[Perform-Talk] The Diversity Controversy

Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter bkpollpeter at gmail.com
Mon Feb 29 19:00:56 UTC 2016

I don't think disabled people in general are represented in the arts. Diversity began with color and then moved to sexual orientation and is now including gender identity. At some point, yes, perhaps the disabled community will be included as well. But not if we don't speak up and demand a presence, a part of the limelight.

I have maintained for years now that true change throughout history happened when artist made statements. Historically, especially in the last two centuries, it's when artist got involved and used their craft to express the issue that true change happened and grew and evolved.

Laws are great and necessary. Political involvement is an integral element in change. But to impact society, have change happen on a cellular level, it has happened by artist. Writers, actors, musicians, artist, etc. They make the most difference.

When we grow vocal and take our talent to the public, that's when they pay attention. That's when we gain a place at the table. No one will invite us. We have to invite ourselves.

I had the same thoughts last night as diversity was discussed, dissected and digested last night during the Oscars. What about disabled people? I thought. Where are the films about that? The documentaries? The advocates? And demonstrating the truth about disability. Not what non-disabled people think it is. We need to bring it to them. We need to make our presence known.

And BTW, I don't think blind people alone can make the most effective change. As a disabled community, we need to work in tandem. I'm not suggesting we merge with groups not espousing and upholding similar views on disability as the Federation. I know water-downing the message is always a concern, but organizations do exist with similar views. And what about individuals? Can you imagine the noise we would make if our ranks were plumped up with others in the disabled community? We could not be ignored then. We could not be relegated to the corner because we were just some fanatical minority. The Civil Right's movement gained steam when more people joined forces. This needs to be bigger than blindness if we want true, effective, wide-spread change.

I think PAD is poised to begin a movement. Bring our voice to the world in a much louder way.

Just my thoughts!


-----Original Message-----
From: Perform-talk [mailto:perform-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Darian Smith via Perform-talk
Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 12:20 PM
To: Performing Arts Division list <perform-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Darian Smith <dsmithnfb at gmail.com>
Subject: [Perform-Talk] The Diversity Controversy

Hi all,
  I’m sure some of us on this list watched the   Oscars last night and if not probably have heard much around the topic of diversity  in  Hollywood (or lack there of).
 One can easily say that there  is no shortage of truly talented actors, directors, producers, etc in the entertainment business and that their talents are not confined to the packaging it may be presented in.
 In other words, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and much of anything else doesn’t make the performer.
 Do you think that Blindness is represented at all? fairly? If you don’t think it is, do you believe there will be a time that Blindness is represented fairly? What do you think will need to be done to see that a blind person wins an academy award or a grammy or whatever award recognizes them at the pinnacle of their craft? ?  Do you think there will be a time that a blind person will be recognized for their ability and considered amazing because of their  natural talent?

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