Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

uncwstorytelling.org

People who have disabilities, particularly physical ones, face what some social justice activists call “ableism”.  Disability Research Scholar Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock defines the term as “a cultural discourse that stigmatizes and marginalizes bodies deemed not normal through medical diagnosis”. 

UNCW Associate Professor Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock examines emodiment questions and stigma surrounding disabilities.
Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress

When you think about disability and how you define it, what comes to mind?  A child who doesn’t learn through conventional methods?  An older person who struggles to get groceries from the car to the front door?  Do you imagine a person in a wheelchair? 

One disability researcher says our binary view of ability or lack of it is misguided; ability spans a spectrum from Olympic-level athleticism to death – and we’re all somewhere on that spectrum.  On this edition of CoastLine, we explore how we look at disability and what impact those views have on all of us.