Developing Diversity and Equal Opportunity: Why the Disability Perspective Matters
Paul Steven Miller
University of Washington School of Law
Publications of the Modern Language Association, Vol. 120, No. 2, p. 634, March 2005
Historically, the disability civil rights movement has been invisible. While the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) changed the American landscape, the experience of disabled persons is one that is often not heard in the public sphere and often neglected in the academic community. Though the ADA is appropriately and frequently compared to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the law grows out of a different cultural and historical experience. While the race civil rights movement was broadcast into living rooms around the nation, the disability rights movement, by contrast, went largely unnoticed, without public discussion or attention to the issues that confront disabled individuals on a daily basis. When the ADA was enacted, employers and businesses came under new regulations often without understanding the important contextual history of disability civil rights. As a result, the ADA has come to be defined primarily in relation to economic expenditures rather than moral terms. Miller argues that universities must address this inadequacy by allowing for a program of interdisciplinary disability studies such that the legal rights of disabled persons are seen within the larger, historical and social context of disability identity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 5
Keywords: ADA, IDEA, disability studies, disability, civil rights, disability identityAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 24, 2009
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