Racism and “Categorical Manipulation” in Disability Status in Education


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A new study by two scholars at the University of Kansas shows that when groups who have enjoyed status and prestige for a long time are forced to accept outsiders into their customary categories, they can move down to what formerly was a less prime slot and use their influence to redefine the terms of categorization. The authors of the study how one city school district moved upper-class White students from the least stigmatizing and well-resourced disability categories into what, at the time, was the least desirable category when a court order forced desegregation in the 1970s and minority st...