The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Disability: Implications for Adulthood Outcomes in African American Men

Topics: African American, Barack Obama, Black people Pages: 20 (4743 words) Published: June 3, 2015

The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Disability: Implications for Adulthood Outcomes in African American Men A Review of the Literature
Amanda B. Banks
Virginia Tech, School of Education

Author Note
This paper was prepared for EDCI 5134, Gender and Education, taught by Dr. Jennifer Bondy.

In this review, I examine ways in which researchers have defined and measured adulthood outcomes for African American males who experience the intersection of race, gender, and disability. Researchers Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach (2008), as well as an increasing number of scholars in the field of race an ethnic studies, refer to these variables as subordinate-group identities because members of such groups have historically been oppressed in a White male-dominated society. Systematic structures in America’s education, health care, and vocational rehabilitation systems, as well as invisible racism inherent at both the micro and macro levels of society, produce and perpetuate the disparity that exists between disabled African American men and every other race and gender in American society. Although nearly all of the studies in this review agree that the outlook for disabled African American males is bleak, literature needs to further examine how high risk factors associated with marginalization come together to create oppression. According to researchers, these variables, which are often referred to as subordinate identities, have profound effects on heath care, socioeconomic status, and independent living. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: intersectionality, developmental disability, subordinate-group identities

The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Disability: Implications for Adulthood Outcomes in African American Men A Review of the Literature
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013) the percentage of non-institutionalized Black males with disabilities, regardless of ethnicity or educational background, was 13.4% in 2012 and represented approximately half of the total percentage of Black Americans living below the poverty line that year. The intersection of race and gender profoundly impacts African American males and often results in their marginalization to the periphery of American society. According to Blanchett, Klinger, and Harry (2009), when disability is added to the mix, poverty is often an inevitable consequence. The authors assert that the insurmountable effects of racism, as well as the physical and emotional challenges of disability, may be powerful and far-reaching. The historical mistreatment of Black males in America, as well as modern day systems of discrimination and widespread resegregation, leave this segment of our population in a deadlocked bind (Blanchett et al., 2009).

Research on outcomes for African American men has employed a wide variety of sampling methods, samples, populations, criteria, and theoretical approaches. Nearly all studies have arrived at a similar consensus: African American males begin life at a distinct disadvantage due to societal inequities that exist regardless of the socioeconomic or educational status of their families (Artiles, 2013). Pervasive inequity follows this population through life, changing form and effect as boys grow into men. The intersection of additional factors such disability and poverty make this population of Americans exceptionally vulnerable to a double, triple, or even quadruple jeopardy effect of societal discrimination (s-Vaughn & Eibach, 2008). These men are faced with all-encompassing disparities relating not only to race, but to other parts of the human condition such as gender, disability, and social class. Researchers have collectively defined and measured adult outcomes for African American men with disabilities, in the following categories: socioeconomic status, health care, and independent living. Statistical analyses on adulthood outcomes for this...

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