News & Politics

Professor Argues 'Blackness' Should Be Treated as a Disability

Hundreds of people demonstrate against racism in Times Square on Martin Luther King (MLK) Day in New York, NY, on January 15, 2018. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

A professor at Fordham University has a radical idea on how to deal with race relations in America. As if the trillions of terabytes of information on the internet regarding the subject weren’t enough, Kimani Paul-Emile has stumbled onto the secret answer: black people should be treated as disabled.

No, this is not from some adherent to Richard Spencer or some other flavor of white supremacist. This is from a black woman.

What Paul-Emile is thinking isn’t so much that blacks are disabled, but that they should be treated as disabled. Part of her argument is based on the legal standards for determining discrimination against disabled people being lower than for race. In particular, attorneys don’t have to prove discrimination against the disabled is intentional.

“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.’ It thus requires that even discrimination based on unacknowledged bias be addressed,” wrotePaul-Emile, according to our friends at The College Fix.

Obviously, there’s a key difference. When dealing with matters of race, things get murky. In the case of a disabled person unable to enter a public building because there’s no wheelchair ramp, the intention is irrelevant because the damages are obvious.

If someone had suggested that black people be treated as disabled even 50 years ago, many people would have been enraged. The implication that goes along with disabled status — and I say this as someone who has suffered from a disability my entire life — is that something is somehow wrong with you, that you’re less than ideal. From a simple learning disability like mine to a quadriplegic, something doesn’t quite work the way things intended.

Do black people, or minorities in general, really want to be party to this?

I don’t think so.

What she’s arguing for may well be opening Pandora’s Box. Let’s hope she quickly rethinks this nonsense.