Why have all the Celebrity Poster Child's for illness / disability been white?

Christopher Reeve and Michael j. Fox were both two heavily influentional figures in the disabled community. Receiving all kinds of attention and recognition for their ailments and going to become two of the most recognizable " poster childs ". And coincidentally both of which were Blue eyed, thinned out nosed commercial looking caucasion's.

Then when I look at someone of color like Montell William's, who has battled a similiar neurological illness as Fox, but gets less than half of the recognition and financial funding for his foundation than fox.

There seems to be a bit of an unfair bias here. Not just generalizing on that one case alone, there are plenty of similiar stories.

What's up with this?


I was just using Williams as a single example. Also, there's Muhammad Ali. Who also has Parkinson's but doesn't in the media all too often either.

Update 2:

Get* in the media. typo

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Poster children" are not influential within the disability community generally - they are geared to the monied nondisabled people. They are fundraisers.

    Christopher Reeve was not well respected within the disability community for most of the time he was alive and disabled. He "got it" toward the end of his life and so his legacy is a good one. His wife "got it" and has learned to do good for/with the disability community without playing the pity card too heavily.

    The people whose work is embraced by the disability community are not "chosen" for the color of their skin, but by how inclusive their message is and how much they refuse to use pity to elicit support. Teddy Pendergrass, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder come to mind.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it's because Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox were more famous than Montel Williams. I hadn't even heard of him until you mentioned him in this question. I can bet you all the money in the world that if Will Smith came down with something, he would be the ultimate poster child.

    It's just a matter of how famous the person is.

  • 1 decade ago

    its possible people coud be racially profiling to relate them to the biggest groups [in order to get more awareness/donations]-but are they truly looking at colour when they choose those celebrities to represent disability,or are they looking for highly popular disabled people?

    there are other groups left out to when it comes to disability representation ,people always see disability as being represented by a wheel chair user [such as the blue badge logo] when the majority of disabilities are not covering wheel chair users at least,many are completely non physical,it leads to bias,discrimination and prejudice to non physically disabled people-and from disabled people to,not just non disabled people.

    as someone from the UK,woud barely even know who montel williams is other than that he has a talk show,didnt even know he had a disability until this post now.

    due to the type of disability have got have grown up without awareness to notice colour/race differences so woudnt care whether it was montel or some other guy,we will never be truly represented in that way anyway as the disabled community-because the disability spectrum is highly individual,and what one person experiences is completely different to another,just as someone like temple grandin or tito mukhopadhyay-coud not represent a lot of disabilities in the slightest as they woud have no idea on what experiences they have,but people like oscar pistorius or stephen hawking woudnt be able to represent many disabilities either for the same reason.

    if it wasnt for the closed views of the general public-we woud not need famous people to represent us ,we are already all representing disability,skin colour,conditions,illnesses,diseases, impairments etc every day.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Well aside from stomach ulcer, I'm fortunate enough not to have anything else (yet). Lucky for you your ADD's not the annoying type. My son's diagnosed with GDD as well as ADHD. His only restful moments are sleeping and watching DVDs. Hey, I figure you're such a lively person judging from your questions and answers. You'd get by, sweetie. Good luck!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I know he is probably a nice guy and all, but MONTELL WILLIAMS is the best you can come up with? Michael J. Fox was super famous for movies. So was Christopher Reeve. So lets sum it up here, you have McFly, Superman, and...Montell Williams?

  • 1 decade ago

    i do not see why a person can take a disability and start racial profiling the disability- the disability picks the person who can draw in the most money and picks them as their spokes person- or the person steps up and volunteers themselves- no one looks at the color of the person

  • 1 decade ago

    As long as money is being raised to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease (or any other dreadful disease that could alter a person's life), the spokesperson's skin color should not matter. I'm just happy that someone cares enough to raise money for people they have never met, regardless of skin color.

  • Because although caucasians at least in California are becoming a minority but they still own a lot of the media outlets and most of the big companies. they portray what they see as disabled with no regard to accuracy or facts just put what they see fit

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    so people will give $.

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