Kyle: Hey, Emily?
K: Did you hear the guy that invented Ricola died?
E: He did?
K: There was no coffin at his funeral.
E: I really thought you were being serious because I just bought some today.
E: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau.
K: I’m Kyle Khachadurian.
E: You’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.
K: Emily, tell me what we’re going to talk about today.
E: We’re going to talk about prioritizing your advocacy.
K: What is that?
E: Arguably it sounds pretty similar to picking your battles, which,if you had been a longtime listener of The Accessible Stall, first of all, we love you.
K: Yes, very much.
E: Second of all, we’ve already talked about picking your battles in terms of advocacy. We focused, what was it,on the whole pre…?
K: Pre–peeled oranges.
E: Yeah, the pre–peeled fruit thing.
K: When we were just a little young in podcasts.
E: Yeah. That was our first episode, pre–peeled fruit and how,as important as accessibility is, sometimes it’s also important to pick what you’re fighting for. I think that prioritizing your advocacy is different in the sense that it’s not so much picking your battles but rather being strategic about it. I think that’s very necessary right now because there’s some big [0:01:35 s***] happening in case you haven’t noticed in the government, maybe.
K: That little thing. Anyway, in any case, that was our first episode,and I would,for one, like to believe that we have garnered a slightly larger fan base since almost a year ago. So in case you didn’t ever listen to that episode, this one will probably in all likelihood be much better.
E: Or no, but here’s hoping, am I right?
E: I think the first thing is the whole Betsy thing, Betsy Devos. Apparently I’ve been saying it wrong. Kyle loves to tell me that I say things wrong.
K: It’s my favorite thing.
E: So yeah. So Betsy, we’re just going to call her Betsy because I don’t really respect her that much.
K: She’s proven that you can buy a cabinet position. So that’s nice.
E: Yup, so Betsy, my friend Betsy over here, the reason I want to talk about her is, I think that there are disability advocates who absolutely poured their heart and soul into fighting against her and now that she is in, she’s been nominated, nomination over,complete, the first thing that sounded alarm bells was that the Individuals with DisabilitiesEducation Act website went down suspiciously.I agree that it is seemingly problematic and I wonder if, and tell me what you think about this, is it just people grasping at anything they can still advocate against when it comes to her that immediately rang the alarm for that?
K: Right now, we were discussing this before we pressed the button, but right now it’s down. It’s February eighth and right now it’s down and it says that the servers are being hammered. Before that it was just time out. Now, obviously if you don’t know how websites work,that would really cause you to worry because you would think, oh my God, the website’s gone. But really,what’s more likely is that everyone who knows that Betsy Devos isn’t the biggest fan of the idea act went to check up on it right when she got confirmed. It’s like two million people fitting through a tiny doorway. It just doesn’t work even though the doorway is still there. Having said that, there is a chance that she might take the site down, but right at this moment on February 8that 11:11, make a wish, it is just being constantly hammered in and checked on.
E: Can I make a wish that Donald Trump gets impeached?
K: If I do it too, that’s twice the likelihood it’ll happen.
E: Then can I make another wish because it’s still 11:11 that Mike Pence gets impeached after Donald Trump gets impeached?
K: No, no, no, because then we’d get stuck with Paul Ryan.
E: Then we could stage a coup.
K: They’re the ones doing that now. We don’t want… this is a loser’s game.
E: It’s 11:12 now, wishful thinking.
K: Yeah, no more wish… anyway, yeah when it comes to disability advocacy, there’s so much stuff going on right now that it’s almost hard to prioritize because there’s just so much.
E: That’s actually a good point. How do we decide what’s a priority right now and what’s not, especially when everyone’s priorities can be different?
K: It’s sort of also, I don’t want to say it’s like a thing that the “opposition” is doing on purpose, but when you have so many things to advocate against and protest against and fight for and all that stuff, inevitably you’re going to run into some fatigue at some point, which, if I might put on my tin foil hat,is probably precisely what they want. It’s just… in the sense that you have to have like advocacy triage as to what you do and don’t fight for on any given day when the faucet of things to fight for is just on constantly.
