Stella Young on the problem of seeing people with disabilities only as a source of inspiration for non-disabled people

Australian, Stella Young debunks the myth of people with disabilities as objects of inspiration in a recent TED Talk. Aptly titled I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much, her talk addresses what she calls “inspiration porn”, or seeing the perceived value of people with disabilities only in relation to non-disabled people. As Young explains the problem, “we’re objectifying disabled people for the benefit of non-disabled people.” In addition to being a comedian and activist, Young is the editor of the online magazine Ramp Up, yet she says she’s “lost count of the number of times I’ve been approached by strangers wanting to tell me that they think I’m brave, or inspirational…long before my work had any kind of public profile. They were just kind of congratulating me for managing to get up in the morning and remember my own name.” Young’s entire TED talk can be viewed below.

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.