Researchers Purdue-Vaughan & Beach (2008), as well as an increasing number of scholars in the field of ace an ethnic studies, refer to these variables as subordinate-group identities because members of such groups have historically been oppressed in a White male-dominated society. Systematic structures in America’s education, health care, and vocational rehabilitation systems, as well as invisible racism inherent at both the micro and macro levels of society, produce and perpetuate the disparity that exists between disc bled African American men and every other race and gender in American society.
Although nearly all of the studies in this review agree that the outlook for kissable African American males is bleak, literature needs to further examine how high risk factors associated with normalization come together to create oppression. According to researchers, these variables, which are often referred to as subordinate identities, have profound effects on heath care, socioeconomic status, and independent living. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
Keynoters: internationality, developmental disability, subordinate-group identities The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Disability: Implications for Adulthood According to the U. S. Census Bureau (2013) the percentage of non- institutionalized Black males With disabilities, regardless of ethnicity or educational background, was 13. 4% in 201 2 and represented approximately half of the total percentage Of Black Americans living below the poverty line that year. The intersection of race and gender profoundly impacts African American males and often results in their normalization to the periphery of American society.
According to Blanched, Clinger, and Harry (2009), when disability is added to the mix, poverty is often an inevitable consequence. The authors assert that the insurmountable effects of racism, as well as the hysterical and emotional challenges of disability, may be powerful and far reaching. The historical mistreatment of Black males in America, as well as modern day systems of discrimination and widespread resignation, leave this segment of our population in a deadlocked bind (Blanched et al. , 2009).
Research on outcomes for African American men has employed a wide variety of sampling methods, samples, populations, criteria, and theoretical approaches. Nearly all studies have arrived at a similar consensus: African American males begin life at a distinct disadvantage due to societal inequities hat exist regardless of the socioeconomic or educational status of their families (Articles, 2013). Pervasive inequity follows this population through life, changing form and effect as boys grow into men.
The intersection of additional factors such disability and poverty make this population of Americans exceptionally vulnerable to a double, triple, or even quadruple jeopardy effect of societal discrimination (s-Vaughn & Beach, 2008). These men are faced with all-encompassing disparities relating not only to race, but to other parts of the human condition such as gender, disability, and social class. Researchers have collectively defined and measured adult outcomes for African American men with disabilities, in the following categories: socioeconomic Status, health care, and independent living.
Statistical analyses on adulthood outcomes for this population have been primarily addressed by federal entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U. S. Census Bureau. These governmental studies annually compare outcomes for African American men with those of White males in similar demographic categories, as well as provide statistical comparisons to African American women and both genders of other races.
Alternatively, scholars in the fields of ethnography, disability studies, and sociology have largely conducted qualitative inquiry into issues that predominantly affect the lives of African American men who live in a state of “multiple jeopardy/’ (Purdue-Vaughan & Beach, 2008). Qualitative research has relied heavily on case study and firsthand anecdotal accounts of African American men and members of the African American community. Interestingly, surveys have not been commonly employed as an instrument for measuring success of adulthood experiences for this population.
Alternatively, research involving adulthood outcomes for other segments of the disabled American population, such as white males with autism, rely heavily on survey instruments as a means to collect and measure data (Henning & Taylor, 2013). In this review, incorporate prevailing studies that represent each Of the principal adulthood outcome areas of research. I used a two prong search approach: (1) reviewed a number of literature databases; and (2) conducted backwards citation searches of recent reviews focused on outcomes of African American males with disabilities (Henning & Taylor, 013).
Studies were included if they (1) systematically evaluated an aspect of adulthood outcome that has a significant impact on overall quality of life; (2) integrated the micro and macro level impact of society on these effects; and (3) provided information relevant to the exploration of internationality. Although a number of other pressing issues facing African American men with disabilities such as the high incidence of police-related violence, incarceration, and premature mortality are of considerable importance, studies regarding these issues are not included in this literature review.
