Disablism Reflected in Law and Policy: The Social Construction and Perpetuation of Prejudice

Main Article Content

Tommy Horejes
Pat Lauderdale

Keywords

diversity, disablism, politics

Abstract

There are widespread historical and cultural analyses of the problems associated with racism, sexism, classism, and other types of prejudice; however, there is a paucity on disablism.  As with other prejudices, an examination of the origins and perpetuation of disablism is controversial because it is cloaked in narrow legal and policy analyses of the historical and cultural documentation on the notion of disability.  There has been little systematic research on disablism and typically it has been misrepresented as a health, economic, technical, or safety issue rather than prejudice.  In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into law with the assumption that it would provide equal accommodations for disabled people.  In this paper, we examine the institutions of education and the workplace to analyze how “equal accommodations” under such policies pose some serious and problematic political processes and consequences in shaping disability rights.  Our analysis suggests that from an international perspective most disability policies remain rooted in a narrow medical model, despite evidence of attempts to construct politics of diversity and self definition.

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