Dysconscious Ableism: De-Linking Elementary Curriculum from the Colonizing Forces of Ableism

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:06
Oral Presentation
The “miseducation of teachers” suggests King (p.133, 1991) contributes to the persistent perpetuation of “dysconscious racism”. According to King “dysconsciousness is an uncritical habit of mind… that justifies inequity and exploitation by accepting the existing order of things as given” that has a profound impact on the relationships amongst students and teachers (p.135, 1991). The purpose of my paper is to explore the ways “dysconscious racism” and “dysconscious” ableism are inextricably linked and mutually supportive of sustaining colonialism. This paper will apply the work of decolonial thinkers such as Mignolo (2000, 2011) as well as indigenous scholars such as Million (2013) along with scholars in critical disabilities studies such as Goodley (2007, 2013, 2014) to assessment and evaluation guidelines that persist in sustaining a hierarchy of what counts as human through the implementation ‘best practices’ in childhood pedagogy. I conduct this analysis in order to reveal how our education system remains rooted in a colonialism that impacts our youngest learners through process of exclusion and/or conditional inclusion. Further, I consider how both the study of dysconscious racism and ableism offer fruitful possibilities to mutually contribute to a re-imagining of what might be possible in a reconfiguring of the current educational landscape. In these ways my paper demonstrates the import of “delinking” from the “colonial matrix of power” (Mignollo, p.8-9, 2011) through a framework that includes disability studies; and avoids the trap of perpetuating ableism along with exclusionary hierarchies sustained in the power imbalances within our relationships to each other.