This review will answer several thought-provoking questions about the adulthood experiences and outlook for African American men. In order to explore social structures that perpetuate normalization, this review will address the following questions: 1. Does the frequent misrepresentation and overrepresented of African American males in public special education programs contribute to their eventual low socioeconomic status and relegation to the periphery of American society? . Does disparity between the quality and scope of health care and vocational rehabilitation available to African American men versus White males account for increased, long-term unemployment for African American men? 3. To what degree are disabled African American adult males able to live independent, self-determined lives? Within answers to these questions may lie the potential for ameliorating longstanding problems facing this specific minority group.
The process of rich, thought-provoking inquiry often unravels complexities to their roots. Such an approach is necessary in the case of bringing relief and answers to a vulnerable target population. Historical Position of the African American Male in U. S. History According to Nail Lewis, activist member of the National Federation of the Blind, African American men living with disability “realize the exponential challenge of being a member of a disenfranchised population within a disenfranchised population” (2014, p. ). Disconnectedness from mainstream American society, which Lewis (2014) aptly describes as “disenfranchisement” has a long, convoluted historical basis. Not only do African American men who are born with or develop a disorder cope with the disadvantages of being Black and male in American society, but they also grapple with the longstanding reorganization of people who are physically or cognitively impaired. Lexis’s arguments lean more toward the additive approach to internationality.
For example, he discusses the socioeconomic outcome for persons with disabilities as being significantly lower than that of able-bodied Americans (Lewis, 2014). In this case, Lewis is treating socioeconomic status as a dependent variable and disability as an independent variable that acts as the best predictor of poverty for persons with substantial disability, regardless of race or other factors. Lewis (2014) goes on to discuss the vast challenges that re added to the lives of African American men with disabilities, based on the color of their skin.
Being born predestined to disadvantage because of race and gender, then emerging into the category of disabled as the result of a degenerative ocular disease, Nail Lewis (2014) embodies a unique perspective on poverty as an inevitable circumstance of social oppression. Author Antonio Ellis (2012) makes a strong argument that black males living in America have for centuries struggled with systematic prejudice surrounding race and gender.
According to Ellis (2012), Coping with racism and discovering adaptive possibilities within the African American way of being are psychological challenges unique to the African American male because of his novel heritage, which combines African and American traditions within a context of nearly 400 years (p. 2). According to Ellis (2012) Black men have been stereotyped as dark figures, hyperplasia, felonious, and of inferior intelligence. Misguided fear and mystique have long surrounded the image of the Black male as he has precariously navigated through a society that is watchful of his every move (Ferguson, 2001).
This ultra-vigilance extends to virtually every public space in U. S. Society, from neighborhoods, to shopping malls, to classrooms, and beyond. The American judicial ideal of innocent until proven guilty, historically and in the present, fails to apply to African American males (Ellis, 2012). In his writings, Ellis discusses the complexities that surround being Black, male, and disabled, as he himself has dealt with the challenges of a speech and language impairment.
He discusses the extent to which these variable are interactive and collectively result in “Black men holding back tears” of shame and despair in a hopeless system of perpetual discrimination (Ellis, 2012. P. 7). African American Males and Mis/ Overrepresented in Special Education In his 201 3 article Alfred Articles asserts, “Racial disproportionately in some disability categories continues to affect a sizable number of minority students across the United States, with dire long-term consequences for the educational trajectories of these learners. This applies to the African American male more than any other category of student served under IDEA (Blanched et al. , 2009). Articles (2013) examines the “rationalization of disability’ through the lens of internationality and cites the shortcomings of traditional sociological, cultural, and medical models in explaining the magnitude of racial inequity in special education. This preeminent scholar asserts that while the incidence of disability is measurably higher for African American males, these individuals are further disadvantaged by being placed in inappropriate disability categories at alarming rates (Articles, 2013).
Accordingly, the intersecting variables of race, gender, poverty, and disability work categorically to oppress African American males in every aspect of their lives, beginning with public education. Researchers Blanched et al. (2009) hare similar views on the issues of misidentification and overrepresented in special education, but lean toward a more unitary or additive approach in explaining the repercussions of internationality.
