Breaking Down Media Stereotypes of Persons With A Disability

If you are interested in going deeper on the topic of media representation of persons with a disability, Colin Barnes' report is an excellent jumping off point. He breaks down twelve commonly recurring media stereotypes. I noticed Dumbo fits a couple of the categories: Disabled Person as Object of Ridicule, Disabled Person as Pitiable and Pathetic, and Disabled Person as Super Cripple. 

He also attempts to "formulate a set of principles which will enable all those who work in the media eliminate disablist imagery and so redress the balance." For example, he nails Dumbo with this one: "Resist presenting disabled characters with extra-ordinary abilities or attributes. To do so is to suggest that a disabled individual must over compensate and become super human to be accepted by society."

Knowing and thinking through these common representations helps us guard against the media inappropriately shaping our own imaginations about persons with a disability. And for those of us who are creators, it's a good checklist to avoid disablist imagery in our own work.

Lots more resources in the Appendix as well.

Read the whole thing here.