The #media and its reporting, portrayal of individuals with disabilities (obvious and non-obvious) is dismal.
Reporting of events having to do with pets or gory stories are prioritized over 15-30 seconds of reality from a disabled perspective.
** FACT: Stories with roles based on a disabled individual are not a part of TV shows/movies – As the The Ruderman Family Foundation White Paper states – 95% OF CHARACTERS WITH DISABILITIES ARE PLAYED BY ABLE-BODIED ACTORS
** FACT: Out of 8 events I organized – promoting acceptance, inclusion, awareness, parental empowerment — 2 received media coverage (greatly appreciate support from Natalia Rodriguez and Gaby Romero)
How to correct this?
- Don’t only report the tragic stories
- Marlee Matlin, Temple Grandin cannot be the only individuals with disabilities that will be referred to by the media – every community has its stars and they must be a part of the discourse
- Use language appropriate to the story — NO PITY!
- A weekly segment (TV and Newspaper) reporting the ins and outs of disabilities in all communities – NEEDED (reporting must include a novice or trained individual with a disability; thus opening the door to guarantee employment and fulfill ADA)
- CREATE a campaign – nationwide – clearly stating – Special Needs are not scary, Autism is not scary, Down Syndrome is not scary, Cerebral Palsy is not scary,etc… The masses must hear this clear and bold message from the news and the artists that appear in People Entertainment Tonight. Until this happens the disability community will remain ostracized and discriminated…
Enjoy my daughter telling Teacher Christopher Ulmer – Autism is not scary. Autism is a beautiful heart deep inside you. https://www.facebook.com/specialbooksbyspecialkids/videos/750678288367487/
- TV shows/Movies – disabled role must be played by a person with a disability (i.e.: my daughter created a video requesting Disney they create a TV program with a princess with #Autism – and she wants to play the role of the Princess)
As Danny Woodburn (actor) states – – “… complex and pervasive problem that will take a long time to remedy. However, it is imperative that we take steps in the right direction immediately with a few concrete practices.”
My daughter and millions are ready.
The Ruderman White Paper: Employment of Actors with Disabilities in Television
From the White Paper:
The Argument We ARE Making
Instead we believe that it is absolutely unacceptable to have 95% of cable and broadcast characters with disabilities played by actors without disabilities. It is a matter of social justice to have a large segment of our population authentically represented in the mass entertainment that is television and scripted, dramatized stories. It is necessary to create an environment where actors with disabilities have access to play characters with disabilities. It is also necessary to reduce stigma surrounding “invisible” disabilities such as mental illness. Only by having actors who are open about those disabilities will we slowly create a society that doesn’t shun or shame a vast segment of its population. We have to tell stories about people with a variety of disabilities and we have to be fair in representing them accurately. Only then will we have more realistic stories that reflect our society. We will not choose a number and say that this is how many characters with disabilities need to be played by actors with disabilities. But we are saying that it’s about time we start ensuring that it’s more than 5%.
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