Miss Deaf America at the Super Bowl, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
No? I didn’t think you would. She’s Rachel Mazique, and she is the currently reigning Miss Deaf America. She was invited to perform “America the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner” in ASL at Super Bowl XVII this past weekend in Indianapolis.
Are you scratching your head now, as I was, wondering how you missed that? Well, let me tell you why. You missed it because NBC chose to film (in close up) Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Kelly Clarkson instead as they simultaneously performed the songs in English.
Oh, no wait, they did manage to film the choir of children that were singing with Ms. Clarkson.
What does that say to the Deaf community that tuned in to watch because they had heard she would be performing? It certainly explains the lack of sign language interpreter during those two parts of the pre-game festivities…I guess they thought they had that little bit of THE LAW covered when they asked Ms. Mazique to perform.
I’ll tell you what it says. Your language is an afterthought. Your language interferes with the general public being able to gaze longingly at pretty celebrities whilst they sing. Your community is not legitimate in our eyes, so we invited her as a token gesture which has NO actual meaning.
Think this is wrong? Yeah, me too. If you click on the link here you can sign a petition demanding that the NFL and NBC offer an apology to Ms. Mazique and the Deaf/HOH community for this blatant snub.
Marlee Matlin tweeted about the ability of the camera people to capture M.I.A.’s rude gesture but not Ms. Mazique’s performance.
When we expected some beautiful sign language during the #SuperBowl National Anthem, we got instead a “sign” during M.I.A.’s rap. Ahem.