Ade Adepitan said he feels like in the past he and other people with disabilities are “fighting for their place in society” due to the community’s lack of representation on TV and other media.
The former Paralympic basketball player revealed this exclusion meant his parents weren’t supportive of his sporting career at first and they first found out he was competing at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics was when they saw him on TV during the opening ceremony.
The 48-year-old is now part of the lineup presenting the complete disability for Channel 4’s coverage of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which the broadcaster says is “the first in the world” bridge” for a “world-class sporting event”.
Adepitan told the PA news agency: “TV, social media, all forms of media are really important parts of the structure of society.
“They have to reflect who we are as a society and if you don’t see yourself in them, you don’t feel part of it.
“From my personal experience, before 2012, I felt like myself and other people with disabilities were really fighting for our place in society, we were really fighting to say that we deserve to be part of British society.
“Because you don’t put us out on billboards, you don’t glorify anything we do, you don’t have us on your Saturday night TV, you don’t include us in society. “
He explained that before the London 2012 Paralympics, he didn’t think the public knew about Paralympic sports and athletes or respected them.
The sports expert, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in east London, said he had never seen anyone like him on TV growing up.
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“TV when I was growing up was very niche, I saw mostly white middle-class people, mostly men, on TV. I intersect as a black guy with a disability and I have never seen any representation.
“I definitely feel excluded from mainstream society, I always feel like an outsider because I don’t see myself and that has the psychological impact of being new everywhere you go. .”
Adepitan also revealed that not having shows like Paralympic on TV has affected his family life as his parents disagree with his plans to pursue professional wheelchair basketball because of them. that he had “wasted his life”.
He admits that this led him to leave home at the age of 17 and not speak to his family for 10 years.
At the age of 27, he made his Paralympic debut in a game in Sydney 2000, revealing that his mother called him while he was at the opening ceremony to ask why she could see him on screen. Grandma’s TV.
Adepitan added that he’s “really proud” to now be part of the Channel 4 presentation team for the disabled, where he is hosting the daily highlight.
Hopefully it will change only a generation’s mind about Paralympic sport but also about the perception of people with disabilities.Ade Adepitan
He added: “I guess the real impact and impact of what we’ve done that we won’t really know for many years to come.
“But hopefully, it will only change the mindset of a generation of people about Paralympic sport but also about the perception of people with disabilities.”
The presenter said he feels Channel 4 is “setting the standard for other broadcasters in the world” and needs more progress.
“I think the commissioners, editors and broadcasters should try to create TV that represents society,” he added.
“You need more people with disabilities on mainstream shows, not just the Paralympics, the big shows on Saturday nights, holding our own shows.”
He added that there are so many people with disabilities that can take a spot on Channel 4’s Paralympics panel in a “second” meaning their talent must be ubiquitous across the show.
Ade Adepitan will present the Beijing Winter Olympics on Channel 4 from March 4-13.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/ade-adepitan-on-the-impact-disability-representation-can-have-on-society-41422151.html Ade Adepitan on the impact disability representation can have on society