E: Yeah. I think what you just said finally got me to the crux of what I want to talk about, which is that I don’t feel like I’m doing enough,and this is not about me. This is literally, there is so much to advocate for that I’m just not sure what to give my attention to on any given day anymore.
K: I don’t really know if there’s a correct answer to what to do and how to do it and for which issue you advocate.
E: Yeah, I think it’s a totally rhetorical question, but just one that I imagine I’m not alone in feeling especially right now.
K: Absolutely, you’re talking to one that also feels that way. It’s not just…we use the government as the easy target, right? Because it’s the obvious one, but this is found in every single area of the disability community where we’re always constantly screaming about something, rightfully so usually,that the overall message that we’re trying to get across gets garbled by all the white noise that use the other activism. It’s a really tough nut to crack, right, because like Emily said, everyone has their own issues and everyone prioritizes the issues that they have differently. So what do you do? I don’t know.
E: We’ve said this before in so many episodes in some way about how we have the same overarching goals of accessibility and inclusion and things like that, but that looks different to so many people,and then in prioritizing what you advocate for, are you somehow sliding another issue or another person? Are you taking something and shouting over another person and then detracting from what they also legitimately need?
K: Here’s the thing, right? Yes, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily a bad thing because if you’reshouting about an issue that affects you, then surely that person should shout about the issue that affects them and then the listeners can choose who to listen to. I don’t think you should worry about who you’re overshadowing. If you’re overshadowing, there’s a good chance that you’re plain old just overshadowing them because you’re louder as there is that you’re overshadowing because your idea is better. I don’t know if that’s inherently a bad thing. It’s certainly something to keep in the back of your head, but if you can amplify your voice to a point… provided that you don’t have some huge leg up. I’m talking about everyday,runof themill social media activism that we do in this world.
If you can activate… if you can activate for yourself because you’re a cell phone. If you can advocate for yourself, so too can others, unless you can’t, in which case you should strategize and work with people who can and see if they’ll boost your message. There’s ways around a lot of issues in our world and I think I said this in the first episode actually, but being disabled gives you a MacGyver sense where if you can’t do something, you just find a way to do it and you are born that way because there are just things we can’t do that we want to do. So we find ways to do them.
E: Yeah, and for a lot of us right now,that’s activism on social media, but sometimes it just feels like shouting into the void when it comes to things like advocating about federal issues. I feel like this episode is almost a conglomeration of everything that we’ve talked about all rolled up into one because yeah, of course, because the reality of all of this is hitting really hard right now. I mean we are 18 days into this administration…
E: … and I already… 18 days into the administration.
K: It’s only… it’s felt like six months, Jesus Christ.
E: Yeah. No, exactly.
K: I don’t… you have a very good point. That’s a very good point, but I don’t think that that’s exclusive to disability or any minority actually. I think that the majority of the American people, in fact the Gallup poll just came out that good old Don John Trump here is at like a 57% disapproval rating, so most Americans don’t like him. I feel like that feeling of helplessness is something that most of us are feeling, disabled or not. I don’t think that there’s… we don’t need to play identity politics here as long. As you live in this country and are citizens, if I picked out a random person, the odds are that they don’t like him. I think that that feeling of helplessness is one that most people empirically right now know, and the only way that the average Joe can combat this thing that you’re talking about is to call their senators who,we’ve seen today and the other day,just don’t care. Or, they live in an area where people around them already think like them and they don’t need to call their senators because they know that they’re going to vote in their favor anyway.
E: It feels like hitting a wall though. Seriously, like I have always felt like I’ve got some kind of privilege in the megaphone I’ve developed over the Internet.
K: That’s not privileged. You worked for that.
E: Okay, you’re right. You’re right but I…
K: I’ll let people hate me for that because you can say… I guess you can classify it as a privilege, but not if you’ve earned it.
E: I suppose the privilege is in the fact that I was able to earn it in the first place, that I had the access to do that.
