Community psychologists have called for research on human diversity and interactions between individuals and society with a focus on oppression. This study examines learning disabilities as they co-occur with other sociopolitical minority statuses. We examined dominant cultural narratives of and individual responses to learning disability, race/ethnicity and gender identified by low-income men and women of color with learning disabilities. Our qualitative analysis identified cultural narratives that suggest that: (1a) individuals with learning disabilities are perceived as having an illegitimate impairment and being of lower intellectual ability and unworthy; (1b) having an invisible disability facilitates passing as nondisabled, thereby lessening disability discrimination from within racial/ethnic groups; (1c) having a learning disability detracts from positive gender expectations and exacerbates negative ones; and (1d) gender and racial/ethnic narratives are relevant for individuals with learning disabilities. Our analysis also identified two overarching individual acts of resistance used to thwart internalization of oppressive cultural narratives: (2a) removing self from oppressive environments and (2b) reframing dominant cultural narratives (including discounting the validity of negative messages, using negative narratives for motivation, and engaging in positive self-talk). We discuss findings in relation to extant research and theory and consider implications for research, theory, and practice.
- Sociocultural diversity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Applied Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health