Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Ableism, Classism, and Personal Rights

Discussion – Week 5
Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Ableism, Classism, and Personal Rights
A culture’s development of negative attitudes and perpetuation of negative messages about those affected by poverty culminates in cultural classism—a pervasive attitude that teaches people to devalue the poor and admire and value those in the higher socio-economic strata. As indicated in the quote at the beginning of the introduction to this week, “Poverty causes disabilities and can furthermore lead to secondary disabilities for those individuals who are already people with disabilities…” (The World Bank, 2010), ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities) can be a subset of classism.  In this case, people with disabilities are the victims of double discrimination: once for being people with disabilities and again for being poor when those disabilities lead to socio-economic hardship.
In a society in which classism and ableism are closely connected, one is judged negatively based on his or her physicaldifferences and economic disadvantages. (The word disadvantages is used in conjunction with these various “isms” because one’s race and color, gender, sexual orientation, and/or socio-economic status are often used as markers and bases for oppression, discrimination, and prejudice.) This kind of judgment of the poor and people with disabilities leads to discrimination and results in difficulties in the area of personal relationships.
In this Discussion, you will focus on the issues of people with disabilities and their personal rights with regard to physical relationships. You will examine how ableism and classism are closely connected.
To Prepare for this discussion:
Review the journal article “Discrimination, Sexuality, and People with Significant Disabilities: Issues of Access and the Right to Sexual Expression in the United States.” Also review the website and the media in this week’s Resources.
Week 5 Learning Resources
This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of this week’s assigned Learning Resources.
Required Resources
•Koppelman, K. L. (2014). Understanding human differences: Multicultural education for a diverse America (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
oSection 3, “Contemporary Dilemmas for Intergroup Relations”
Chapter 9, “Classism: Misperceptions and Myths About Income, Wealth, and Poverty” (pp. 206–239)
Chapter 12, “Ableism: Disability Does Not Mean Inability” (pp. 289–313)
•Wade, H. A. (2002). Discrimination, sexuality and people with significant disabilities: Issues of access and the right to sexual expression in the United States. Disability Studies Quarterly, 22(4), 9–27. Retrieved from
•Walden University. (2013a). Academic writing expectations (AWE). Retrieved from
•Walden University. (2013b). Common reference list examples. Retrieved from
•Walden University. (2013c). Literature reviews. Retrieved from
•Walden University. (2013d). Paper templates. Retrieved from
•Kids Together. (2010). Our mission. Retrieved from
Note: This advocacy site is for parents and children. It focuses on disability issues and includes explanations of legislation affecting children of all ages with disabilities. It contains many articles, cartoons, videos, and much more. It is a comprehensive site for people of all ages who have a disability or have family members with a disability.
•The World Bank. (2010). Poverty and disability. Retrieved from,,contentMDK:20193783~menuPK:419389~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:282699,00.html
Note: This is an excellent website devoted to national and global issues of poverty, with a focus on social issues that accompany the scourge of poverty. The motto of the World Bank Group is “Working for a World Free of Poverty.”
•American Civil Liberties Union (Producer). (2012c). The three faces of racial profiling panel discussion [Video file]. Retrieved from
On October 27, 2011, the ACLU held a policy discussion directed at the conversation on racial profiling and the growth of this unconstitutional and ineffective practice. This hour-long video provides an in-depth discussion on racial profiling, broadening the discussion to include all aspects of racial profiling to raise public consciousness about this issue.
Discussion Question:
What are the issues and limitations involved when individuals with developmental disabilities become romantically and/or sexually involved.
In your posting, include the following:
The possible assumptions you may make and the possible controversies and impacts that might arise in relationships between persons with disabilities
Barriers that people with disabilities face when dealing with relationships, including aspects of those relationships that others might take for granted
A discussion of whether people with disabilities should be considered a minority group and what this means for their rights
An explanation of how ableism and classism are related