Leo’s Letter: How Do We Overcome Bias?

Bias: it’s always there, in all its many pernicious forms, lingering right below the surface. You probably know that even better than I do.

Last month, Presidential candidate Kamala Harris was criticized for responding “Well said” with a laugh in reply to a supporter’s remarks describing President Trump’s actions with the R-word. As USA Today reported, “Harris seemed to condone what is considered an ableist slur.”

Bias – whether implicit or explicit – is always there.

Regardless of what we may see in terms of positive representation in inspirational media stories, inclusive television shows and movies, and advances in supports and services available to our community, bias nevertheless remains deeply embedded within our societal DNA.

In 2018, the World Health Organization reported that 15% of the world’s population has some form of a disability. The ways in which these people with disabilities are supported, however, varies greatly based on attitudes, economies, and the capacity of policy makers.

The United States does not have the economic or policy-making limitations of other countries, but our society still operations upon the assumption of inferiority and stereotypes.

Perhaps we need to address one piece of this mindset at a time in order to move forward. But without clearing the air of bias, our work toward fostering social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society will be continually undermined.

Join us as we work to overcome bias, and improve the quality of life of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism in Massachusetts.

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