Mixed feelings as usual on these "supercrip" stories

This video is making the rounds right now, portraying Mariah Slick, a high-school senior with Down syndrome who was crowned the homecoming queen at her high school in Texas.

I have some very mixed feelings about this story. Not about the event itself or about Mariah -- hey, you go girl! -- but about the media portrayal.

First, the reporting itself seems somewhat patronizing. There's no interview of Mariah, just footage of the event and an interview of a typical peer who says that she's a great person, because they have a class together and "she calls me by my first name" (what?). There's nothing about Mariah's talents or interests. It doesn't actually commend her on anything she herself has chosen to do in life, giving the impression that she's only a neat person because she has a disability. I'd love to hear more about her -- what she thinks of her high school and her social life, what interests her.

Second, this always brings up for me the overall media trend of the supercrip phenomenon. This particular young woman is being noted in the media mainly because she "overcame" the discrimination that people with disabilities face, and she managed to be successful within the model of how nondisabled people are supposed to be. I've gathered from the quick snippet that she has enough cognitive and academic ability to attend high school without being substantially separated from nondisabled peers, she manages to be conventionally stylish and attractive, managed to have good social skills, managed to "fit in" in her high school.

While all this is pretty cool, and I'm guessing took a lot of work on her part, where is the media coverage of the people with disabilities who face tons of discrimination and don't manage to be "just a normal kid?" I'd like to see media coverage about people with disabilities that isn't "heartwarming. The only time we do see such a thing is when someone is trying to illustrate how much a particular aspect of the social services system is failing someone, and that isn't what I mean either.
 
I'd love to see a slice-of-life piece that balances out this story about Mariah Slick. Say, a story about  someone with Down syndrome who experiences life as happy and stable, but hasn't been successful in making friends, didn't have access to an education that really met his/her needs, has mannerisms that most of society doesn't find attractive, and has made an informed choice to stay in the house most of the time fixated on one activity. This hypothetical person should be just as valuable in our society as Mariah Slick, yet I had to make up such a person because we aren't seeing any portrayed in the media. These people are invisible.


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