[FRC Blog] Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I)

Posted on the FRC Blog, 2/1/2022 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) | FIRST

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I)

Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics Competition has recently taken more steps forward in our work prioritizing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and I wanted to make you aware of them.

Reasonable Accommodations

For years, FIRST has supported making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Within the rules of the game, we had specific contexts in which the accommodations would be granted. Our intent, though, was to make reasonable accommodations generally at events, not just in certain contexts. So, we recently added a statement in Section 8 of the Game Manual and on our Event Experience webpage supporting this. If you or anyone else at an event needs accommodations, please speak with a volunteer!

Chairman’s Award

The current name of the top award in FIRST Robotics Competition, the Chairman’s Award, is binary. Working closely with our Chief Judge Advisors and the Hall of Fame teams over the summer and with the approval of the Board of Directors, we have developed a new name for this top award, the FIRST Impact Award. We will start to use this name in the 2023 season. This change will be made to the award webpages over the summer, and we will work with our IT team to update the portals as well. Teams who have previously won the Chairman’s Award will still see "Chairman’s Award” associated with their team. In 2023, the name of the award will be changed and will be used for teams who win the award in 2023 and the future.

Please note that this is a name change only. All other aspects of the award, including its centrality to FIRST Robotics Competition, will remain the same.

A big thanks to the Hall of Fame teams and Chief Judge Advisors for helping us work through this change!

Event Music Playlist

FIRST Robotics Competition has an official music playlist along with a ‘do not play’ list for events that is reviewed and updated every season. This past year, we reviewed the playlist with a stronger focus on inclusion. As a result, some songs have been moved from the playlist to the do not play list, including “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Jump On It.”

You can review our lists and see our music strategy on the FIRST Music DJs page. If you see songs on the playlist you think should not be there, please send an email to frcteamadvocate@firstinpires.org and it will be reviewed.

Not Done Yet

Our work in ED&I is an ongoing effort. The steps above are just that – steps in the right direction, not a conclusion to this work. We will continue our focus on this area and keep you informed of new developments.



Where did it come from? Who cares.

Where did it go? Away.

Thank goodness! :slight_smile:


The new name’s a bit on-the-nose, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing - at least it’s clear what the award is ostensibly for, now.


Does anybody know where the playlist and the do not play list are located? Or is it a double secret? Is there a petition for Baby Shark?

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http://firstmusicdjs.com/ bottom of page has the:

2021-22 FIRST 2022 Do Not Play List excel file

2021-22 FIRST Robotics Competition music guides and playlists.zip


Years in the making, so glad it is gone. :raised_hands:

I am sure something equally as annoying will find its way into the rotation, but imo, one small step at a time.


As its last dying gasp, Cotton Eyed Joe once again earworms everybody who reads the blog post (and this accompanying thread).


ED&I is all good until you want to listen to Korean music apparently, which is banned for being “korean”

This is still fair game it seems


My suspicion is they want to avoid DMCA claims. From my limited understanding BTS is pretty aggressive with filing claims.


Politics gonna politics.

EDIT: to be more specific, I assume there’s some issues related to the politics of Asia and not giving clear bias toward one particular political party. I’m not up on politics much though.

I’d have to assume the overlap of the venn diagram of “exports popular music” and “has political opponents” is a bit larger than just “Korea”. On the other hand… that list is pretty darn long already.

FIRST events generally run on VERY thin legal ice when it comes to music played at events anyways. I doubt BTS is their primary concern.

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I’m doubting its politics, theyre probably protecting the poor AV crew from retaliation from some karen who thinks only AMERICAN music should be played.


So is Metallica, but that’s not anywhere on the list (but I suppose Metallica hasn’t top 100ed in who knows how long)

On the flip side, their music strategy guide, specifically mentions international music:

I am very happy about the name change of the Chairman’s Award to the Impact Award. It’s more inclusive and better reflects and describes what the award is celebrating. For years teams have struggled to explain the Chairman’s Award to newcomers or from outside the program; having a much more descriptive name will definitely help.


I think it could also because they can’t properly vet the lyrics of a language they don’t speak - but they picked a bad time to just say “banned for being foreign” on the list…


I wonder if this “commitment to ED&I” will mean they also remove some of the songs from the DNP list that may have been judged unfairly. I have not checked the 2022 list in its entirety (I’ve gotta work sometimes), but it was pretty glaring to me in prior years that music from non-white artists (or genres traditionally popularized by BIPOC artists) seemed to be judged more harshly for ‘content’.

I hope that it was part of their review - not just adding more to the DNP, but reviewing what was already there to make sure it was appropriate. IMO, it would be super beneficial if they re-evaluated the entire list based on this new lens; though I get there are PLENTY of other things on people’s plates during this time of the year.

Please don’t get me wrong - I am really glad FIRST is taking a look at the things that are ‘tradition’ that actually exclude people. Good on HQ for a step in the right direction! (Selfishly, I am very happy that we don’t have to deal with the annoying dance songs. Keep that up!! )


TIL: Ukraine is a language.


Can we do the EI award next?