After the Fiesta bowl halftime show, the internet went on a spree about a female college student playing the cowbells. She was dubbed "Sad cowbell girl". Why? Because her expression didn't change when the camera panned the band.
The video was passed around the internet, with comments mocking "sad cowbell girl". There was even a photo of her in "happier times".
And then, someone discovered that this student band member was blind.
The sarcasm continued. There were post headings such as "entire internet hangs head in shame" at Mashable and we are all monsters .
There were, however, no apologies for ignorance.
Had there been one of those inspirational type stories about this band member floating around, then that would have been how she was seen.
The sad thing about this is not cow girl's expression for that moment, but how people still relate to those with disabilities. People with disabilities are seen as inspirational in those genre stories, but it's still open field day when it comes to mockery for some people for what they don't understand. And here's the kicker- some remain ignorant, because when they commit a social mistake and act inappropriately, they feel it's appropriate to chalk it up to "Oh we didn't know".
There was no mention of how it's wrong to treat anyone, disabled or nondisabled, like that.
One writer said that the joke was on everyone because she was blind. That's not true. There's nothing funny about how people continue to distance themselves from those with disabilities to the extent that they can't recognize a blind person unless he or she has a guide dog - and certainly can't imagine a blind student would be in a band unless it's covered in the evening news.
And if it's not, their thinking runs, how on earth can they be expected to know any better?
Give me a break.