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    #16
    I actually agree with Scorpion re the blackface reference and I thought he/she made some really great points as well. I think the situation for actors with disabilities is really bad, and there should be way more access and job opportunities. Overall, I thought Stephen's post was excellent also. The blackface reference was the one place he lost me.

    I don't know if this is helpful at all, but there is a big debate in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community about whether or not to compare the f-word to the n-word. Some gay people like to make a point about how hurtful the f-word is by comparing it to the use of the n-word, and how hurtful that is, and how it is supposed to be reserved for use only by black people (even though it isn't). In the online commentaries I have seen, African American people have argued that no, the two words should not be compared because it takes away from the unique and historical degradation of the n-word and relates it to something separate. I agree with this. I don't think we need to compare something painful and wrong to something else that was uniquely horrible to make a point.

    That's my two cents. I will probably post again to weigh in on the situation for actors with disabilities. I have a lot of thoughts on this subject and I'm glad to find a forum to share.
    In our world constituted of differences of all kinds, it is not the disabled, but society at large that needs special education...to become a genuine society for all. -Frederic Major, Former UNESCO Director General

    Comment


      #17
      Several people all righty pointed put what I would like to see, and that is people in chairs get non disabled rolls. This is really picking up with non white people, playing just people roles, and not some so called black or Hispanic parts. Why couldn't a disabled person play just the guy next door without any mention of his or her disability. Recently I've been seeing dwarfs playing non short roles so its probable coming soon to a TV near you.
      T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

      Comment


        #18
        Twistties brought up an important point. There aren't any blockbuster Hollywood stars that made their name post-injury or illness, and I think it is unacceptable to argue that PWD should be passed over continually because they have no name recognition. This is self-perpatuating cycle that can feed on discrimination.

        There are a lot of actors with disabilities, and there are many who are quite skilled just like AB actors. The Screen Actors Guild has a Performers with Disabilities Committee and the organization Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities exists to enhance the status and promote awareness of performers with disabilities. Notably, the Theater Breaking Through Barriers in New York City is an off-Broadway theater dedicated to advancing actors and writers with disabilities. Their plays are reviewed in the New York Times frequently.

        However, as Stephen and others mentioned there is still a lot of discrimination and lack of visibility. Every year Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation publishes a report called "Where We Are on TV." The report tracks the presence of minority characters in scripted primetime television shows. It shows on page 15 that in 2012:

        "This year, the number of broadcast series regulars with a disability is lower than in recent seasons by dropping to four characters, compared to five in 2011 and six in 2010—making PWD only 0.6% of all regular primetime scripted characters this upcoming season. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox each have one character with a disability while The CW has none. Following the season premiere of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Arizona Robbins is now an amputee. CBS has a character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation who uses prosthetic legs, NBC features a character with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, on Parenthood and a character on Fox’s Glee uses a wheelchair."

        In terms of actual discrimination and lack of inclusion, I found this concrete information from a report by Backstage, an audition website.

        "In 2005, the Screen Actors Guild published a report about the employment of its members with disabilities. It said that roughly one-third of the union's disabled members were able to find film or television work in 2003, and that they worked on average four days a year. It also said that despite contract language (found also in Actors' Equity Association and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists contracts) that bars discrimination based on disability, roughly 36 percent of respondents said they felt some form of discrimination in the workplace, "including not being cast or being refused an audition because of their disability." Disabled actors who auditioned frequently tended to work more, according to the report, but it added that many performers weren't candid about their abilities, for fear of "being viewed as an object of pity and incapable of doing the job."

        SAG's report concluded that more advocacy and education were required, as was more-accurate data collection within the industry. Hired actors are not tracked with regard to disability as they are with respect to race, gender, and age.

        Since the report was published, advocacy has increased. SAG, Equity, and AFTRA launched the "I Am PWD" campaign in 2008 to promote inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities. That same year the National Endowment for the Arts held its first National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People With Disabilities. But despite those events, SAG's most recent casting data report, tracking 2007-08, shows that the industry still does not collect data on working actors with disabilities. In a written statement, the union added that these actors remain "virtually invisible" in entertainment media."

        So there are clearly some big problems despite the positive work being done.

        Notably, at least eight characters with disabilities on cable programs are portrayed by actors with disabilities:

        In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the character of Tyrion, a little person, won actor Peter Dinklage an Emmy;
        Character Walter White Jr. on AMC’s Breaking Bad has cerebral palsy, as does actor RJ Mitte;
        ABC Family’s Secret Life of the American Teenager features the character Tom Bowman, played by Luke Zimmerman, an actor with Down syndrome, and Tom’s girlfriend Tammy, played by Michelle Marks, an actress with a developmental disability;
        The character Thor Lundgren on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie has diabetes and a prosthetic eye, a storyline inspired by Stephen Wallem, who plays Thor;
        ABC Family’s Switched at Birth features three characters with disabilities: Emmett, played by Sean Berdy, and Melody, played by Marlee Matlin, who are both deaf, and Daphne, played by Katie Leclerc, an actress with Ménière's disease.

