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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Woodward

Video & Transcript: 20 Ways to Mitigate Implicit Bias

Hi I'm Stephanie Woodward with Disability Details giving you the details about disability rights, access, and life. Today we're talking about 20 ways you can mitigate your implicit bias against disabled people. Last week we talked about what implicit bias is and how it can impact disabled people in your community and businesses. So this week we're going to talk about how we can mitigate that implicit bias and make our communities a better place for everybody. So if you haven't made your new year's resolutions yet, you're in luck, I've got 20 for you and the best part is if you can't remember them that's okay, I've written them down for you and I put them in a blog post so just check that link below and you can find them, print them out, and take them with you wherever you go. And don't worry, once you hit the end, you could just go back to the top and start again and continuously work on mitigating your own implicit bias. So let's get started.

Number one hire more disabled people. Whether you're a leader of a business or a leader of your home you have space to hire disabled people. You can hire people on your team in your business or you can hire people as handy individuals around your home or to do crafts for the holidays.

Number two: pay disabled people at least the same amount that you would pay an able-bodied white man. It is no secret that in our country, able-bodied white men make more than most other people. More than women, more than people of color, and definitely more than disabled people, and I say "able-bodied" and not "non-disabled" specifically because if a white man has a invisible disability that he does not disclose and other people don't know about it, that may not be used to his disadvantage. He may not be discriminated against based on that factor, but for people who have visible differences or known differences, that is where pay gaps start making a difference. So in order to address implicit bias, actively pay disabled people what you know you would pay an able-bodied white man.

Number three: connect with disability led organizations and actively engage with them and when I say disability led organizations I don't mean organizations that serve disabled people that are led by non-disabled people. I mean check the board of directors, check the management and see if they're led by disabled people. There are a lot of organizations that say they serve disabled people but are led by non-disabled people. You should be actively seeking out organizations that are led by disabled people.

Number four specifically seek out candidates with disabilities. One of the number one things that I hear from businesses is that "I would definitely hire a person with a disability but no disabled people applied." Well, are you posting your job in places that disabled people would see them? Are you going to colleges that have a high population of disabled people? Post your jobs there. Post your jobs at independent living centers that serve disabled people.

Number five hire consultant with a disability to perform an access review of your workplace. If your workplace isn't fully accessible then you may not be attracting great candidates with disabilities because they don't want to work in a place that isn't welcoming to them. Let's say that you have a three-inch step to get in your front door. That can easily be addressed and you can attract more people with physical disabilities. Let's say you have a terrible health package that doesn't really cover people with mental health disabilities. Is there a way that you can work to address that to ensure that more people with mental health disabilities want to come to work for you because they know that not only will they have a great work environment but they'll get a health package that will cover them as well? These are all things that can be addressed in an access review. Access reviews don't have to be just about physical accessibility, they can be about programmatic accessibility and more.

Number six: host events in accessible spaces. Whether you're having a birthday party or you're hosting an event for your political candidate that you want to win that race or you're having a holiday party for your work, you want to make sure that everybody can come and remember that the space itself shouldn't just be accessible but also the parking, the route to the space - which includes the sidewalks to get there, but perhaps even thinking about public transportation to make sure the people who don't drive can get there, and also the bathrooms.

Number seven: have a reasonable accommodation policy and be very open about it. If you run a business, you should have a reasonable accommodation policy and let your employees know about it and how to request a reasonable accommodation. Or you could just be an individual and let your friends know that you have a personal reasonable accommodation policy. It could be just as simple as saying "hey if I invite you somewhere but the lighting doesn't work for you because of your disability, please let me know or suggest different place, or just let me know that place doesn't work and I can look into a different place for us to go because I want to hang out with you and it doesn't matter where we go as long as we can go together."

Eight: follow 50 new disabled people or disability led organizations on social media. This can be life-changing and it can be really hard because you're gonna learn a lot about yourself in the process. You may learn that you've held ablest beliefs that you weren't aware of. You may learn that you have been a huge fan of inspiration porn and that that's not really okay. But you're also going to be mitigating your bias along the way and it's going to make us all a better community together.

Nine: watch Stella Young's "I'm not your inspiration thank you very much" it's a great TED talk and I'm gonna link to it below.

Number 10: read the American Bar Association's Disability Implicit Bias Guide and I'll link to that too.

Number 11: mentor people with disabilities. People with disabilities want to succeed in life and can succeed in life but one of the things that we need is successful mentors with and without disabilities who believe in us and will help us get ahead. You can be a mentor to us so just reach out.

Number 12: just as much as we need mentors, we are valuable as mentors. You can learn a lot from us. So find yourself a mentor with a disability and commit to learning from your mentor.

Number 13: google the term "inspiration porn" and then commit to not promoting inspiration porn anymore.

Number 14: distribute images and stories that portray disabled people in positive ways and not inspiration porn ways. So whether that is distributing images of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic teams or maybe it is sharing a story about a great campaign ran by a disabled candidate or perhaps it is sharing the stories about the cool new diverse Barbies including the amputee Barbie and the new, reimagined wheelchair Barbies. These are great, positive ways to demonstrate disability without having inspiration porn.

Number 15: commit to going beyond compliance when it comes to disability access and inclusion. Don't do the bare minimum of whatever is required; always commit to going beyond compliance, whether that is in your own home or in your business or in the community. Always go beyond what is required and think about what will really make the community a real community what will make people feel really included.

Number sixteen: go to a meal or to coffee with disabled people and don't intentionally talk about disability. You can learn so much by just sitting down and talking to disabled people. You won't even have to talk about disability to learn so much about access, about discrimination, about policies that make inequality in our world, how you can be a better ally. Just by sitting down for a meal.

Number 17:confront your own biases aloud when you recognize one of your thoughts may be biased. It is not something that we may recognize immediately but it's something that we can work on and when we recognize it, we could stop ourselves and say it aloud and say "that is bias." "that's not true." "I need to rethink that." It could be as simple as thinking "oh people in wheelchairs can't play laser tag." "wait people in wheelchairs may be able to play laser tag. Why do I think they can't play laser tag?" Or "if there is a mass shooting it must be because the person was crazy." "Wait. Why am I blaming mental health disability? I shouldn't blame violence on disability. That's not true." Confronting our biases aloud can help us to recognize them and to change them.

Number 18: openly discuss your bias with others so they can explore their bias as well. Sometimes people can feel really uncomfortable confronting their own bias but when they talk about it with someone else it can really help them to break down their own barriers and recognize that they need to confront their own bias and it can help them take those first steps to doing it.

Number 19: when you hear a stereotype about people with disabilities, openly say the opposite. For example: if you hear "disabled people are lazy" then you openly say "disabled people work hard." If you read a news article that says "people with disabilities can't work" then you openly say "disabled people can work."

Number 20 listen to disabled people when we tell you about our experiences don't try to minimize or dispute our experiences. Instead, ask us how to be a better allies. We all need good allies in this world.

I hope this video has been helpful for you this week and that you are able to rewatch this and reread this list as often as you need it and share it with anyone that you think can benefit from it. If this has been helpful for you I hope that you'll click that like button below and subscribe to this channel where you can learn more about disability rights, access, and life. I'll see you next time.

© Stephanie Woodward, 2020. All rights reserved.

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