Smartness as Property: A Critical Exploration of Intersections between Whiteness and Disability Studies

Leonardo, Zeus; Broderick, Alicia A.
Teachers College Record

Background/Context: Two scholars who each primarily identify as a scholar of critical race/whiteness studies and a scholar of disability studies, respectively, engage in this article in a purposeful dialogue that responds to the invitation put forth by Baglieri, Bejoian, Broderick, Connor, and Valle to engage with the construct of inclusive education, writ large. Through purposeful engagement with one another's discourse communities, the authors explore both the challenge and the tremendous promise of more theoretically integrated efforts toward abolishing ideological systems of oppression in schooling. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article explores "smartness" as an ideological system and particularly explores the ways in which it intersects with whiteness as ideology. Using Cheryl Harris's analysis of whiteness, the authors argue that smartness works as a form of property, with all the advantages that come with membership in the group. Research Design: Analytic essay. Conclusions/Recommendations: Analogous to Roediger's claim about whiteness, the authors argue that smartness is nothing but false and oppressive, and as such, attempts to theoretically rearticulate or rehabilitate smartness may serve to illuminate, but ultimately fail to dissolve, the normative center of schooling.