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GCPD > Publications > Overcoming Double Discrimination Overcoming Double Discrimination

This publication reflects the Council's ongoing commitment to minority populations, people of color and the issues surrounding these populations as people with disabilities.

Overcoming Double Discrimination

Defeating prejudices of ethnicity and disability

The color of your skin, the texture of your hair and the language from your lips capture your rich history. Unfortunately, prejudices sometimes keep others from understanding you and your background.

The same prejudices frustrate people with disabilities. Their abilities and contributions are often overlooked, whether they're at a job interview or in a classroom. But people of color with disabilities can face double discrimination and a double disadvantage in our society.

For years, people with disabilities and people of color have fought separately for their rights in society. Now that both groups have made significant progress, we must combine efforts to face the unique challenges of people of color with disabilities.

It all starts with you. You understand the challenges of misunderstanding or even discrimination. It's up to you to promote understanding within your ethnic or disability community and make opportunities available for people of color with disabilites as well as for yourselves.

The Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD) and asks your help to create awareness about the concerns of people of color with disabilities.

"It is important to honor our beginnings, to remember that we matter and that we have a place in this world that no one else owns."
-A Native American inspiration

Take action

  • Involve people of color with disabilities in your community organizations.
  • Evaluate your local churches and businesses for their sensitivity to people of color with disabilities.
  • Discuss with administrators the quality of education and opportunities that students of color with disabilities receive in your schools.
  • Invite speakers to your workplace, church, or organization to discuss cultural inclusion and disability issues.
  • Encourage your employer to adapt the work setting for people with disabilities
  • Employ people of color with disabilites

"People with disabilities have always been excluded from the bounty of our nation's resources. Minorities with disabilities, in particular, have been the most disenfranchised of the disenfranchised. It is time that we bring them into the fold as full, first-class participants in our society."
-Rev. Jesse Jackson

Council action

  • Awarding scholarships for conferences to people of color with disabilities
  • Sponsoring projects in urban and rural poverty areas
  • Representing cultural diversity and promoting inclusion in Council brochures, videos, displays, campaigns and speakers at workshops and seminars
  • Translating Council materials into Spanish and other accessible formats
  • Funding reseearch programs and developing solutions to the inequities faced by people of color within disability service delivery systems throughout the state
  • Educating members of ethnic and disability communities and organizing collaborative local and statewide efforts


dis'-a-bil'-i-ty, noun, a physical or mental impairment; may not always be visible or obvious; does not necessarily limit ability to love productively and independently.


"[People of color] are more likely to be poor and undereducated and to have fewer opportunites than other members of the population. ... It results from the cummulative effect of poor socioeconomic status and poor health that place minorities at greater risk of disability and at greater risk of not receiving needed services if they have a disability."
-Meeting the Unique Needs of Minorities with Disabilities" National Council on Disability