“Race does not exist outside of ability and ability does not exist outside of race” (Annamma et al., 2013, p. 6). This insight is powerfully confirmed by the experiences of the Black middle-class parents and their children in our research. LD categories, such as autism and dyslexia, are mostly treated in contemporary England as a property right for the benefit of White middle-class students—a property right to which our Black interviewees’ social class profile does not grant access. Even armed with the supposedly “scientific” warrant of a formal assessment (a certification meant to credentialize and medicalize the “condition”), Black middle-class parents’ claims were rejected. Within an educational competition where particular LD dis/ability labels can become a valuable asset, therefore, this asset is denied to the Black parents and their children. Their greater social class capital is rejected, their claims denied, and their motives questioned. In contrast, however, schools seem content to mobilize certain dis/ability labels, especially negative behavioral categories, in all too familiar ways against the parents and their children—a finding that relates to a further DisCrit tenet:
- DisCrit emphasizes the social constructions of race and ability and yet recognizes the material and psychological impacts of being labeled as raced or dis/abled, which sets one outside of the western cultural norms. (p. 11)
At the particular nexus of identities and locations (England in the early 21st century, wherein Black racial identity, middle-class social status, and a range of dis/ability labels collide) the outcomes follow a pattern that privileges White supremacy and the racial status quo. Although a dis/ability label might be a useful resource (providing additional resources or supports), it is generally denied by White power holders. Yet, dis/ability labels that serve to exclude, stigmatize, and control (emotional or behavioral disabilities) are applied without regard to national guidelines or formal procedures.
This series is framed for “fellow White Christians” but is a good survey of Critical Race Theory for everyone. It’s full of great quotes and links.
- The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 1: A Survey of the “Traditional Civil Rights Discourse” : The Front Porch “Traditional Civil Rights discourse predates and dispels allegations of cultural Marxism.”
- The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 2: The Segregationist Discourse and Civil Rights Retrenchment : The Front Porch “To tell the story of the rise of critical race theory historically, we have to consider the segregationist and anti-Civil Rights context that spawned it.”
- The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 3: A Bridge: Dr. Derrick Bell : The Front Porch “Bell’s work signaled a return to the more “radical” elements of W.E.B. Du Bois, Oliver C. Cox, Stokely Carmichael, and even Dr. King.”
- The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 4: Alan Freeman and the Contribution of CLS : The Front Porch “Laws reflect dominant social morality and power distribution. That’s why our laws are more likely to legitimize racism and racist systems than remedy them.”