Diversity and Inclusion
There’s an easy and fulfilling way to self-educate about disabilities and the diverse experiences of people that have them.
Deliberately select your books, shows, articles, podcasts and other media so you can learn about people different from you in the flow of your own life.
Kodak Projector by Poettier Vásquez Smith via Behance.
Since diversifying your media is a ‘choose your own adventure’ sort of project, you can align the formats you choose with your usual hobbies and media interests and broaden your knowledge in a sustainable, ongoing way. Perhaps most fascinating, experts say that seeking out people-driven stories and accounts actually increases how empathic you are, even if they’re fictional!
If you’re still not convinced, take a cue from Bill Gates, who advocates for reading and selecting your media carefully. He believes that successful people have to work to maintain their empathy, step out of their bubbles and get up close with the experiences and realities of others.
So, here are some starting resources that we love and that offer a glimpse into a variety of life experiences of people that have one or more disabilities.
I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much by Stella Young (TEDxSydney Talk)
How Autism Feels, From the Inside | Op-Docs from NYTimes on YouTube
I’m Deaf, But I’m Not… from Buzzfeed on YouTube
Disability Visibility hosted by Alice Wong
Ouch – the cabin fever podcast from BBC Sounds
Inclusive Growth Show hosted by Toby Mildon
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is a science-fiction novella which explores moral and ethical themes around the treatment of people with mental disabilities
Pages I Never Wrote by Marco Donati is an LGBT young adult (YA) romance about a young man with dyspraxia who has trouble writing but dreams of penning a book
House Rules by Jodi Picoult is about a teen with Asperger’s syndrome and his struggle with his family, the law and his disability
Stronger (2017) is a biographical drama about a man who experiences limb loss
Unrest (2017) is a documentary about a woman living with Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
Away (2020) is a space-travel Netflix series that explores how characters with different disabilities interact with their environment and develop as teams (we learned about it in this great Forbes article)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby is an account of the journalist’s life before and after a stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome
I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present by Cerrie Burnell is an illustrated and kid-friendly celebration of the diversity of people with disabilities and their great accomplishments
The Little Big Things by Henry Fraser, the philosophical journey of a young man who was paralyzed in an accident at age 17
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School and disability rights activist
How long Covid forced me to confront my past and my identity by Kathryn Bromwich in which she reflects on how long Covid pulled a disability, a health condition and trauma into the open
The best $1.75 I ever spent: Hand sanitizer that allows me to exist in public by Kelly Dawson. Dawson has cerebral palsy and finds a product that, in a world that excludes her, helps her, “fight her way in”
I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi is a collection of essays about how Nigerian-American Ikpi navigates her life with bipolar II disorder
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon is the output of a ten-year project exploring compassion and how families accommodate children with physical, mental and social differences, Winner of The Wellcome Book Prize 2014
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong is a literary anthology offering a glimpse into the complexity of lives and communities living with disabilities
The Body Is Not an Apology features various contributors united under the mission of “radical self-love for everybody and every body”
Leaving Evidence by Mia Mingus, a writer, educator and trainer for transformative justice
Chloe Tear is an award-winning British blogger sharing her experiences navigating the world of education, employment and everything else to do with life as a young person with disabilities
Sticker by @meirha.
And then what? Make a habit of self-education. Go wherever the next story is, swap recommendations with your friends and colleagues, or perhaps join a discussion online.
True, watching one TED Talk won’t make you a disability rights activist. But as your understanding, empathy and observations develop, you’ll find you can make the small changes, start the small conversations and amplify the unheard voices.
This can lead to a long-overdue shift in society that has historically excluded and simplified the rich experiences of people with disabilities. All you have to do to start is tap into the stories that are waiting for you.
Each week, we dip into the unanswerable, nuanced and gray areas of inclusion and offer, not answers, but inklings.
This resource was taken from our Inclusion Works programme, which was created with a network of more than +100 diverse contributors and advisers. We learn from, amplify and cite creators of different races, ethnicities, genders and cognitive styles and continually work to represent all dimensions of diversity.
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