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MICROAGGRESSIONS AND DISABILITY: 2014. Microaggressions “Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults,

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Presentation on theme: "MICROAGGRESSIONS AND DISABILITY: 2014. Microaggressions “Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults,"— Presentation transcript:


2 Microaggressions “Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Derald Wing Sue, Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, 2010

3 Common Unconscious Stereotypes and Beliefs Disability is: A lesser status, a bad or unfortunate condition, which people should hide. A punishment for immorality or a curse. An opportunity for others to give charity, pity, or obtain self-worth. A condition to be fixed by doctors or avoided (eugenics and the medical model).

4 Implicit Bias “Implicit prejudice operates unconsciously and outside awareness, Is empirically distinct from explicit prejudice, and Uniquely predicts consequential social judgment and behavior.” Shafir, Eldar, The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy, “The Nature of Implicit Prejudice” at 18. Princeton University Press (2013)

5 Exclusion and the Medical Model

6 Synthesis Microaggressions are the outward manifestation of unconsciously held stereotypes and biased thinking on the part of often well-meaning people or groups. Microaggressions create/reinforce/evince significant barriers to equality.

7 Taxonomy Microassaults: Conscious and intentional actions or slurs. Microinsults: Verbal and nonverbal communications that subtly convey rudeness. May be couched as compliments. Microinvalidations: Communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a person who identifies as disabled.

8 Theory Mapping Academia (Social science and psych research) Art & Popular Culture Law Review Articles and Evolution of Critical Legal Theory EEO and Anti Bullying Training (Intel, OHSU, et al.)

9 Social Science Research Nothing about us without us: A qualitative investigation of the experiences of being a target of ableist microaggressions” by Bell, Ayoka K., Psy.D., JOHN F. KENNEDY UNIVERSITY, 2013, 147 pages..

10 Legal Scholarship Davis, Peggy C., “Law as Microaggression,” 98 Yale L.J. 1559, 1560 (1989) (defining microaggressions as “incessant, often gratuitous and subtle offenses”) Chew, Pat K. “Seeing Subtle Racism” Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, 6 Stan. J. Civ. Rts. & Civ. Liberties 183 (October, 2010) Discrimination in the 21st Century: Are Science and the Law Aligned?, 17 Psychol. Pub. Pol'y & L. 54 (2011)


12 EEO Training


14 Sources of Stereotypes Religious beliefs Legal Discrimination Eugenics The Medical Model Literature, the arts, and culture Covering

15 The Hierarchy In school settings, teachers’ attitudes toward students vary based on types of impairments possessed by students with disabilities (Barr & Bracchitta, 2008; Hastings & Oakford, 2003). People with/without disabilities tend to react more favorably toward individuals with physical (paraplegia/leg amputation) and/or sensory (deaf, blind) disabilities than ones with brain-injured disabilities (epilepsy) or mental illnesses (depression, bipolar disorder).

16 Microassaults “Spazz!” “Imbecile” “Stupid” “Crip” “brain- damaged” Handicapp ed “Mental” “Gimp” “Retarded” “Bed-ridden” “Psycho” “Nut case” “Idiot” “Differently - abled” “Vegetable”

17 Microinsults You have a disability? What’s your disability? Your disability must be mild! But you do so well/seem so bright! You don’t look/seem disabled.

18 Microinvalidations Everyone has problems. We all have a learning disability of some kind. I understand your AD/HD; I have a blind uncle. I get it: I’m totally OCD about my files! Whoops, I must be dyslexic! (when reversing letters/numbers)

19 Making it Better Outmoded Language Handicapped, Crippled, Suffers from... Confined/Restricted to a wheelchair Mentally retarded People without disabilities are “normal” or in the “regular classroom.” Preferred Language Disabled or has a disability Uses a wheelchair Intellectual and developmental disability (IDD)

20 Other Microaggressions Staring or ignoring PWDs/privacy issues Offering help without assistance Omitting disability as a source of pride when mentioning diversity Failing to serve or provide role models

21 The Classroom

22 A Socio-political or Right’s Model Disability is not a moral flaw, a medical condition that needs fixing, or a source of shame. Under the social model, disability is not based upon individual impairment but on society’s failure to enable all people equally. Disability is a different way of being in the world that contributes value. PWDs are individuals whose disabilities don’t “carry over.” The disadvantages of disability should be viewed as a social construct.

23 Future Issues Re-imagining disability as positive Embracing the post-social model Eliminating structural/systemic barriers, including pressures to “cover” Examining interpersonal barriers.

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