I was so pleased with Glee's portrayals of people with special needs in the episode Wheels ... and then last night's episode thread about a competing Glee club from a Deaf school dripped patronizing treacle. Blech.
Meloukhia already wrote what I would write so I'll just quote (big lift, but it's a long post citing multiple fails, and this is from the end):
"Glee is finally allowing us to see the Deaf choir performing, I may have to give them some points for trying even though they are doing it very badly.Note: I copied this post - sans Double Facepalm magic - from a comment I made on my original BlogHer Glee post.
"And then, to my shock and horror, someone from the glee club started interrupting the Deaf choir to sing. Ok, now, I have not sung in a choir, but I consulted a real live person who has performed in choirs, and I was informed that, no, it is not actually conventional or acceptable to interrupt a choir while they are performing.
"Why was it ok here? How was it inspiring to watch the Deaf choir’s performance being interrupted and co-opted by the glee club? Because the Deaf choir were doing it wrong? Because “the poor impaired folk need normal people to fill in their defects,” as Lauredhel said when we were chatting about this episode?
"I wasn’t inspired or moved by watching the two choirs perform together. I was PISSED. Because it was framed as perfectly acceptable for the glee club to just jump in on another performance. And for this to turn into a Special Learning Experience, look at how they can all sing together and be happy! Yes, folks, totally erasing people with disabilities and not allowing them to perform is Inspiring! [emphasis mine -SR]
"The Deaf choir has been a running joke in this series. (Because everyone knows that Deaf folks can’t sing, or dance!) And now, in the scene where we finally had a chance to see them performing, they were treated with complete disrespect and condescension. They were framed as a failure, until the nice glee club came in and rescued them. But, you know, nice try, Deaf choir!
"Incidentally, check out Gallaudet Dance if you want to see actual Deaf people actually performing and being amazing in the process."