by Tre'vell Anderson
Originally published: July 19, 2016
When Hollywood discusses diversity, one community is often left out of the conversation: people with disabilities. Even in its most recent iterations, prompted by #OscarsSoWhite, differently-abled people in the industry seem unable to find a seat at the table.
A new study by the Ruderman Family Foundation revealed that, despite those with disabilities representing nearly 20 percent of the country’s population, about 95 percent of characters with disabilities on television are played by able-bodied actors.
“The protest and ensuing media frenzy ignited by the ‘Oscars So White’ campaign has shaped an ideology around diversity in entertainment,” actor Danny Woodburn, a co-author of the report, said in a statement. “This off-balanced idea of diversity has led to policy and even proposed legislation that has excluded people with disabilities. The Ruderman White Paper on Employment of Actors With Disabilities in Television is our attempt to bring perspective to inclusion, to reinforce access and an understanding of authenticity as an expression of what true diversity means and to finally let the least represented group in this medium be heard.”