As three teacher educators with familial ties to the Global South, but academically trained within the Global North, we adopt a de/colonial, intersectional feminist lens to analyze the “general education curriculum” in the United States. We use testimonios, each told in first-person, as entry points where we situate the entanglement of gendered, classed, linguistic, and racialized experiences with disabilities and the US academy. With an understanding that disability is not to be confused with special education identification, we examine the experiences of women and girls of Color with mental disabilities across institutions and educational spaces. The narratives move from lived experiences with bipolar disorder, to pedagogical practices employed within the US school context, to discussions about disabilities in teacher preparation programs. We offer these stories as collaborative sense-making of the general education curriculum and the westernized (i.e. colonial/white supremacist/ableist/patriarchal) ontoepistemology it reinforces. Transcending curricular approaches that are tolerant of disabilities and othered sociocultural identities, we propose an intersectional, de/colonial orientation that is humanizing along the axes of dis/ability, race, socioeconomic status (SES), class, language origin, ethnicity, religion, gender expression, sexuality, nationality, and citizenship. Such an orientation favours relationality and community over isolation and individualism, and de-centers normative curriculum in special education and specialized programming.
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