It’s actually pretty damned clever — which is not say it’s not also idiotic. Kimani Paul-Emile, a law professor at Fordham University, published an article in December in Fordham Law News that argues that being black “is disabling in a myriad of specific ways”:
To be Black means facing increased likelihood, relative to Whites, of living in poverty, attending failing schools, experiencing discrimination in housing, being denied a job interview, being stopped by the police, being killed during a routine police encounter, receiving inferior medical care, living in substandard conditions and in dangerous and/or polluted environments, being un- or underemployed, receiving longer prison sentences, and having a lower life expectancy. These increased risks are not fully explained by income: Blackness in the United States has an independent disabling effect distinct from the effects of socioeconomic status.
Neither “race-focused civil rights laws” or “the Supreme Court’s equal protection jurisprudence,” she goes on to submit, have been effective in addressing race discrimination. Why? Because they fail to “combat the predominant forms of discrimination that now harm minority populations: unconscious bias, stereotyping, and … inequities rooted within social systems and institutions that create inequality in the absence of intentional discrimination.”
Paul-Emile acknowledges that blacks may initially balk at the idea of viewing themselves as “disabled.” However, she notes, the “D tag” has its upsides. Chief among them is that disability law doesn’t require plaintiffs to “show that the harm they’ve suffered was intentional.”
The chief legal instruments for filing a “black disability” claim already exist, Paul-Emile explains, in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act). These laws, she writes, “were drafted to remedy interpersonal and structural discrimination against individuals with disabling conditions. Moreover:
[D]isability law shifts antidiscrimination measures away from zero-sum battles over liability and blame and toward balancing efforts to ensure full equality with any burden such efforts might impose.
I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me there are already laws on the books that are designed to treat blacks as handicapped. Affirmative action springs to mind. As to the hardships that blacks endure disproportionately, one big one — black fathers going AWOL — is indigenous to the black population in America. It’s hard to justify a settlement from taxpayer funds being awarded to a single black mother who claims she is “disabled” because she sired a child with a deadbeat.
(h/t College Fix)