A Tough Road for Tough People

Throughout the history of the United States, many minorities have been oppressed or been looked at as not good enough, or not capable enough. Not to take away from other minorities and their struggles, but one of the most oppressed groups are those people with mental or physical disabilities.

  • Back in the 1700s, mentally disabled people were looked at as a threat to others and often jailed. Public view changed slowly, in the 1800s those with disabilities were still institutionalized and sterilized.
  • Even though social security had existed since 1935, disabled workers weren’t able to receive social security payments until amendments were made in 1956 and 1960.
  • Unlike other minorities who were able to advocate for themselves whether it be through policy change or something like civil disobedience, disabled people need public support. Many social workers step up to the plate in this case, working to change or pass new laws that will benefit the lives and even out the playing field for the disabled.
  • Even with the help of social workers and law makers, it is very difficult to create new legislation that is beneficial to everyone involved. While a new law may provide resources for one subgroup of the disabled, it also may be taking away the funds and resources needed for another disabled population.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is aimed to end discrimination against those with disabilities in dealing with things like employment and access to facilities and services. However, to this day, people with disabilities still have higher rates of unemployment and partial employment which leaves them more susceptible to poverty and a diminished health outcome.

Fortunately, the field of social work continues to grow in a culture that for the most part, has learned to be kind, compassionate, generous, and grateful. Although there are still many close minded people, there is no doubt that the people facing these mental and/or physical challenges are more than capable to live a life full of prosperity and happiness.


For the love of God, and the sake of our country, PLEASE do not vote for this man.


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

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