For example, Blanched et al. (2009) contend that being African American alone does not result in an increased risk for acquiring a disability, but the additive effect of poverty brings the probability full circle. This team of researchers points to the cumulative effects of subordinate identities to explain the overarching oppression suffered by an overwhelming majority of disabled African American men (Blanched et al. 2009).
The highest degree of disproportion for Black males exists in the category of Intellectual Disability (ID) as opposed to the other 12 types of federally, recognized disability categories (U. S. Census Bureau, 2012). According to Blanched et al. , “African Americans are more than twice as likely as students of other ethnicities to be identified with ID (2009, p. 395). ” In the past decade, the number of children diagnosed with ID has been steadily decreasing for every minority group except that of African American (Articles, 2013).
Two other common disability categories that reveal an overrepresented f African American males are Emotional Behavioral Disorder (BED) and Specific Learning Disability (SLD). As in the case of misdiagnoses of ID, an inflated number of Black boys are erroneously labeled as having BED or SLD (Articles, 2013). White female teachers’ low levels of awareness and sensitivity to Black culture, as well as their sometimes preconceived or unconscious judgments of African American males leads to referring them to special education Child Study teams for possible BED (Miller, 2013).
Using information from Blanched et al. ‘s (2009) research have organized in Table 1 low, possible factors that may account for the overrepresented of African American males in special education, and their misrepresentation in the disability categories of ID, SLD, or BED: Table I Independent Variables Examples Outcomes for African American Males Poverty -Environmental effects (e. G. Dead paint exposure and violence; poor prenatal care; inadequate medical care -Increased incidence of developmental disability such as ID Health Care Disparities -When income and education level of African families are controlled for, differences remain in the scope of quality of health care for Blacks and Whites in the IIS (Articles, 2013). Poorer outcome of chronic, disabling conditions. Increased probability of acquiring a disability across the lifespan (citation) Assumptions about intelligence -Long-standing belief that African Americans have intellectual deficits -IQ tests has long been culturally and linguistically biased. Increased likelihood that an individual will be labeled with ID, an SLD, or an BED Teacher Effectiveness -White female teachers are inherently biased against and fearful of African American males. -Because of cultural/gender chasm, between White female teachers and African American males, teachers are not able to adequately purport and educate African American males. -Inappropriate approaches to positively managing the behavioral and educational needs of African American male students -Excessive referrals to the Child Study process. Excessive referrals to the special education eligibility process -Overrepresented in special education, with inappropriate disability categorization A Mismatched Education is Not an Appropriate Education Researchers Atkinson-Bradley, Johnson, Aras’s, and Plunked (2006) argue that the misalignment of special education services due to erroneously applied disability labels often results in unfortunate, lifelong consequences or many Black men.
The inadequacy of education commonly received by young, disabled Black males frequently relates to racism and gender, and perpetuates the cycle of poverty (Atkinson-Bradley et al. , 2006). Much like Articles (2013), Atkinson-Bradley et al. (2006) approach the theory Of internationality from a multiplicative angle: the dual impact of race and disability results in the normalization of African American men into the stronghold of poverty. Whereas Blanched et al. (2009) view internationality as additive, Atkinson-Braided et al. 2006) assert that disability and race are interdependently related. Their collective impact is greater than their sum. These scholars appeal to school counselors, contending that for an overwhelming majority of African Americans, being poor, undereducated, and disabled leads to two specific adulthood outcomes: dependence on federally- funded programs, and significantly limited opportunities for worthwhile employment (Atkinson-Braided et al. , 2006). Unfortunately, poverty is a proverbial gift that keeps on giving.
Early in the lives of disabled Black males, American society channels them into dependence on government-subsidized orgasm instead of offering education-based preparation for fulfilling, self- determined adulthood. According to author Antonio Ellis, disabled Black male students have “lost the game before they begin to play (2012, p. 17)”. He argues that disability alone, especially in the case of disorders that impact language, does not in itself lead to compromised educational outcomes.
