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Let's Talk About Visibility And Invisible Disabilities

01/03/2017 08:29 SAST | Updated 01/03/2017 08:33 SAST

In general, a disability is often used to describe an ongoing physical challenge. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) an individual with a disability is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. Although we often think of disabilities as glaringly visible impairments that require our help, there are plenty of disabilities that are invisible and therefore more difficult to detect.

Annie Elainey highlights this problem by calling attention to the way people are represented in the media. She takes the time to shine a light on invisible disabilities and how the media has made no room for spectrums. When large groups of people don't often get the spotlight, this causes confusion and misinformation to be spread. Through her impassioned speech, she outlines a glaring problem with people calling for "social justice" when a person's disabilities don't line up with their preconceptions.

There are dense conversations happening right now about diversity and we should continue to have them. Yet, there's a distinction that needs to be made in our "fake news" era. Not everything that we call social justice actually qualifies. Social media has created an entitled generation who believes that they can serve as "social justice warriors" for whatever cause they try to pick up even if they don't often yield any meaningful results. Take the time to understand the other side.

We all need to address diversity and make a conscious effort to increase visibility for those who are underrepresented. Measure the risks of pursuing social justice, because it's not always as clear cut as it may seem.