Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Unspeakable Offenses: Untangling Race and Disability in Discourses of Intersectionality

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2010), 4, (2), 127–145.

Abstract

The Literature of Critical Race Feminist Theory approaches disability as an expression of intersectional identity wherein devalued social characteristics compound stigma resulting in so-called spirit murder. Three diverging practices of intersectionality are identified as guiding scholarship on the constitutive features of multiply minoritizing identities: (1) anticategorical frameworks that insist on race, class, and gender as social constructs/fictions; (2) intracategorical frameworks that critique merely additive approaches to differences as layered stigmas; and (3) constitutive frameworks that describe the structural conditions within which social categories in the above models are constructed by (and intermeshed with) each other in specific historical contexts. In being true to Critical Race Feminist Theory approaches, the article draws on two other narratives, one historical and one contemporary, to describe how individuals located perilously at the intersections of race, class, gender, and disability are constituted as non-citizens and (no)bodies by the very social institutions (legal, educational, and rehabilitational) that are designed to protect, nurture, and empower them.

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Anzaldúa, Gloria. Making Face Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives of Women of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1990. Making Face Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives of Women of Color Google Scholar

Arondekar, Anjali. "Border/Line Sex: Queer Positionalities, or How Race Matters Outside the United States." Interventions 7.2 (2005): 236–50. Border/Line Sex: Queer Positionalities, or How Race Matters Outside the United States Interventions 7 236 50 Google Scholar

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Artiles, Alfredo J., Beth Harry, Daniel J. Reschly and Philip C. Chinn. "Over-Identification of Students of Color in Special Education: A Critical Overview." Multicultural Perspectives 4.1 (2002): 3–10. Over-Identification of Students of Color in Special Education: A Critical Overview Multicultural Perspectives 4 1 3 10 Google Scholar

Baynton, Douglas. "Disability in History." Perspectives 44.9 (2006): 5–7. Disability in History Perspectives 44 5 7 Google Scholar

Burch, Susan and Hannah Joyner. Unspeakable: The Life of Junius Wilson. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007. Unspeakable: The Life of Junius Wilson Google Scholar

Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise. Dir. Lulie Haddad, Cyndee Readdean and John J. Valadez. PBS, 2004. Google Scholar

Connor, David J. Urban Narratives: Portraits in Progress – Life at the Intersections of Learning Disability, Race, and Class. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. Urban Narratives: Portraits in Progress – Life at the Intersections of Learning Disability, Race, and Class Google Scholar

Connor, David J. and Beth. A. Ferri. "Integration and Inclusion – A Troubling Nexus: Race, Disability, and Special Education." The Journal of African American History 90.1/2 (2005): 107–27. Integration and Inclusion – A Troubling Nexus: Race, Disability, and Special Education The Journal of African American History 90 107 27 Google Scholar

Crenshaw, Kimberlé. "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women." Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that formed the Movement. Ed. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Pellar, and Kendall Thomas. New York: New Press, 1996. 357–83. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that formed the Movement 357 83 Google Scholar

Davis, Angela. Y. Women, Race, and Class. New York: Vintage, 1983. Women, Race, and Class Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard J. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body. New York: Verso, 1995. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. "(Im)Material Citizens: Cognitive Disability, Race and the Politics of Citizenship." Disability, Culture, and Education 1.1 (2002): 5–25. (Im)Material Citizens: Cognitive Disability, Race and the Politics of Citizenship Disability, Culture, and Education 1 5 25 Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. "Disability and the Dialectics of Difference." Disability and Society 11.4 (1996): 519–37. Disability and the Dialectics of Difference Disability and Society 11 519 37 Google Scholar

Espinoza, Leslie and Angela. P. Harris. "Afterword: Embracing the Tar-Baby—LatCrit Theory and the Stick Mess of Race." California Law Review 88.5 (1997): 499–559. Afterword: Embracing the Tar-Baby—LatCrit Theory and the Stick Mess of Race California Law Review 88 499 559 Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring physical disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring physical disability in American Culture and Literature Google Scholar

Gould, Stephen. J. The Mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton, 1981. The Mismeasure of Man Google Scholar

Haney Lopez, Ian. F. "The Social Construction of Race." Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge. Ed. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2007. 163–75. The Social Construction of Race Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge 163 75 Google Scholar

