Hiding a Disability and Passing as Non-Disabled

In Adam Cureton & Jr Hill (eds.), Disability in Practice: Attitudes, Policies and Relationships. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 18-32 (2018)

Adam Cureton
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
I draw on my experiences of passing as non-disabled to explain how a disabled person can hide his disability, why he might do so, and what costs and risks he and others might face along the way. Passing as non-disabled can bring greater social acceptance and inclusion in joint-projects, an enhanced sense of belonging, pride and of self-worth, and an easier time forming and maintaining personal relationships. Yet hiding one’s disability can also undermine some of these same values when doing so, for example, prevents someone from living up to normal social expectations or from sharing important aspects of himself with others. Hiding a disability can also interfere with a person’s self-respect, self-acceptance, integrity, and self-development. Although the chapter does not take a stand on whether hiding a disability is, overall, prudent, wise or morally justified, it draws out some lessons about disability from why someone might want to hide it.
Keywords Disability  Passing  Self-respect  Pride  Integrity
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Character Education for Students with Disabilities.Adam Cureton - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Education:1-24.

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