Thursday, August 21, 2014

Are you a jerk to people with disabilities without even knowing it?

Alex Brooker provides color-commentary on this unfortunate fellow, who feels a need to bend down to talk to a wheelchair user. Photo courtesy of Scope.

People with disabilities are the targets of a shocking amount of outright cruelty; the rate of violent assault against people with disabilities is triple that for the non-disabled. But even more common are everyday indignities borne more out of ignorance than malice: hearing people trying to talk to deaf people by talking very loudly and slowly, non-wheelchair users leaning forward to talk to wheelchair users, etc.

With that in mind, Scope, a British group which advocates for people with disabilities, has partnered with the advertising firm Grey London and TV presenter Alex Brooker to make a clever series of ads meant to help non-disabled people avoid being awkward (and, you know, actively offensive) when interacting with people with disabilities. They also devised a quiz to test if you learned literally anything at all from the campaign (pro tip: if you're trying to chat up a woman who uses a wheelchair, the correct move is not "ask her what medal she won in the Paralympics").

One thing the videos don't really cover is language; the National Center on Disability and Journalism has a great guide walking through what terms to use ("person with disabilities," "wheelchair user," "non-disabled," etc.) and avoid ("disabled person," "wheelchair-bound," "able-bodied," etc.).

Hat-tip to David Griner at AdWeek.

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