Blackness as Disability?
Citation: 106 Geo L.J. (2018)
Recent incidents of police violence against unarmed African-Americans and the lead-filled water of Flint, Michigan are only the most recent reminders of what it means to live as a black person today in the United States. Being black increases the odds of living in poverty, attending failing schools, experiencing housing discrimination, being denied a job interview, being stopped by the police, receiving inferior medical care, living in substandard conditions and polluted environments, being unemployed, receiving longer prison sentences, and, ultimately, having a lower life expectancy. Although we do not think of being black in the United States as disabling, this Article argues that it may be appropriate to do so. As provocative as it might seem, understanding the black racial designation as disabling can bring new clarity to the reality that racial categories in the United States were created explicitly to serve as a caste system to benefit some and disable others. It also opens up an entirely new approach to how the law should attend to race discrimination and structural inequality: disability law.