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Excerpt from Clinical Practice Today (March 2015)
Below is an excerpt from a recent "Clinical Practice Today" article. NASW Members can view the full article by clicking here (you must be logged in). Not a member? Join NASW

Disability as a Cultural Position

Edited by Bet MacArthur, LICSW

“There is another world, but it is in this one.” –poet Paul Eluard (1939)

There is much more that our profession must learn, and do, to advance understanding about disability experience and disability culture. While social workers have learned to be inclusive regarding ‘race,’ ethnicity, age, class and gender topics, we have yet to see disability experience and culture as similarly universal concerns.

Consider a Federal conference on disability held in California several years ago, at which governmental leaders and private educational institutions presented serious discussions and public policy proposals – where not one single government or academic professional with a disability was tapped either to plan or to present at the conference!

Had that meeting set out to work on policies affecting any other social minority, such bias and exclusion would have been opposed. Indeed, public protests by people with disabilities and their allies did take place outside the doors of the conference and elsewhere, but the media would not mention them.

This column seeks to address the cultural divide between people with disabilities (PWD) and our mainstream. These ideas are unfamiliar, complex, and controversial for most people, who have been schooled in mainstream values to hold a comparative perspective on disability which is ultimately oppressive.


Full article includes...

  • Who declares the injury?
  • “I’m not Disabled!”
  • Encourage Community
  • A New World
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