Feminist Disability In Special Education

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Disability is a concept established to shatter and break down myths and stereotypes towards those who are disabled or classified as the “other” according to Western notions. Creating a criterion of what an able-bodied person is supposed to be like and anyone who does not fit this standard is “disabled”. Feminist disability studies take this explanation a step further, by conceptualizing the oppressions experienced by individuals who do not fit the social norms and how it affects them, through using the concept of intersectionality, as a tool to illustrate this. Case studies will be of an African context, especially that of the sub Saharan Africa region to share what are feminist responses pertaining to Africans. Case studies will focus on intellectual…show more content…
Where the notion of what disability is defined as from a social context. Which, in the eyes of society is largely viewed as a physical disability for it to be considered as legitimate. This excludes other forms of disability, such as a “learning disability” (Petersen, 2006: 727). Where students often find difficulty in learning within educational institutions that offer a conventional way of learning, which is not suited to accommodate all students’ individual needs. Resulting in the students who do not adapt to the conventional way of learning, having to receive “special education” (Petersen, 2006: 727). The problem with special education is that it negatively affects those with learning disabilities in that it further perpetuates exclusivity that is of a gendered and racial nature. For example, males and females are treated differently according to their genders at school, in terms of the opportunities that they are given and the achievements they receive as a reward for their academic efforts. Through males being taught that they are smarter than females and therefore need to work harder (Petersen, 2006: 729). Racially, for example in the US, Black and Latino students are the highest enrolled into the special education programme because of labels being imposed on them such as having “mild mental retardation and/or emotional disturbance” (Erevelles & Minear, 2010: 131).…show more content…
Namely, “integration and transformation” (Garland-Thomson, 2002: 3). The intention with integration is to achieve equality by changing the current social order, which perpetuates exclusivity of the disabled bodies. With transformation, it aims to facilitate the cultural understanding of the body from a historical context (Garland-Thomson, 2002: 4). This is done so that one can better understand the lived experiences of themselves and others, within a feminist context. Garland-Thomson elaborates further by arguing that the feminist disability theory incorporates some of the fundamental components of critical theory. They are: 1) Representation structures reality. 2) the margin defines the centre. 3) disability or gender is a way of distinguishing power relationships. 4) Identities of humans are multiple and unstable in consistency, and 5) all evaluation and analysis has consequences that are of a political nature (Garland-Thomson, 2002: 6). Therefore, a black disabled queer woman would be able to share her lived experience without having to worry about her experience being generalized and randomly boxed with those who are more privileged than

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