Tools of Exclusion: Race, Disability, and (Re)segregated Education


by Beth A. Ferri & David J. Connor - 2005

In this article we explore the dynamic interplay between racism and ableismor discrimination against someone based on perceived "ability" - in the resistance to school desegregation and inclusion of students with disabilities in general education. In attending to the workings of power that connect these two histories, we show how racialized notions of ability functioned to uphold segregated schooling and justify the use of special education as a tool of racial resegregation. Moreover, we locate the current problem of overrepresentation of Black students (and other students of color) in segregated special education classrooms to the connected discourses of segregation and exclusion. Recent efforts to challenge exclusionary practices in special education through the increased "inclusion" of students with disabilities in regular classrooms have resulted in resistance similar to that expressed in response to school desegregation shortly after Brown. In this article we first provide an overview of the complicated and intertwined histories of school desegregation and special education. Then, in the discursive context of a sample of very diverse newspapers, we examine how editors, readers and contributors responded to both court-ordered desegregation in the 1950s and then special education inclusion in the 1980s and 1990s by calling for delays and gradual compliance. We argue that gradualism has functioned to maintain, rather than disrupt, the status quo of racially segregated schooling both within and across schools. Finally, we argue that race and disability should be understood primarily as interactive social constructs and not distinct biological markers.


To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Tools of Exclusion: Race, Disability, and (Re)segregated Education
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 3, 2005, p. 453-474
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11795, Date Accessed: 10/19/2019 5:52:02 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review