If any white person were to openly declare that having black skin is a disability, he or she would immediately be dubbed a racist and would probably end up blacklisted from the labor pool. But a black law professor from Fordham University in New York City has reportedly made such a claim as part of a new strategy to counter what she sees as “systemic racism” in American society.
In her own words, Kimani Paul-Emile believes that being black in the United States has a “disabling effect” on a person that’s “distinct from the effects of socioeconomic status.” In other words, she sees the color of one’s skin, apart from every other factor, as being inherently crippling whenever it isn’t white – so much so that having black skin should fall under the legal designation of a disability, in her view.
Published in the Georgetown Law Journal, a paper written by Paul-Emile argues that both civil rights law and Supreme Court jurisprudence have been ineffective in rooting out modern-day racial injustice. So the next step for black people is to resort to disability law, which Paul-Emile believes could be a more effective legal means to combat racism in society.
“Understanding Blackness as disabling brings to the fore a surprising new approach to addressing discrimination and systemic inequality that has been hiding in plain sight: disability law,” Paul-Emile writes in her lengthy and angry diatribe. “[I]t has failed to combat the predominant forms of discrimination that now harm minority populations: unconscious bias, stereotyping, and structural inequality.”
The implication here that people are automatically lesser-than when their skin is black is inherently racist. But Paul-Emile apparently believes that such a designation will achieve greater life outcomes for the black population, which she sees as being constantly discriminated against even when no actual discrimination is happening.
Her writing implies that black people need to seek out any means by which to gain an upper hand, even if it means crying racism when there isn’t any actual racism. This seems to be her goal in pushing more blacks to take advantage of disability law, which is far more reaching in scope as to what it covers.
“Rather than focusing on malicious intent, disability law accepts the impact of even neutral actions, policies, and programs, directly confronting the ways in which social structures, institutions, and norms can ‘substantially limit’ a person’s ability to perform ‘a major life activity,'” she explains.
But would these same stipulations also apply to brown people like Hispanics? And what about if a person with white skin made a similar proposal about black people being disabled simply because they’re black? Would that be acceptable? Paul-Emile was apparently asked these questions by The College Fix, but has not procured a response.
This is probably because she doesn’t have one, seeing as how she believes that the very designation of “black” was “designed” to be disabling to whomever it is applied.
“Racial categories were created explicitly to serve as a caste system to privilege some and disadvantage others,” Paul-Emile insists, even though actual science suggests that there’s actually only one race.
“To be Black means facing increased likelihood, relative to Whites, of living in poverty, attending failing schools, experiencing discrimination in housing, being denied a job interview, being stopped by the police, being killed during a routine police encounter, receiving inferior medical care, living in substandard conditions and in dangerous and/or polluted environments, being un- or underemployed, receiving longer prison sentences, and having a lower life expectancy,” she adds.
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