I was listening to a podcast interview this week and, forgive me for not remembering the title, I was struck by the terminology the interview used when talking about hard to reach communities. She described them as under-served and that resonated with me.
Too often we seem to get our language the wrong way around and it matters. Victim-blaming has come to the forefront recently and, rightly so, continues to be something my that we collectively need to work on in order to stop subconsciously pushing blame onto the very people we are trying to support.
Likewise, there is a long overdue movement to reframe disability as a failure in our environment rather than a person-centric problem.
And so it is true of our hard to reach communities. Ask any member of such a designated group and they will tell you that they are not hard to reach, you just haven’t been trying hard enough. Or maybe instead of trying to reach in from afar, you might like to move a bit closer (figuratively and literally) or even better why don’t you work to empower the community to support itself from within?
Language is important. Let’s stop making this about ‘them’ and turn the attention back onto us. It’s us that is under-serving them. It is us that needs to work harder.