Summary of I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much

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7 Innovation

9 Style


“I want to live in a world where we don’t have such low expectations of disabled people that we are congratulated for getting out of bed and remembering our own names.” This is the message of the late comedian and activist Stella Young, who wanted to teach society that her wheelchair didn’t make her inspirational. Her speech adeptly addresses a taboo topic and admonishes people for indulging in well-intentioned deeds that dehumanize people with disabilities. getAbstract believes able-bodied and disabled members of society alike have much to learn from this exceptional talk.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the assumption that functioning disabled people are noble and courageous erects barriers and
  • How society can change the way it thinks about disability.

About the Speaker

Comedian Stella Young was an advocate for people with disabilities and the editor of Ramp Up, an online forum about disability. She died in December 2014.



Stella Young’s upbringing in a small town in Australia was fairly conventional. She went to school, squabbled with her siblings and worked part-time in her mother’s hair salon. When she was 15 years old, a community organization asked her parents if they could nominate Young for an achievement award, even though she hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. The only thing that marked Young as different was that she was a disabled wheelchair user.

Some years later, during Young’s teacher training, a boy interrupted her class. “When are you going to start your speech?” he asked. He was referring to a motivational talk, which was the familiar role of school visitors in wheelchairs...

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