Bewilderment. Unease. “A bit of a stretch.” “It just rubs me the wrong way.” Those were some of the reactions from focus group participants shown fake ads for products like laundry detergent and cereal that prominently featured people with a disability.
The public rarely sees people with a disability featured in popular media, leading a group of disability-focused organizations from Canada and the United States to publish an open letter calling on the media to be more inclusive of people with disabilities. Launching on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Tuesday, December 3, the campaign aims to change how people see disability by changing what they see in popular media. Currently, fewer than 3% of characters on North American television have disabilities and of these, 95% are played by able-bodied actors.