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'It's not my job to educate the world': Activist Sinead Burke speaks about bullying and her own experience

Burke has made waves in recent years catching the attention of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Sinead spoke on The Late Late Show last night.
Sinead spoke on The Late Late Show last night.
Image: RTÉ

DISABILITY ACTIVIST SINEAD Burke has spoken of her experience of being bullied, suggesting a need for better education which could lead to a more tolerant society. 

Burke has made waves over the past few years in a number of areas, including being appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D Higgins last year, and her appointment as a contributing editor of British Vogue in 2018. 

Appearing on The Late Late Show, she spoke of her experience being “othered” and her activism to encourage people to be more tolerant towards others. 

“I think it’s a lesson that we all need to learn. I think we need to educate ourselves on what we don’t know and we need to facilitate the curiosity within us,” she said. 

“An example that I give is that I’m in the aisle in a supermarket and a child will see me and the first thing that they will do is point me out and say ‘look, there’s a little woman’.

“And in that instance the adult will ignore them, dismiss them, distract them, try to remove them from the place in which they are, only because they’re embarrassed.

“They’re embarrassed that this has happened and they feel it’s a negative impact on their parenting and how could it be so, instead of actually realising that’s a child’s natural curiosity and why don’t they say to the child ‘yeah, that is a little woman, say hello’.”

Following her work as a campaigner, Burke fell onto the radar of high-profile figures around the world. 

In July, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle chose Burke as a ‘Force of Nature’ cover star for the September edition of British Vogue, alongisde actress Jane Fonda, climate activist Greta Thunberg and New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern. 

Speaking on the Late Late Show last night, she said: “I say this with the premise and framework that it’s not my job to educate the world that I should get to exist but it’s a balance of the two and it’s something I choose to do.”

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