Workplaces, universities and advertisements all strive for diversity. They typically fail, because of one omission: people with disability. In fact, a report released yesterday that examined 900 films found that just 2.7% of all speaking characters were depicted with a disability—although 18.7% of the U.S. population identifies as having a disability.
This lack of diversity is glaring to parents like me, who have children with disability, as well as people with disability, I'd imagine. And so, when I come upon full-fledged diversity, I get gleeful, like I did when I saw the cute blonde grinning on the cover of one of the latest Kohl's catalog. "I didn't even notice that one of the kids on the front cover has DS until about the third time picking it up," says mom Susan Osborn Hoyt, who shared the photo on Facebook. "This is inclusion." Put another way, this is equality.
Inside the catalog, there's a young woman modeling clothes who also has Down syndrome.
While there's been a slight uptick in recent years of youth with disabilities in catalogs, including Target's and Nordstrom's, and on the runway, too, it's still not the norm. Someday, hopefully, it will be standard practice to include children with disabilities in ads, on TV, in movies—and everywhere. Someday, hopefully, workplaces and universities will also be truly diverse. For now, I'm glad to give credit where it's due and encourage more, more, more.
And so: Thank you, Kohl's. Keep it up!
Speaking of which: Wouldn't it be even more awesome and diverse if there were a couple of kids with disabilities of various kinds on your cover next time, plus more inside the catalog, too?
Also: Add that diversity to your website? Like, hint, the homepage?
Not to be ungrateful or anything. But: DIVERSITY!
Word to other companies: Hellllooooooooooo.
Image: Susan Osborn Hoyt