A Powerful Example of Inclusion


A Powerful Example of Inclusion; Removng the Stumbling Block

There is an ad for Guinness beer that made the rounds a while back. It’s not your typical splashy display of barely clad women and flashy cars. Rather, a group of men are shown playing a game of wheelchair basketball. At the game’s end, all but one of the men leaves his chair, and together they go out for a beer.  Have you seen it?




There is a lot to like about this ad, in my opinion. Of course there are the overt messages of friendship and depth of character. But my favorite line is a seemingly throw away one. At the end of the game, as the men head off the court, the man who always uses a wheelchair comments, “You guys are getting better at this.”  This subtly, but effectively, demonstrates not only the ongoing nature of their playing together, but that the true athlete in this ad is the man who uses a wheelchair. His friends have yet to achieve his level of ability. Awesome.

I am genuinely impressed by the subtle and yet powerful example of true inclusion this advertisement demonstrates. The accommodation was not one in which they made it possible for a man using a wheelchair to play like the others; but rather, together, these men found a way to level the playing field, creating their own opportunity for meaningful participation. 

There are obvious lessons for the classroom. Read: Accommodating Isn't the Same as Inclusion. Aiding a student or an athlete to enable participation might seem reasonable, but it is far more inclusive to re-frame the whole lesson, activity or game to enable everyone’s equal participation.  

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