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This section explores white Western diagnosis, starting with the author’s experiences of being diagnosed with mental retardation in 1966 at Oregon’s Fairview Hospital and Training Center and a decade later with cerebral palsy. This story underlines the power of diagnosis, which can both provide people access to vital medical technology and shame them, reveal a path toward less pain and get them locked up. The analysis focuses on diagnosis as a tool and an action rather than a truth and asks the question, to whom is diagnosis useful and for what purposes? This query helps frame a critique of the violence experienced by former residents of Fairview and current residents of the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center. In both cases, the violence is set in motion, made thinkable and doable, through diagnosis.

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