        Problematically, all of the above characters are white as are the characters listed in the GLAAD survey. Race and ethnicity is another big area of underrepresentation and discrimination in casting.

        In the end this is a serious problem and it is not just about who is portraying the character. We simply need PWD to be shown accurately on TV and in the movies, period. We are practically invisible! When we are not given representation commensurate to our numbers, it feeds into the idea that we do not exist and do not deserve rights or attention. Increased visibility can lead to change across the board in so many ways, but change starts in casting when people let down the barriers and decide that actors with disabilities can do the job.
        In our world constituted of differences of all kinds, it is not the disabled, but society at large that needs special education...to become a genuine society for all. -Frederic Major, Former UNESCO Director General

        Comment


          #19
          One of the regulars on Glee has downs syndrome, and there have been a few other actors with downs in various episodes. And the actress Ali Stroker from the Glee Project was in an episode, it was left somewhat open ended to where we may see her again.

          Not in the US, but actress Cherylee Houston in the UK has EDS like me and was the first disabled actress to be a regular character on the long running soap Coronation St. I believe she got the part completely outside anything to do with her or the characters disability, but she does use a chair full time and its been briefly mentioned in episodes that the character suffers the same disability as Cherylee. I watched a bunch of episodes and was pleasantly surprised at how little to do with her disability or being in a chair was present.
          Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

          I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by NikkiMaya View Post
            I actually agree with Scorpion re the blackface reference and I thought he/she made some really great points as well. I think the situation for actors with disabilities is really bad, and there should be way more access and job opportunities. Overall, I thought Stephen's post was excellent also. The blackface reference was the one place he lost me.
            When I first became aware of the story the notion of modern day blackface sprang to mind almost immediately. I referenced it in a comment on FB and I was concerned that someone might find the comparison off-putting. I was surprised later to find that the same comparison was occurring to many people independently. I take some reassurance that I wasn't completely off the map or off my rocker in using it. Google "Ironside" and "blackface" and you'll discover that a consensus of sorts finds agreement with this analogy. This may leave you no more persuaded that the reference was apt, but mine was a shared reflex.

            This thread was moribund until last night. I'm glad it got noticed and I have enjoyed and have been enlightened by everyone's comments. Thanks!
            stephen@bike-on.com

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by Scorpion View Post
              I do see the root cause, and I'm not sure how you read my post and surmised that I don't. That's part of the education and enlightenment I was saying Hollywood needs; wanting name recognition isn't justification for not hiring an actor who's disabled (though the bean counters would say it is), it's just one of a myriad of reasons, some justifiable, some not.

              Another part of the education and enlightenment is making Hollywood realize that a disabled character can be more than just an inspiration or a villain, and a disabled character can just be a character, with little or no acknowledgement of his or her disability.
              Fair enough! My apologies, I wasn't sure if you did or not. And I agree, it would be nice to have a character that is ''just'' a character.

              Originally posted by NikkiMaya View Post
              Problematically, all of the above characters are white as are the characters listed in the GLAAD survey. Race and ethnicity is another big area of underrepresentation and discrimination in casting.
              Evidently the industry hasn't quite caught on to the whole concept of intersectionality.

              Comment


                #22
                Shit. I have a major girl crush lol

                Originally posted by NikkiMaya View Post
                Twistties brought up an important point. There aren't any blockbuster Hollywood stars that made their name post-injury or illness, and I think it is unacceptable to argue that PWD should be passed over continually because they have no name recognition. This is self-perpatuating cycle that can feed on discrimination.

                In the end this is a serious problem and it is not just about who is portraying the character. We simply need PWD to be shown accurately on TV and in the movies, period. We are practically invisible! When we are not given representation commensurate to our numbers, it feeds into the idea that we do not exist and do not deserve rights or attention. Increased visibility can lead to change across the board in so many ways, but change starts in casting when people let down the barriers and decide that actors with disabilities can do the job.
                "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castaneda

                Comment


                  #23
                  There was a show in '89 called Life Goes On. The lead actor was a young man with Down's Syndrome (Chris Burke) playing a character named Corky. The show was, for its time, quite groundbreaking in its portrayal of disabilities such as Down's and life with HIV. Chris himself is quite the writer, and has been a professional editor.

                  I was reminded of the attitude of some of the people that time when, a few weeks ago, I read a letter in which Andrew Schroeder, a patent lawyer, expressed his displeasure at the US Patent and Trademark Office and used the term "Corky" as a slur while insulting the intelligence of the USPTO official who declined a patent he applied for. I do remember hearing that slur used by some juvenile idiots (Mr. Schroeder was only 16 at the time the show aired) 20-some-odd years ago, but I had thought we as a society had moved on and grown up (at least a little).

