The plantation as a center of disability: Then and now
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In an article detailing the medical experimental and exploitation of black female bodies during times of slavery, Rachel Dudley details the notion of the plantation as a "cultural location of disability." The widespread understanding of African Americans as inherently disabled is one that has pervaded much of public consciousness for years to come. I argue that in comprehending the plantation as a center of disability (through the enslavement, abuse, and repeated neglect of the black body), Americans set a standard for the ways in which it would continue to (mis)treat African Americans, well beyond the alleged dismantling of institutional slavery. I identify the various ways America has continued to regulate, control, and attempt to disable the black body through continued racial segregation and detrimental disability discourse. I detail the ways in which institutions have been transformed into space of separation and confinement, used to less blatantly oppress African Americans for the color of their skin. Terms connected with disability are imposed as a way of justifying the continued racial segregation and societal prejudice used against the black community, as a means of continuing the matrix of domination currently in place.