Paper Summary

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Where Is Brown? How the Inclusion Movement Profits From White Supremacy

Sat, April 18, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Virtual Room


Many inclusion advocates use Brown versus Board of Ed’s “separate but equal” decision to promote inclusion. However, this is often done without consideration for the ongoing oppression of people of color nor for the particular subjectivity of people of color with disabilities. As such, claims like this conflate racism with ableism and instantly erase the experiences of individuals living at the nexus of multiple identity markers (Love, 2019; National Council on Disability, 2014). The purpose of this paper is to highlight the ways in which racialized discourse is often Whitewashed by inclusive education advocates to the detriment of all students of color.

Theoretical framework:
Building on DisCrit (Annamma, Connor, & Ferri, 2013) and Raciolinguistic perspectives (Flores & Rosa, 2015), this paper introduces a Critical Disabilities Raciolinguistic (CRD) perspective which argues that culturally and linguistically diverse students are not only subject to the White gaze or to the medical gaze but more specifically to the White normative gaze. As such, the White normative gaze pathologizes these students not only by disability but also race and linguistic practice.

The paper uses content analysis to illustrate how special education and inclusive education discourse focuses on ability integration without accounting for intersectionality. As such, these inclusive spaces continue to be rife with white supremacy and are only accessible to a small subset of students with disabilities.

Data sources:
The data from this paper originates primarily from public documents including but not limited to scholarly publications, educational policy guidelines and mainstream media publications.

The findings indicate that inclusion programs, continue to uphold and benefit from ideas grounded in White supremacy. As such, the expansion of these programs continues to benefit White, middle class English-proficient students while simultaneously relegating students of color with disabilities to segregated learning spaces.

Inclusive education programs are promoted as a place of promise, as a space where children from varying ability levels can learn alongside each other and, perhaps more importantly, from each other. Still, most students of color continue to be educated in segregated spaces (NCD, 2014). While, racism within testing and traditional special education has been flagged as a potential cause, to date the function of racism within inclusive education advocacy has not been presented. This paper will highlight the ways in which inclusive education's focus on ability has resulted in a White and elitist educational space that does not actively seek to include students from diverse racial, socioeconomic and linguistic communities.

Enacting a CRD perspective, this paper will present the ways in which the dismissal of race but more specifically linguistic practices actively alienates EBLADs from inclusive spaces unless they agree to a monocultural and monolingual education. Additionally, this paper will identify the negative impact that monolingual inclusive spaces have on the families of EBLADs, especially when it comes to advocacy and academic support. Finally, this paper will show the ways in which language has been used as a surrogate for race thus reducing access to inclusive program for racially minoritized students as a whole.

Word Count: 499 words (not including title)