyone is an example of how nothing is an obstacle, I think Marlee is, and so it seems like a slap in the face each time the judges lower the bar for her, or say something that makes it seem like she will only be able to be a certain level of dancer because of her lack of hearing. I have NO idea what it means to be deaf. I don't know what the difficulties are. I don't know what the possibilities are. But I do know that their comments give me pause each time. I don't think they mean to be insulting, but you can detect it on her face, that look of hurt, of "dude"--it resonates with me from when people tell me, "Oh well, you did really well considering you're a woman." It's that are-you-kidding look...and it has to be discouraging for her. It feels like the assumption is her lack of hearing inhibits her competency, which couldn't be further from the truth.

I wish I had a good final thought, but I'm afraid I don't. Not yet anyway. Just this I suppose: 1) someone give those judges some diversity training! 2) Marlee: You go kick some dancing with the stars booty!

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