Factors such as “ideologically prejudiced educational environments, social spaces, and institutional intolerance” (Ellis, 201 2, p. 1 7) Often force the disengagement of Black male students from essential instruction. Similar to Lewis (2014), Antonio Ellis (2012) exposes the extent to which Black males are often destined to lives of psychological despair and normalization because schools channel them into paths that further disable them and lead to unemployment or substandard employment.
Alfred Articles (2013) asserts that not only does mislabel African American students result in inappropriate, ineffective instruction, but these students are often placed in self-contained classrooms, segregated from their same-aged peers in the general education environment. Articles (2013) contends that this occurs with AR more frequency than for White students with similar types of disabilities. Deficiencies in literacy and innumeracy that occur as a result of unproductive education in isolated spaces have profound effects on future income and adults’ success in navigating society (Blanched et al. 2009). Ineffective, Intermittent Health Care versus Authentic, Beneficial Health Care Racism is rampant in the U. S. Healthcare system, and the lack of essential medical intervention and therapies compound the challenges faced by many Black men as they enter adulthood without the adequate skills, physical ability, or elf-esteem to find and maintain gainful employment (Maddox, n. D. ). According to researchers Atkinson-Bradley et al. 2006), in the case of an early onset of disability, occurring during the developmental phase from birth to 22 years of age, African American males are much less likely than Black females or both genders of other races to be correctly diagnosed or to even receive a diagnosis. Additionally, Black males are significantly more likely than African American females or both genders Of Other races, to develop a disability during their lifetime (Inurn-Jester, Thorpe, & Fuller-Thomson, 2011 This unfortunate predisposition begins in the womb, and lasts well into the late years of life (Inurn-Jester et al. 2011). In addition to the factors of race and gender, 90 percent of the disparity in prevalence of disability between Black and White men is related to income and education (Inurn-Jester et al. , 201 1, p. 678). They support their claim by explaining that even after adjustments are made to variables that include disability type, age, commodity, and health behaviors, these differences continue (Inurn-Jester et al. , 201 1). Smelled, Stitch, and Nelson (2003) share a viewpoint similar to that f Inurn-Jester et al. 2011) about the devastating effects of the internationality of race and gender. In contrast to the latter, Smelled et al (2003) contend that even when factors such as patients’ insurance status and income are controlled “Black males receive subpart medical care in comparison with their White males counterparts” (p. 1). These authors convey the discriminatory practices of medical care providers and point out the racial disparities in U. S. Health care as possible civil rights violations (Smelled et al. , 2003).
Black and White Disparities in Rehabilitative Services According to researcher Jason Skuzzy (2004), from the very start of the eligibility process for rehabilitative services, race is an predictor Of whether an individual will qualify for support that could make or break his chances for future employment. The magnitude of the relationship be;en race and eligibility for vocational services is not clear, but race itself is indisputably a factor in persons failing to gain the essential assistance they need (Skuzzy, 2004).
Even when individuals succeed in qualifying for vocational services, Skuzzy (2004), there is definite, measurable discrepancy in the “scope, quality, ND delivery of services” available to African American men versus White men (p. 11). According to Skuzzy (2004): When other variables such as socioeconomic status, level of education, and past employment are controlled for, the rate of employment for African- Americans with disabilities remains far below that of disabled White men.
The fact that a disparity exists when all other significant variable factors are controlled for indicates a strong possibility that the key issue is racial in nature (p. 16). According to Balaclava, Oberon, Square-Balzac, & Alveolar (201 2), “In sum, congruent with previous studies, African Americans are less keel to experience positive rehabilitation outcomes and more likely to be closed from referral and application when compared to Whites” (p. 9). Once African-Americans with disabilities complete vocational rehabilitation training and begin to seek employment or employment services, barriers can thwart their best efforts and overwhelm the most dedicated job seeker (Balzac et 2012). In reviewing the literature, firsthand accounts of disabled African American men struggling to make a gainful living reinforce researchers’ hypotheses about the race-gender effect Of discrimination. Lonely and
Kennedy (2002) provide a riveting account of how discrimination is often perpetuated by the individuals and professionals who are entrusted to serve the best interests of exceptional African American men. The consensus of these researchers (Lonely and Kennedy, 2002), like that of their leading colleagues in the fields of race and disability studies, is that the variables of race, gender, and disability often merge to create an insurmountable barrier to socioeconomic self-sufficiency for disabled Black men.