                  Twenty years ago, Rodney King was testifying in court about his experience with the police. Last year, shortly before his death, he made this statement to the L.A. Times:
                  "I sometimes feel like I'm caught in a vise," he said. "Some people feel like I'm some kind of hero. Others hate me. They say I deserved it. Other people, I can hear them mocking me for when I called for an end to the destruction, like I'm a fool for believing in peace."

                  "It changed things. It made the world a better place."
                  Twenty years before that, Mark Essex, after two years of "relentless" racial abuse in the Navy, killed nine people in a revenge spree killing. "His black friends tried to explain to him that racism in the military was just a bitter pill that he had to learn to swallow".

                  And twenty years before that, Christine Jorgensen "went abroad, and came back a broad". She was later denied a marriage license because, as a transexual, her original birth certificate listed her as male.

                  So I guess attitudes do change, are changing. I do know from personal experience that those of us with PTSD are no longer treated the way Patton treated his soldiers.

                  Personally, I don't mind AB actors portraying any character, AB or not. I am not offended by cross-cultural or cross-racial or cross-sexual casting. I think of the director as an artist interpreting a piece of art. If it is done respectfully, and not in the attitude of former times that insisted that only the "right" sort of people could act or would be acceptable actors to general audiences, then it is fine by me.
                  Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    The Curious Case of Gayface - Should straight actors play gay roles?

                    Interesting discussion, similar to the one we've had here but with regards to the LGBT community...

                    It’s true that such a race-based list would at least raise eyebrows, if not inspire outright anger, due to the ever-present specter of blackface. But does this provocative comparison really hold up? Does “gayface” really deserve to be placed in the same awful category as racial impersonation, and if not, what makes it different?
                    . . . in terms of acting, we’re really talking about a set of behavioral traits, interests, or “mannerisms”—the stuff that’s meant to set off a well-tuned gaydar. But that’s not a great definition either, because there are plenty of gay people who pass for straight, could pass for straight if they wanted to, and/or reject the so-called stereotype. And then there’s the somewhat controversial argument (which I espouse) that “gay” is really a specific cultural attitude that one must study and ultimately choose to wear atop one’s innate homosexuality. So that’s three definitions of gay, and there are plenty of others—I do not envy the straight actor who is asked to sort them out for himself.
                    [Full Article]

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by Scorpion View Post
                      Interesting discussion, similar to the one we've had here but with regards to the LGBT community...





                      [Full Article]
                      A gay Actor has the choice to play a straight role. A disabled actor does not have that "range".

                      Actors in chairs need to be advocated for giving them the roles in chairs if they meet all the other casting criteria.

                      Larry Sapp has been addressing this for years.. seems he isnt getting much help or support here with only 90 likes. https://www.facebook.com/DontShootIronside?fref=ts
                      "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castaneda

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by sherocksandsherolls View Post
                        A gay Actor has the choice to play a straight role. A disabled actor does not have that "range".
                        True, but it's still similar in the sense that some people in the LGBT community think that only someone who's LGBT should play an LGBT role, as some in the disabled community think only someone who's disabled should play a disabled role.

                        Larry Sapp may only have 90 "likes" on his Facebook page because demanding that disabled roles only be filled by disabled actors isn't a realistic or effective plan of action, in my opinion.

                        I want to see actors w/disabilities in lots more roles, not just roles written specifically as a disabled person either.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Nobody's really answering my questions from earlier, so I'll re-post them in a bulleted list for easier reading.

                          I'm just wondering, if we're going to demand that disabled actors be cast for characters with disabilities, where is the line drawn?
                          • Can a para play a quad?
                          • Can a high quad play a guy with ALS?
                          • Can a quad or a para play a guy who was born with CP?
                          • Can a person born with Spina Bifida play a character who was paralyzed in a car accident?
                          • Can a person with MS play a quad who was paralyzed by gunshot?
                          • Can someone paralyzed by Transverse Myelitis play someone who got an SCI by diving?
                          • Should 'The Walking Dead' have re-cast Hershel with a real-life amputee after the character's leg was hacked off to save his life?
                          • Should Joe on "Family Guy" be voiced by an actual paraplegic?
                          • Should "House" have had a guy with a real limp from the same medical issue (I forget the name of the issue that caused his limp and pain) as the character portray Gregory House, MD?
                          • Should Professor X be portrayed by a real para in the X-Men movies, even though he's been both able-bodied and disabled at various points in the film franchise (and comics)?

                          Comment


                            #28
                            that's a bit of good questions.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Has anybody ever seen Oz on HBO? Always liked this guy on lost. Wondering how his acting was on Oz.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by Southpaw View Post
                                Has anybody ever seen Oz on HBO? Always liked this guy on lost. Wondering how his acting was on Oz.
                                Geez, I don't really remember him that well on Lost. I will never forget his acting on Oz.
                                The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
                                --General George Patton

                                Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
                                ––Paul Nussbaum
                                usc87.blogspot.com

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