K: Anyone… anyone, look, anyone with an Internet connection and something to say can start a blog and a twitter and a mass and audience, and if you don’t have those two things, then I’m with you, but if you do, then you have the same starting. You’re starting at the same spot as everyone else. That just means you do a better job of what you do. That’s not a privileged. You’ve earned that.
E: Well, for the sake of my ego right now, I’m going to tell you that I appreciate that.
K: That’s not for your ego, man. Listen, I will always tell you that you’ve earned stuff that you’ve earned. We call each other out all the time. It’s only fitting that we give each other compliments where it’s due.
E: We already had an argument before we even hit record on this podcast.
K: That’s true.
E: Something about me having a moral superiority problem.
K: She does. It’s terrible, but it’s okay.
E: Only with him.
K: Yeah. No, it is only… that’s why it’s okay. That’s why it’s okay.
E: Everyone else is great, but you, I am morally superior in every way. Let it be on the record. This has nothing to do with anything but…
K: No, I mean to take it personally. You’re absolutely right. You’re such a better person in every way.
E: We’re so off track, but no, you’re… so, well, I want to counter that it kind of matters where you pull the person from because I don’t think the reality is that every single person hates Donald Trump.
K: No, of course not. No.
E: There are some people who think this has been the greatest 18 days that we are seeing[0:12:24in the presidency].
K: That’s okay. This is America and you are free to do that if that’s what you believe, but you can’t argue with… the Gallup polls are pretty unbiased, right? It’s 57%. Granted in New York, it’s probably larger than 57, but on average, like you pluck someone out somewhere, you’re justgoing to get a little more than 50% chance of not liking him.
E: Yeah, so I feel like I’m in a constant state of am I around someone where if I say something, they actually do like him even though I purposely surround myself with people who don’t and are people on the same page as me as to what’s important to be advocating for?Should I be on someone else’s page? There’s a lot of struggling with activism that I’m doing right now.
K: I don’t purposely surround myself with people who just agree with me. I know plenty of people who support Donald Trump and they’re fine. I vehemently disagree with their politics but they’re fine people, but I make it a point to… this is not a jab at you. Most people do that. I try to converse with people who disagree with me as much as I do agree with me because I feel like it strengthens my beliefs because if I can have my beliefs challenged, right? Because everyone knows something you don’t. Everyone somewhere knows something you don’t. So, in order to test what I believe is true, I talk to people who I’ve… I have a friend who’s like a straight up anarcho capitalist who doesn’t believe in driver’s licenses or government and I think he’s wrong about everything, but he’s still a cool guy, you know? I don’t know.
E: No drivers licenses?
K: Yeah, because…
E: You still drive though?
K: Yeah. You shouldn’t need…. I’m sorry. You shouldn’t need a license to drive the car is what the [0:14:23 inaudible]… I vehemently disagree on almost everything.
E: I beg to differ on a different level.
K: No, I know but my only point was, that’s an extreme example, but in regard to someone like Betsy Devos, right? I suppose if you really wanted to, you could make it a case that the federal Department of Education needs revamping. Of course, I don’t think it really matters what color your tie is that you’d agree with that. I just don’t know if her way is the best way. I think it might be one of the worst ways but…
E: I saw a post on Facebook earlier and I’m going to be totally honest before I state what it said, my impulse was to hit unfriend. So I did, but the guy…
K: Did you read it though afterwards?
K: Did you read it afterwards?
E: I read the post.
K: Oh, and then… okay, got you.
E: I thought about it and then I hit unfriend. It was a guy who works in the government that I know, and he had a picture with Betsy. It had just been taken and he wrote this post about congratulations and she’s all about school choice and doing what’s best for your child.I was thinking about it and I was like, is this what other disabled people think? I’ve surrounded myself with people who feel public school is the best way to ensure that your child gets the education that they needand the accommodations that they need, but are some people with disabilities really thinking that she’s going to offer choices that will then allow them to do what’s best for their child?
K: Sure. Why not? You could probably find any kind of person who “shouldn’t” think what they think. Right?
