We make up the world's largest minority group.
Over one billion people or 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability. Yet, they still remain one of the most marginalized and forgotten about groups.
In the U.S., disabled people had limited legal rights until the 1990’s with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This 30-year-old document saw only a brief period of updates between 2010 and 2013. Comparatively, studies on disability legislation show that only 45 countries have anti-discrimination and other disability-specific laws. Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2020 documents abuses such as violence, discrimination, segregation, and unlawful detention of people with disabilities in 32 countries including Australia, Tanzania, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and the United States.
Access to education
Globally, only about 10% of children with disabilities are in school. Studies show that kids who are educated amongst their peers have a much higher success rate in school. Yet, in school settings, disabled children are still segregated from their able-bodied peers. Most of these structures, if they exist, lack the knowledge on how to include them in education planning and implementation. In some countries, legislation still declares certain categories of children to be ‘uneducable’, thus, refusing them any.
Spend time arming yourself or kids with the facts in order to make informed decisions.
Unemployment rates for people with disabilities are higher than for people without disabilities in every nation, often exceeding 80%. Disabled people are rarely seen as “worthy” contributing members of the workforce and even of consumption/consumerism. We perpetually promote cultures where we believe disabled people are incapable, incompetent, and unproductive in society. Spend time arming yourself or kids with the facts in order to make informed decisions.
Just over half of people with disability are unable to afford healthcare compared to about a third of people without disability. A multitude of reasons account for lack of accessibility such as, but not limited to, physically inaccessible barriers, limited knowledge in specialized services, and discrimination.
If a disabled person is a part of another marginalized group on top of their disability, accessibility becomes even more complicated. For example, Black disabled people are about half as likely to be treated for pain based on the highly untrue stigma that their nerve endings are less sensitive than white peoples. A staggering 30-50% of police brutality involves Black and Brown disabled people. NCTE’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reported that 39% of the 28,000 respondents had one or multiple disabilities-- from there we can assume a staggering percentage of those individuals either lack access to healthcare or when they seek it, face immense discrimination. We have seen time and time again, administrations such as Trump’s try to repeal federal protections of transgender individuals in healthcare.
Only a tiny fraction of the actors portrayed in disabled roles are actually disabled. At the rare chance they are represented; it is usually inaccurate, offensive, and destructive to disabled people in real life. Historically, disabled people have also been repeatedly subjected to mockery and harassment via the media. Consumerism rarely takes into account the disabled experience-- clothes, cars, household items, appliances, and so on, are not usually made for disabled people. Disability specific products, if they are made, are typically expensive and not covered by insurance. Disabled people seldom see themselves reflected in the media. The representation is just not there.
Nothing about us without us
The disability community is vast and made up of so many unique and beautiful individuals; Black, Brown, White, Indigenous, Latinx, Transgender, Gay, Straight, LGBTQIA+, young, old, middle-aged… there is no limit to the intersectionalities and multi-communities disabled folx experience. Some disabilities are visible, and some are not. The disabled experience can not be summed up in nine slides. Right now over a billion are currently living this experience. And what they need is an accessible future.
While we all have different needs, visibility, and accommodations, what we all have in common is living in an ableist world. - Julian Gavino
Sources: World Health Organization, United Nations, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch.