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The Intersection of Race and Disability: A Call to Action for DEI Practitioners

Confronting Systemic Inequities:

For DEI practitioners, the intersection of race and disability presents a critical opportunity to confront systemic inequities head-on. Black Americans with disabilities face compounded marginalization, often navigating both ableism and racism in their daily lives. A report by the National Disability Institute found that only 20.8% of Black individuals with disabilities are employed, compared to 39.4% of white individuals with disabilities. As activist and author Alice Wong states,

Disability justice is a revolutionary framework that centers the leadership of disabled people of color and queer and gender non-conforming disabled people".

By embracing this framework, DEI professionals can drive meaningful change that uplifts the most marginalized communities.

The Power of Collaboration:

Creating accessible and inclusive workplaces requires collaboration and allyship. DEI practitioners must actively engage with employees, community partners, and advocacy groups to build bridges of understanding and support. This involves listening to the lived experiences of marginalized communities, amplifying their voices, and working together to develop solutions that address their unique needs.

"Allyship is a verb, not a noun," emphasizes Keah Brown. It requires ongoing commitment, self-reflection, and a willingness to step aside and let marginalized voices lead the way.

Intersectional Approaches to DEI:

Effective DEI initiatives must adopt an intersectional lens, recognizing that individuals can experience multiple, overlapping forms of privilege and oppression based on their various identities. For Black Americans with disabilities, this means addressing both ableism and racism as interconnected systems of oppression. DEI practitioners must develop strategies that consider the unique challenges faced by this community, such as higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and healthcare disparities. This involves partnering with disability rights organizations, engaging in ongoing education and training, and advocating for policies that promote equity and inclusion at all levels of the organization.

Call to Action:

At Baker Consulting, we believe that DEI work is a professional responsibility and a moral imperative. Our READI2B framework equips DEI practitioners with the knowledge, tools, and support to drive transformative change. We offer comprehensive training programs, strategic planning services, and ongoing guidance to help organizations embed intersectionality into their DEI efforts. We also facilitate community partnerships and provide resources to support the personal and professional development of DEI practitioners. We invite you to join our community of changemakers, to learn from one another, and to collectively build a more equitable world. Reach out to us today to embark on this critical journey.


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