Bioethics Blogs

Traumatic Brain Injury and Cultural Diversity

Tracey Landmann, a traumatic brain injury survivor, advocates greater respect and recognition for the individual differences presented by persons living with traumatic brain injury.

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People generally like to organize things, including other people. We construct figurative containers and compartments, and then sort through the chaos of the planet’s population, often negatively judging those who do not share in our own culture’s belief system. We frown on people we view as incapable, unethical, or irrational, doing so even when we are only familiar with stereotypes about these individuals. Even the simplest deviations become suspect.

Lately, there has been an energized effort to rectify this lack of acceptance. For example, corporate/medical/societal Cultural Diversity Training programs are increasing. These programs aim to educate people as to the value of everyone in the office, to inspire people to work better with each other, and to avoid lawsuits. That any effort is being made to broaden compassion anywhere is encouraging. But this kind of training is, at best, just a beginning towards achieving greater tolerance and respect for diversity and difference.

Bosnian Renaissance by Tracey Landmann

Acknowledging cultural diversity is intimidating enough; relating to the human elements within ‘other’ cultures can sometimes be downright frightening. Doing this for the medically labelled community of traumatically brain injured survivors can be especially challenging. Even medical professionals, who are supposed to be well-versed in traumatic brain injury, seldom take the individual into account. They affix a label to the disability alone and ignore the complexity that makes up the individual’s life behind it.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.