E: Yeah, and then speaking ofprioritizing advocacy, part of me wanted to send this guy a message or leave a comment and be like, hello, do you not realize all the ways in which she is problematic and that this actually is completely illogical, basically what you’re saying,
K: Here’s the thing, right? Most of his cabinet is so bad that even if they turn out to,by some miracle,be the best cabinet this nation’s ever seen,fat chance that most people we know would still hate them, which I would say is like wrongto do but I think that’s how it would work. Having said that, I don’t want to talk this whole episode on Betsy Devos but I… for every one thing that she says that I think is smart, there’s about ten things that she says that I think is totally outlandish, so that’s my ratio, a one to ten smart to dumb is enough to be like, all right enough.
E: Well, if she just happened to be on my mind because that was something that I was prioritizing, but also now I’m a little bit like, what do I prioritize next because I feel like… so, okay, calling your senators to express your discontent about a particular nominee is certainly a concrete action.
K: That’s the action.
E: The more nominees that are voted in, the more I feel like there aren’t really concrete steps I can take anymore.
K: Right, and that’s what I was trying to say. That’s what I was getting at earlier when I said, look, people believe that calling your senator is pointless especially if you live in an area where your senators think like you because you already know how they’re going to vote and if you don’t, they’re just not going to care what you have to say. You know? So it’s a lose–lose.
E: I actually called, because Kyle and I both live in New York, so our senators are Chuck Schumer and Kiersten Gillibrand.
K: Oh my God, and they’re going to run for president and probably hopefully [0:18:23 crosstalk].
E: I hope Kiersten Gillibrand runs for president because I love her so much.
K: I don’t care which one does. I love them both.
E: So my friend, Kiersten Gillibrand,who I wish was my friend. I love you Kiersten. She has been, I’m pretty sure,the only one to consistently vote no on all of Trump’s nominees. I don’t know if that’s true, but I did think that.
K: No, I think she’s the only… there was one guy, I forget his name,that was okay, who really wasn’t… I say okay but it’s really okay relative to theother ones that blue tie wearing senatorsvoted yes to, but it was hardly problematic. It was just… it wasn’t like, oh my God, they’re traitors. It was just like, oh, okay. I can see why they would do this. Yes, Kiersten Gillibrand…
K: Kiersten Gillibrand, excuse me, she was the one that did consistently across the board so far vote no, andI think is the only one to my knowledge.
E: The reason thatI wrote her up is because I actually got it in my head the other day that it would make sense to call her office and thank her,and I feel like they get so many angry calls. I just hope even if it never makes it to the senator, if I could have just like helpedthe stafferout by not being an angry constituent for like two seconds, then I hope I do something that…
K: I do that. I do that when someone deserves praise instead of just anger.I make it a point to do that, to actually call whomever and be like, “Hey, one of your guys did a good job,” because I feel like… like you said, I don’t know if it ever gets back to them, but if it does,cool, everyone feels good.
E: That’s so important and that is a priority in my advocacy.
K: That is a priority. Absolutely, because if you spend your entire advocacy career telling everyone what they’re doing it wrong, no one’s going to like you. You got to pat other people in the back sometimes.
E: I feel like that was a very large scale attempt to that. Whereas, like I don’t do that enough in just my daily life.
K: No, but maybe you will now when you realize how important that is.
E: Yeah, because… well it was one of those things where all of the hubbub was over when it came to Betsy or was kind of reaching ahead, a critical head,and I’d done all the calling I can really do because the senators who needed the actual push were not my senator,so I couldn’t really call because they don’t [0:21:00 crosstalk]up position.
K: Right and their lines we’re consistently busy from what I understand anyway.
E: Yeah. I looked at the local number for Kiersten Gillibrands office and I was just like, “I’m going to say something nice.” I can’t remember the last time I did any phone calling political wise that was like for a nice reason.
K: Well, there you go. That was your good deed for the year.
