As I wrote about the job discrimination ads last month for Al Jazeera America, I kept thinking about the hashtag #ILookLikeAProfessor and Kelly J. Baker’s work. My thesis is that the inadvertent part of this was based, at least in part, on people who had just never considered that a disabled person might be able to be a professor. So I put out a call for disabled professors who would be willing to speak to me about their accommodations and tried to write a positive piece about potential, even as I also pointed out the structural issues. I concluded:
“As long as our common image of the professor remains white, male, straight, well-off, and abled, people outside that circle will encounter both structural and direct discrimination. It’s an image that’s increasingly inaccurate. Disabled academics — like academics from so many other diverse communities and claiming so many types of intersecting identities — are here. They’re working hard. And when they receive institutional support, they’re thriving. Let’s work on making that the new normal.”
With thanks to Stephanie Kerschbaum Joe Stramondo Heide Estes and Brian Kruse for their kind assistance, as well as the many other people who kindly contributed their experiences but who I didn’t quote directly.