Mistakes Happen—What You Do Next Matters

You might have the best of intentions, but you can be accidentally offensive or innocently insensitive. We’ve all done it. It’s what we do next, after the mistake or misstep, that shows who we really are.

I saw this image on Instagram and wanted to share it. I traced it back to the original source—because we should always do that if we can. Giving credit where credit is due is worth a little sleuthing because creating beautiful pictures and thoughtful graphics takes work. I found the artist’s page and read what she wrote to accompany the graphic she created. I nodded in agreement with her sentiments about treating people with love and respect, and about checking our privilege and biases and just being better. Amen girl. 

*Posted with permission from @ARTBYBIANCAGA

If I hadn’t looked for the original content, I wouldn’t have seen the author’s EDIT. In this simple addition to her post she demonstrated her commitment to listening and learning. Isn’t this what we’ve all be vowing to do? To listen and learn and change by accepting feedback with an open mind and a gracious heart? 

When we admit that we didn’t know what we didn’t know, we grow. Yeah, that’s some unintentional poetry right there, but you get the gist. Reacting defensively doesn’t get us anywhere. 

This is her EDIT: “It’s been brought to my attention that I could improve my piece in a few places. First, the puzzle graphic for neurodivergence is not a symbol members of the community feel most represented by, and would benefit from being changed. Second, I should’ve written “people with disabilities” rather than “different abilities”; though my intentions were pure, the first option is the better way to do so. I wanted to include this because I am grateful to those helping me learn to be better, and wanted to relay that information to others as well!”

Now that’s a grateful and constructive response don’t you think? She listened to feedback from people who I assume have a personal understanding of these communities. She learned and made the appropriate adjustments. No excuses. No, “But what I meant was’s….” Just positive change. 

This is her revised graphic.

Like Bianca, I’m trying to learn (and unlearn) about Black lives of which I know less than I thought.

I’m also continuing to learn more about all the communities in Bianca’s graphic. And though I’m an ally in the disability and neurodivergent communities (as the parent of a child with developmental disabilities), I’m no expert. There’s always more to learn about and advocate for. I have a lot to say about this—in particular, what I’m learning about the ever evolving language, symbols, and etiquette in the disability world. I’ll share soon.

In the meantime, listen, learn, change. xo 

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