Latrea Wyche/ Contributing Writer
Lately, I have been researching the topic of race relations as applies to people with disabilities. As a woman of color who happens to have multiple disabilities, I connected with my race and my culture before I even knew what the term disability meant. As a matter of fact, as a kid, the word disability was not used in my home. That’s a conversation we will have in another post. At any rate, while conducting my research there was one word that continued to show up in every search; Intersectionality, this was not a word that I was familiar with so I decided to look it up. According to Oxford the word internationally refers to the interconnected nature of social categorizations, such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating an overlapping and interdependent system of discrimination. A person belonging to more that one sub-group where they face discrimination, for example being gay and black both of those sub-groups deals with discrimination in one form or another.
The question remains, what does this all have to do with disability and race? According to the CDC, one out of every four African American adults has a disability, which means that one out of every four adults belongs to two sub-groups that deals with discrimination, not only are they African Americans but they also have a disability. The challenges of being a part of a group that is being discriminated against can intensify when an individual faces multiple biases simultaneously. In these instances being disabled may not be the biggest barrier to community inclusion.
Disability Pride can be tested when a person is seeking to honor and balance all the identities that make him or her a unique individual. Some identities create barriers to disability services, while others further exacerbate exclusion and identification of people with disabilities, this the case in point for undocumented immigrants. People who fit in this category, may not be eligible for all of the services they need, based on the fact that they are not a US Citizen which means family supports are often required to supplement care even when disability stigma exists within the family or culture.
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