Last year many in the disability community were outraged that the producers of Glee chose an able bodied actor to play the role of Artie a wheelchair user. I blogged about my disappointment that with all of the talented wheelchair users in the world, the Glee producers could not find one person to cast in that role.
The producers of Glee have gotten the message and have cast Zack Weinstein, a wheelchair users in a role in the show. You can be introduced to Zack by watching this video below:
Watching the video, I can see that Zack Weinstein is a pretty cool guy. I would enjoy interviewing Zack and getting to know him better.
But Zack states in his blog post that he does not care if able bodied people are cast in the role of disabled people. I would only like to say to Zack that one day in the future I may agree with him. However, today it is important that barriers to people with disabilities come down. It is critical that people with disabilities be given as many opportunities as possible. Why?
Zack, please tell me the names of ten famous wheelchair users. Please tell me who your favorite wheelchair actors are? Can you name ten? Five? Three? Ask yourself why. How many famous politicians do you know who are wheelchair users? Ask yourself why.
A decade ago we could have said the same thing about gay actors. But then a few gay actors broke through and now there are more gay actors around. A decade ago we could have said the same thing about gay politicians. And now there are gay politicians. In the past few years gay Americans have been making great advances towards equality. However, disabled Americarns are left outside. Outside of Hollywood, outside of Washington and outside of many of the most important roles in our society.
Perhaps Zack, because of the opportunity that you currently have we will someday be able to name at least one famous wheelchair using actor. I sincerely hope so. Zack Weinstein : You are breaking down barriers and I wish you the best of luck in your career.