Independent Living: Motivation and Self-Determination Socially imposed roadblocks that disabled Black men often encounter at very turn reduce their chances of independent living and reaching a level of self-esteem and motivation needed to create and attain personal goals. One can imagine the practical factors that determine how well individuals with disabilities may successfully manage day to day life in a dwelling of their own: socioeconomic stability; competence with adaptive living skills; ability to initiate interaction with service providers; and access to locations of employment, services, and merchants.
Findings from a recent study conducted by scholars studying the New Jersey transit system reinforce the importance of public transportation in urban areas that are primarily inhabited by minority populations (Desk & Lubing, 2012). Individuals coping with racial oppression and disability tend to live a greater distance from their jobs than do their able-bodied, White counterparts (Desk & Cubic, 2012). Transportation is but one important factor of successful independent living. As we have seen in this review, socioeconomic status can be greatly influenced by internationality and discrimination.
Vocational rehabilitation and employment success rates are especially low for African American men with exceptional challenges (Skuzzy, 2004). Normalization within educational spaces leads to perpetual loss for many of these individuals. Mismatched instruction and isolation in school has a large impact on their adulthood outcomes. The collective effect of these experiences works against the likelihood that African American males will grow up to be self-sufficient, self- determined, and self-assured. What is Fair and Right, is Fair and Right for All” – Solomon Northup, 1853 Timeless words for going foamed At a time in American history when the opportunity is ripe for a lessening of the stronghold of discrimination, we see only hollow attempts at the federal bevel. With the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president six years ago, many Americans waited with baited breath for signs of the long-anticipated dissolution of racism in our country. We are still waiting.
We are breathing now, although with sighs of disappointment that racism and discrimination remain alive and well in our society. For individuals who are impacted professionally and personally by subordinate identities that include disability, it is concretely apparent that Barack Beam’s proposed Section 508 and his Champions of Change, Winning the Future Across America program do not contain a single strategy for ameliorating change for this group. In fact, disability is treated as one huge, homogeneous condition rather than a wide spectrum of highly diverse and unique disorders.
In the 2,265 words that comprise the disability section of President Beam’s Champions of Change website, there are only two references to specific types of disability: students and recent college graduates with disabilities, and the blind. Most likely, a college degree recipient is not intellectually disabled, and those with who are blind face very different challenges than persons with motional-behavioral disorders. The delineations of disparity between disability categories are infinite.
Beam’s areas of focus and change sound promising: “improved healthcare, increased employment opportunities, expanded educational opportunities, protected civil rights, and the promotion of access to community living’ (Obama, 2014). However, there is no reference to race, or even a disability category predominantly comprised by a racially oppressed group. Those of us compelled to advocate for populations suffering from the intersection of subordinate group identities must turn our Ochs from governmental change toward other means through which genuine reconstruction can be borne.
Block, Balzac, and Keys (2002), emphasize the need for the development of an effective modern day social ideology to counteract the historical oppression Of persons who have endured the interjectional impact of race, gender, disability, and poverty. Block et al. (2002) support their claim by examining the subtle yet powerful and longstanding effects of devastating movements such as Eugenics and Hitter’s White Supremacy. The authors provide a historical overview of the impact of white dominance on persons with interjectional factors.
Similar to Ellis (201 2), authors Block et al. (2002) exert a great deal of effort in unpacking the complicated underpinnings of interjectional oppression. They appeal to scholars in the areas of ethnic studies and disabilities studies to draw on the information they provide in their article (Block et al. , 2002) to explore new ways of thinking through new research. A new social ideology is needed to break down the tangled snares of racism and general prejudice that consistently and insidiously tear certain segments populations from the very fabric of society.