Disabilities, Illness, as an Identity

In thinking about the -isms associated with social inequities that we have been studying, I’ve been thinking about what is, what can we do, and what I can do, to promote equity across the -isms. Just thinking about it promotes a steep hill to climb. As I read about the different groups written about (African Americans, women, Jews, homosexuals), I began to have thoughts about what it might be like as a person that’s part of those various groups. But the thing is, each one of them is an identity, but it’s only part of one’s complete identity.

This video was shared with me which looks at how constructs such as an illness or disability becomes an identity. “Social acceptance is up,” Andrew tells us. But he finds that parents are the most accepting of children born with issues that challenge them, or society.

He calls for the acceptance for diversity in the areas of love and of family. For Andrew, becoming a father and parent helped him grow. I think a great place to begin looking is within our own lives. Whether we recognize parts of our identity that are oppressed, or other elements that give us an advantage in society, we likely know ourselves and our families best. By extension, as leaders I am beginning to realize how important it is to be ourselves (meaning – with the diversity that makes up our identity) and to be open, if not vulnerable, for who we are. That attitude and its related influence on others alone can help us to promote equity.


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