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#acceptance

Black Disabled: our place in Hollywood and Mainstream Media

Latrea Wyche/Contributing Writer

This article came from two very different places: one, me sitting at home watching a program on BET called “Black Girls Rock.” While watching this show I began thinking, why is there no representation of African-American women with disabilities, or just African Americans with disabilities period represented in mainstream media or in Hollywood. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. As an African-American woman with a disability, I want to see all aspects of me represented – and this includes in the mainstream media and Hollywood.

Sometimes I feel that African-American Hollywood events are not welcoming of African-American people with disabilities. By not actively promoting that African-American, disabled actors to play character roles of a disabled person, Hollywood continues to give an inaccurate representation of African-Americans with disabilities and takes away jobs from African-American actors with real disabilities. For example, Ray: The story of Ray Charles, Ray Charles was played by Jamie Foxx who did a wonderful job, but why couldn’t the director find an actual African American blind actor to play the part? think about how much more realistic it would have been because you would have received the experience first hand of what a blind person in the music industry deals with verses a representation of a blind person.

To me that like choosing a caucasian to play a role that was meant for an African American actor, a caucasian person has no idea what’s it is like to be black just like an able body person has no idea what it’s like to be disabled. Think of the little African American disabled children that seeing someone that looks like them on the screen, which gives them hope that it could be them one day.

My second reason for writing this article is, the feeling like I am not accepted by my culture because I am disabled. which would explain why there is no representation of African Americans with disabilities in mainstream media or Hollywood, because we are not accepted in our own culture. This not me having a pity party for myself as some would think or me feeling sorry for myself. The above statement is based on my first-hand experience and not just my experience but the experiences of many African Americans with disabilities. When I make statements like that, I usually get “don’t lump us all in the same category” or my personal favorite “some may not understand disability,” it’s 2020 we all have resources available at our fingertips to educate ourselves about various disabilities, not understanding is no longer an excuse.

Latrea Wyche

IG: CoachLatrea

Facebook: Latrea Wyche

coachlatreawyche@gmail.com

Autism and Advocacy

By: April Green/Senior Editor

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less. A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

The Importance of Autism Advocacy

Autism awareness and advocacy are important for so many reasons and needs to be a 365-day a year conversation, and not just during Autism awareness month every year during the month of April. The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 54 children in the United States live with ASD, with boys being nearly five times more likely to be autistic than girls. Now more than ever there is a need to help fight for the betterment of those who live with and are affected by the dynamic of autism. Autism advocacy and awareness helps us strive to meet the overall needs of the autism community. This includes the need for the standardization of care, and the need for more job opportunities for those who live with autism.

As a community, it imperative that we advocate for autism and help those who live with autism learn how to advocate for themselves. One such person who is dedicated to helping those who live with autism learn how to advocate for themselves is autism activist Marcus Boyd. Marcus, who lives with autism, is a voice and advocate who enlightens, encourages, and gives hope, peace, and awareness to those living with or caring for someone living with autism.

When providing support Marcus uses an approach, where he assesses desired goals and builds mutual understanding and trust. He also helps those with autism and individuals that support them to achieve fulfillment and productivity. This is done by teaching the importance of self-advocacy, as well as by helping them understand what supports and accommodation they need. Marcus understands the struggles, pain, and emotional disconnect that you experience because you just want to be accepted. As an advocate, Marcus strives to use his voice and platform to make a difference in the lives of people impacted by autism. Marcus wants the autism community to know that they are not alone and they have someone that is standing in the gap for them.  

To learn more about Autism Activist Marcus Boyd check out his website at https://autismactivistmarcusboyd.com/ or on FB @ Autism Activist Marcus Boyd

April Green

www.exposure-magazine.com

Email: woogreen78@gmail.com

IG: 4aprilgreen

FB: April Green

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