Disability and Passing
Blurring the Lines of Identity
Publication Year: 2013
Passing—an act usually associated with disguising race—also relates to disability. Whether a person classified as mentally ill struggles to suppress aberrant behavior to appear "normal" or a person falsely claims a disability to gain some advantage, passing is a pervasive and much discussed phenomenon. Nevertheless, Disability and Passing is the first anthology to examine this issue.
The editors and contributors to this volume explore the intersections of disability, race, gender, and sexuality as these various aspects of identity influence each other and make identity fluid. They argue that the line between disability and normality is blurred, discussing disability as an individual identity and as a social category. And they discuss the role of stigma in decisions about whether or not to pass.
Focusing on the United States from the nineteenth century to the present, the essays in Disability and Passing speak to the complexity of individual decisions about passing and open the conversation for broader discussion.
Contributors include: Dea Boster, Allison Carey, Peta Cox, Kristen Harmon, David Linton, Michael Rembis, and the editors.
Published by: Temple University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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THE EDITORS THANK the contributors for their hard work and high-quality essays. All of them demonstrated a commit-ment to the project and worked hard to advance our understand-ing of this important topic. Our appreciation also goes to Craig Royal for allowing us to use his artwork on the cover. Janet Francendese at Temple University Press was a most reliable editor and kept things moving. Finally, we especially thank Kim Nielsen, who played a key ...
1. Introduction - Jeffrey A. Brune and Daniel J. Wilson
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DISABILITY PASSING is a complex and wide-ranging topic. Most oft en, the term refers to the way people conceal social markers of impairment to avoid the stigma of disability and pass as “normal.”1 However, it also applies to other ways people manage their identities, which can include exaggerating a condition to get some type of benefi t or care. Going further, disability passing encompasses the ways that others impose, intentionally or not, a specifi c disability or non-...
2. Passing in the Shadow of FDR: Polio Survivors, Passing, and the Negotiation of Disability - Daniel J. Wilson
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THE AMERICAN WRITER and novelist Wilfred Sheed spent many years following his case of polio attempting to disguise the fact that he was disabled. He noted that most individuals with handicaps “fi nd themselves faced as one with the same task,” which is to “make the world, and ourselves, forget for as long and as oft en as pos-sible that there has ever been anything wrong with us: to be, in other words, ‘great pitchers,’ and not just ‘great one-armed pitchers.’”1 Some ...
3. The Multiple Layers of Disability Passing in Life, Literature, and Public Discourse - Jeffrey A. Brune
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MOST OF THE TIME we think about passing on a concrete level—for example, an act by which someone conceals or over-looks the presence of disability in the body. However, passing also occurs on a more abstract level, as authors and audiences overlook the presence of disability in texts and in public discourse. It is this form of abstract passing that infl uences and suppresses discussions of dis-ability. Th e “passing” of disability from texts and public discourses fre-...
4. The Menstrual Masquerade - David Linton
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THE SOCIAL menstrual ecology is a most peculiar environment, full of contradictions, ambiguities, and layers of cultural con-struction. More than half the population of the globe is pre-sumed to be a future menstruator, a periodic menstruator, or a former menstruator, yet at the same time, all of the members of the menstrual class are expected, even required at the risk of shame, embarrassment, Th e importance of passing as a non-menstruator—we might call it ...
5. “I Made Up My Mind to Act Both Deaf and Dumb”: Displays of Disability and Slave Resistance in the Antebellum American South - Dea H. Boster
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IN 1839, Jacob D. Green, a domestic slave and errand boy on a large plantation in Maryland, made his fi rst attempt to run away from his master. Th e resourceful Green had begun to use deception and tricks at a young age to torment his white masters and get revenge on fellow slaves who humiliated or wronged him, but, in Green’s words, “I fi rmly believed to run away from my master would be to sin against the Holy Ghost.” However, aft er his wife of six years—a former concubine of their ...
6. Passing as Sane, or How to Get People to Sit Next to You on the Bus - Peta Cox
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FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, I have been taking public trans-port in Sydney, Australia. I ride on buses, trains, and the occa-sional ferry.1 My experiences have prompted me to develop the the middle distance is fi ne. Try not to show your agitation by from your book or focus point every ten seconds, fi x your eyes the sound off to indicate an awareness of other passengers, is of your jacket; rather, lean against a wall or balance pole with ...
7. Athlete First: A Note on Passing, Disability, and Sport - Michael A. Rembis
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FOR SOME DISABLED PEOPLE, being viewed as an athlete fi rst is the ultimate compliment, and the ultimate goal. Deborah, for example, likes to think of herself as a “sports . . . person—not as a woman—and not as disabled.” She adds, “It’s very hard work, but I like to feel strong and powerful and that’s how I win gold medals—in the same way able-bodied people do.”1 Th e Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Jim Abbott reportedly once said, “I never told myself that I ...
8. The Sociopolitical Contexts of Passing and Intellectual Disability - Allison C. Carey
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INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES face an environment fraught with contradictions regarding whether one should try to pass as non-disabled, develop disability pride and resist passing, or deconstruct and disregard the binary construction of disability–ability altogether. Th e study of passing is oft en approached from the perspective of social psychology, involving a consideration of why and how individuals engage in the active manipulation of their identity. However, the very ...
9. Growing Up to Become Hearing: Dreams of Passing in Oral Deaf Education - Kristen C. Harmon
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...“Now she is deaf, and it doesn’t seem real; it doesn’t seem like SOME YEARS AGO, my mother and I were talking about what it meant for us that I had been educated and raised in the “pure oral method.”1 At that time, I was in graduate school at a large Mid-western university and supporting myself through a teaching fellow-ship. Even when my students—all hearing, all polite—sat in a circle and raised their hands when they wanted to talk, I guessed at what they ...
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Page Count: 218
Publication Year: 2013