#CripTheVote and Dante: Priorities USA Cuts a New Ad Featuring Disabled Child of Color Speaking for Himself

This is the new Priorities USA ad – Dante. It features a young disabled African-American boy speaking directly to the camera about Donald Trump.

A few weeks ago, Priorities USA released the ad Grace, which features who nice white parents of a disabled child criticizing Donald Trump for making fun of people with disabilities. I wrote about the ad, here, for The Atlantic, praising the intent but concerned about disability stereotypes. I also spoke to Alice Wong, Dominick Evans, and Vilissa Thompson, three disability rights leaders on whom I rely on most heavily, to get their opinions. Here’s a few quotes:

Dominick: “It feels really exploitative to use this issue and speak about a disabled child and about disability and never include us in the discussion, at all.”

Alice said the parents framed their daughter as, “this vulnerable person who needs protection when disabled people have agency.”

Vilissa: “Disabled children’s images and stories are always used to evoke the sympathy feels among members in society.” The images used are almost always of white children. She said she understands why Priorities USA turned to a nice white family for this ad—they want to sway the hearts and minds of moderate, white voters who might be offended by Trump—but it “says a lot about what face is used to get to the hearts of America.”

Dante addresses all of these concerns, pretty much to the letter. The disabled child, a person of color, speaks for himself. There are no adults in the ad. I think he comes off as strong and independent, calling out Trump for his bigotry. #CripTheVote indeed.

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