The months have flown by and surely enough the end of this scholastic semester has arrived. Through the Mobius Strip that is my course load this semester I came across what I believe to be a brilliant, interesting piece of work that suggests and correlates race as a disability. Written by Douglas C. Baynton “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History” has inspired me to look at being disabled in a new way. I’ve always perceived disablity as a medical or physical factor. The piece asked me to apply disability to humanity and society rather then medical science. What is considered natural and normal is more about what is right rather then what is real. When looking at American history we can reflect on this idea and see that society has been constructed to serve nonwhites. Baynton bring forth the point that slavery was justified on the idea that blacks were disable. “The most common disability argument for slavery was simply that African Americans lacked sufficient intelligence to participate or compete on a equal basis in society with white Americans” (Baynton 94). Race is about power and disability is about labeling those who are not able to manage or have power. It was once believed that deafness and blindness was three times more likely in a freed slave then in a current slave; freedom was too much for a person of color to handle (Baynton 94). By creating this idea that there was something wrong with anyone that wasn’t a white heterosexual male, American society has been able to create a mold for what is a handicap.
Philip Kasinitz in his Book Inheriting the City reports the racism comes from whites and minorities themselves in the basis of not being good enough or equal to. Kasinitz in simplistic chart demonstrates different types of discrimination, who experience it and what’s the reaction (consequence).
Disability by definition is limitation and when looked at through the eye of racism being anything other then white is limiting. The chart in this light suggests those who are able are on top and those who are disable experience and react to limitations.
When looking at disability through a humanity and social perspective it is clear that race, homophobia, sexism is an ableist practice. Power is the ultimate goal in this society. Power is ablism, capability, freedom and competence. I fully encourage any one and everyone to look at common issues and undress what they are really about. I encourage everyone to look at their own abilities and write their own limitation. Whether physically disable or socially disabled infinite possibilities should always be the objective. There are so many revolutions to be had in a world that is full of limitations. I encourage everyone to believe in ability and their ability.
Here are some quotes I enjoyed this week:
“Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection” -Martin Luther King Junior
“The only disability in this world is a bad attitude” -Scott Hamilton
Here is a video I found:
I hope it gets you to think how history repeats itself and what change we can make if we tried collectively.
If you’re at all interested in the Baynton Piece I am including the PDF version given to me:
(just click the download button)
Baynton, Douglas. Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History. 92-101.
Kasinitz, Philip. Inheriting The City. 2008. 307-26. Print.
King Jr., Martin Luther. “Racism Quotes.” Thinkexist. N.p., n. d. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. <http://thinkexist.com/quotation/lukewarm_acceptance_is_more_bewildering_than/345719.html>.
“Scott Hamilton.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2011. 5 December. 2011. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/scotthamil104173.html