Harris, Angela. "Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory." Critical Race Feminism. Ed. Adrien. K. Wing. New York: New York UP, 1997. 11–26. Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory Critical Race Feminism 11 26 Google Scholar

Harris, Cheryl I. "Whiteness as Property." Critical Race Theory: Key Writings that Formed the Movement. Ed. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Pellar, and Kendall Thomas. New York: New P, 1995. 276–91. Whiteness as Property Critical Race Theory: Key Writings that Formed the Movement 276 91 Google Scholar

Hill Collins, Patricia. "It's All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation." Hypatia 13.3 (1998): 62–82. It's All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation Hypatia 13 62 82 Google Scholar

hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge, MA: South End P, 1985. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center Google Scholar

Hull, Gloria. T., Patricia Bell Scott and Barbara Smith. All the Women are White, All the Men are Black, But some of Us are Brave. New York: The Feminist P at CUNY, 1982. All the Women are White, All the Men are Black, But some of Us are Brave Google Scholar

James, Jennifer. C. and Cynthia Wu. "Editors' Introduction: Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Literature: Intersections and Interventions." MELUS 31.3 (2003): 3–13. Editors' Introduction: Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Literature: Intersections and Interventions MELUS 31 3 13 Google Scholar

Ladson-Billings, Gloria and William F. Tate IV. "Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education." Teachers College Record 97.1 (1995): 47–68. Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education Teachers College Record 97 47 68 Google Scholar

Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: New York UP, 1998. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity Google Scholar

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outside: Essays and Speeches. Berkeley, CA: The Crossing P Feminist Series, 1984. Sister Outside: Essays and Speeches Google Scholar

McCall, Leslie. "The Complexity of Intersectionality." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30.3 (2005): 1771–1800. The Complexity of Intersectionality Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30 1771 1800 Google Scholar

Parker, Laurence, Donna Deyhle, and Sofia Villenas. Race is . . . Race isn't: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education . Boulder, CO: Westview P, 1999. Race is . . . Race isn't: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education Google Scholar

Pastrana, Antonio. "Black Identity Constructions: Inserting Intersectionality, Bisexuality, and (Afro-) Latinidad into Black Studies." Journal of African American Studies 8.1–2 (2004): 74–89. Black Identity Constructions: Inserting Intersectionality, Bisexuality, and (Afro-) Latinidad into Black Studies Journal of African American Studies 8 74 89 Google Scholar

Reid, D. Kim and Michelle G. Knight. "Disability Justifies Exclusion of Minority Students: A Critical History Grounded in Disability Studies." Educational Researcher 35.6 (2006): 18–33. Disability Justifies Exclusion of Minority Students: A Critical History Grounded in Disability Studies Educational Researcher 35 18 33 Google Scholar

Watts, Ivan and Nirmala Erevelles. "These Deadly Times: Reconceptualizing School Violence by using Critical Race Theory and Disability Studies." American Educational Research Association 41.2 (2004): 271–99. These Deadly Times: Reconceptualizing School Violence by using Critical Race Theory and Disability Studies American Educational Research Association 41 271 99 Google Scholar

Williams, Patricia. J. "Spirit Murdering the Messenger: The Discourse of Fingerpointing as the Law's Response to Racism." Critical Race Feminism: A Class Reader. Ed. Adrien. K. Wing. New York: New York UP, 1997. 229–42. Spirit Murdering the Messenger: The Discourse of Fingerpointing as the Law's Response to Racism Critical Race Feminism: A Class Reader 229 42 Google Scholar

Wing, Adrien. "Brief Reflections toward a Multiplicative Theory and Praxis of Being." Critical Race Feminism: A Reader. Ed. Adrien K. Wing. New York: New York UP, 1997. 27–34. Brief Reflections toward a Multiplicative Theory and Praxis of Being Critical Race Feminism: A Reader 27 34 Google Scholar

Yuval-Davis, Nira. "Intersectionality and Feminist Politics." European Journal of Women's Studies 13.3 (2006): 193–203. Intersectionality and Feminist Politics European Journal of Women's Studies 13 193 203 Google Scholar

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Erevelles, Nirmala

Minear, Andrea