The Unteachables: Disability Rights and the Invention of Black Special Education

Written by:
Keith A. Mayes
Narrated by:
Terrence Kidd

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2023
13 hours 12 minutes
The Unteachables examines the overrepresentation of Black students in special education over the course of the twentieth century. As African American children integrated predominantly white schools, many were disproportionately labeled educable mentally retarded (EMR), learning disabled (LD), and emotionally behavioral disordered (EBD). Keith A. Mayes charts the evolution of disability categories and how these labels kept Black learners segregated in American classrooms.

The civil rights and the educational disability rights movements, Mayes shows, have both collaborated and worked at cross-purposes since the beginning of school desegregation. Although special education ostensibly included children from all racial groups, educational disability rights advocates focused on the needs of white disabled students, while school systems used disability discourses to malign and marginalize Black students.

Excavating the deep-seated racism embedded in both the public school system and public policy, The Unteachables explores the discriminatory labeling of Black students, and how it indelibly contributed to special education disproportionality, to student discipline and push-out practices, and to the school-to-prison pipeline effect.
Browse By Category
1 book added to cart
View Cart