Representing Disability at Prindle
“Representing Disability” was the focus of this year’s undergraduate ethics symposium at the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University on April 19 and 20, 2018. The symposium featured three keynote talks addressing the ethics of representing disability in the media, the workplace, and American culture. Of particular interest to the Putnam County community was a keynote talk by James Emmett, the owner and CEO at James Emmett Corporation, a disability inclusion consulting firm. His talk, “Moving Disability Inclusion from Charity to Business Imperative” highlighted the strategic significance of businesses recruiting individuals with disabilities as both customers and employees. According to Mr. Emmett, “Companies across the country have historically approached the disability community as a place of charity, but this is beginning to change. More and more companies are recognizing the customer and labor power of the disability community. Companies like Walgreens, Microsoft, Pepsi, and Amazon are building strategic disability inclusion efforts. These company initiatives are helping create an overall empowerment movement where the disability community is seen as a critical customer and labor market.” Mr. Emmett discussed strategies to support inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of business and will highlight the importance of addressing fear and stigma when creating a truly inclusive environment.
Keah Brown, a journalist and creator of the viral Twitter hashtag #DisabledAndCute, gave a rousing talk on the importance of media representation of people with disabilities. In her talk “This Is Where We Are Now,” Ms. Brown argued that “when we exclude people with disabilities from the important cultural conversations…we are effectively creating a world of half-truths and encouraging the damaging idea that the only worthy bodies are thin and non-disabled bodies.”
Kevin Timpe, the William H. Jellema Chair in Christian Philosophy at Calvin College, addressed the connections between philosophy and disability in his talk, “The Impact of (Some) Disabilities on Virtue and Well-being.”