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Disabled Activist Posts Powerful Thread About Why Trevor Noah's Speech About Representation In Hollywood Is So Important—And Troubling

@TheDailyShow/Twitter, @annieelainey/Twitter

The Upside, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, hit theaters on January 11th.

In it, Cranston plays a man in a wheelchair.


Unsurprisingly, this touched off a debate about abled actors playing disabled roles.

Trevor Noah got into the controversy on The Daily Show.

While Trevor Noah's initial instinct was to dismiss the conversation, as he listened more and more, he began to understand the frustration with Cranston's casting and the emptiness of the oft used 'they're an actor and actors act' excuse.

However, artist, activist and disabled person Annie Segarra had complicated feelings about Trevor Noah's segment.

FIrst, they dissected the small micro-aggressions that abled people engage in without realizing.


Then they turned to the fact that those outside of a marginalized population often engage with the fight without any context of what those who have been in the trenches have already been doing.



And finally, Segarra closed by pointing out the implicit dehumanization of disabled people that is deeply ingrained in our society.



This debate is similar to the one touched off in recent years about cisgender actors being cast in transgender roles, such as Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club or Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.

The argument is often that no disabled actors exist with a sufficient enough name to carry a big budget film. However, it's a catch 22, because if there's lack of opportunity and when there is opportunity, it's being given to abled actors, then it's impossible to begin to build a stable of disabled actors with the name recognition to carry a major studio picture.

The investment has to start with producers and casting directors.