Essay on Disability and Inequality in Treatment

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The issue of disability is not just a matter that concerns disabled people. It is a central subject or social phenomenon that has shaped American history and an unseen yet strong force that continues to influence the way people interact with one another. Douglas Baynton (2013) argues that disability is the most dominant justification for inequality in gender, race and ethnicity as well as for rationalizing and legitimizing discriminatory practices organized in law. This is especially reflected in America’s three major citizenship debates, namely, African American freedom and civil rights, the women’s suffrage movement, and the immigration restrictions in which, disability was central in substantiating and validating their conception, acceptance and implementation. Black Americans were believed to possess inherent mental disabilities i.e. insufficient intelligence, which justified their slavery. Their enslavement would in fact help them to be placed in a productive endeavour that would be beneficial to society. Women on the other hand suffered “great temperamental disabilities” which justified their denial of political franchise or the right to vote. Entitling women with voting rights would endanger political stability as women are easily swayed by controlling and manipulative politicians. Finally, the subject of disability also played a central role in framing American immigration policies as reflected in the injunction or prohibition of entry against idiots, lunatics and other persons deemed to be a liability to society.
Quite interestingly, disability as a justification for inequality is a customary, satisfactory, valid and acceptable ground for differences in treatment that people generally recognize even ...

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...discussion and as Baynton argues, the concept of disability plays a key role in justifying inequality in treatment. This has been shown throughout American history as reflected in the discriminatory practices that has denied women of suffrage, deprived African Americans of freedom and civil rights and prohibited immigrants from entry to the Land of Milk and Honey. Disabilities emanating from race and gender that had since been proven to be untrue or socially construed constitute a case of discrimination. Meanwhile, disabilities in lieu of diversity justify issues of exclusion or differences in treatment in order to accommodate the specific special needs of people with true disabilities.

Works Cited

Baynton, D. C. (2013). Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study. Disability and The Justification of Inequality In American History, 94.

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