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Professor Doron Dorfman Explores the "Fear of the Disability Con" in Law & Society Review

Posted on Wednesday 1/8/2020
Doron Dorfman
"Fear of the Disability Con: Perceptions of Fraud and Special Rights Discourse." Law & Society Review (November 2019). 

Professor Doron Dorfman presents a new framework for analyzing the development and implementation of disability law and policy: the prism of the "fear of the disability con"—popular perceptions of fraud and fakery. 

Although news stories and memes about falsely claiming disability rights abound, what the public makes of these stories or how disabled people experience this suspicion is something not integrated into a systematic analysis of law in everyday life. 

Yet, as Dorfman shows, these attitudes could well shape how people experience their rights, how they are willing to exercise them, and how the law itself is being shaped to respond to this suspicion. 

The article demonstrates how disability law plays out in everyday life. As the data demonstrate, negative attitudes and stereotypes laypeople hold against disability law currently negatively affects millions of Americans living with disabilities: it is the cost they bear for their civil rights, writes Dorfman. 

Dorfman argues that a legislative amendment, such as the 2008 ADAAA combating judicial backlash, is not a panacea for this issue. An elaborate, multifaceted effort is needed to overcome the challenges associated with altering attitudes about disability and disability rights.