Mentally disabled writing instructors who do not show visible signs of our psychiatrically diagnosed conditions have what is known as “sane privilege,” the ability to “pass.” If we so choose, we can teach without disclosing our often stigmatizing diagnoses to students. This article addresses a classroom incident that forced me to consider both the benefits of such disclosure and its inherent risks. I reflect on the incident and argue that I should not have stayed silent when my class burst out laughing at a student comment related to my particular mental disability. Instead, I should have disclosed my disability, thereby giving students the opportunity to engage a stigmatized “other” in a dialogic setting. As a suggestion for how to facilitate this kind of engagement, I offer the lesson plan I wish I would have followed in response to encountering stigma in the classroom.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.