E: It wasn’t meant to be a good deed. It was just like I just wanted to…
K: It doesn’t make it any less of a good deed though. It was, it was a nice thing to do. Look, no matter what you believe, being any kind of politician is probably, I think,the most thankless job on the planet. Seriously, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe. Anything you believe,you have like most of half… like half of America doesn’t agree with you. That is not an easy thing, so I think when,if they ever hear good news from their constituents, they’re just like, oh my God, thank you. This is such a thankless job. This is why I do this type of thing. Who knows, it could all just be in vain too.
E: Yeah. I guess right now, how many more phone calls can I make to be like, good job? Now I feel like I need to pick another issue to be like, screw this, I’m going to start calling people about that.
K: Pre–peeled fruit, you got to–
E: Yes, let’s go back to the pre–peeled fruit.
K: You got to call Whole Foods and be like, “Hey man, I want me some pre pilled fruit.” “What’s the deal?” “I don’t care about plastic. I care about access,”or something.I don’t know.
E: I have to admit:I usually, if we’re going to use the word prioritize in multiple senses here, prioritize social media activism overpicking up the phone.
K: I would say that… you know what? No, I wouldn’t. I don’t know. I would assume that calling your senators’office or even writing them a letter like in the mail does more work than that. I don’t know if that… I’m sorry, gets your message across better than that because those two things, picking up a phone and writing a letter,require more effort. So, in my head I believe if somebody goes through the trouble of taking the extra steps that it’s more like… I don’t know. Ireally [0:23:16 crosstalk].
E: I meant me personally.
K: I know what you meant. I’m just saying because I think more than you just have… I don’t think you’re the only person that have that thought. I think most people do that.
E: I guess I feel like social media is effective in reaching other people and like lighting a fire under their butts, but I also definitely came into the realization over the past couple of years that I need to also put myself out there on the phone as much as possible.
K: Well, the thing is,too, with social media, right? You said earlier, you surround yourself with people who agree with you, right? So, like…
E: So, it’s like shouting into the void again?
K: Not only is it shouting into the void, but it’s also this odd cyclical self-reassurance because you know that no matter what you say, someone’s going to be like, “Oh, you’re so right,”because you’ve surrounded yourself with people that think like you do. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s just something to keep in mind when you’re discussing things that have people who are just on the polar opposite of you in terms of what they believe.
E: Yeah. I actually tend to, and I hate admitting this, advocate for things that I know I won’t get a huge amount of trolling and blowback for or I should say I used to do that. Now I’m more vocal about things.
K: You’re getting there. I’ve watched you,over the course of this podcast and our friendship, slowly go. I’m proud of you for that by the way.
E: Oh thanks. It’s not because I don’t believe in things, but it was just this like personal mechanism of defensewhere I was like–
K: Low-hanging fruit iseasiest to reach.
E: Sure, but then the other thing too is…and again, this really does feel like an overview of everything we’ve already talked about, but it feels so real right now.I feel like it’s important to me to advocate about things that aren’t going to be divisive in the disability community because I don’t know how… no, hold on,because I don’t think now is the time to start speaking up about things where the disability community is going to just divide itself over. I think now is the time for me to be yelling about things that we all agree on.
K: I agree 100% totally behind you in every effort of what you just said, but what do we agree on though? I’m not saying that cynically because like you said earlier, even our most basic tenets boil down to different outlooks on those tenets, right? I’m not saying that to sound like a downer. That’s just how it is. That’s an obstacle that I think… I think that for as much as we expect society to change for us in our activism and advocacy, I think we could stand to do as much work to ourselves easily.
E: Oh, for sure.
K: I’m not… it’s not because the disability community makes me hate it more and more every day, although that certainly helps in my reasoning for saying that, but it’s just more that if you have a unified voice, I feel like more people will listen to you because think about it. If somebody meets disabled guy number one who uses a wheelchair. Okay, somebody meets you and me separately, right? We’ll say the same things. We want more inclusion, we want more access, but then our friend Joe Schmo that we just made up asks us what that means and we give different answers and Joe Schmo doesn’t know what to do. Joe Schmo able–bodied doesn’t know what to do and there’s nothing…that’s not real…
It’s a problem in that it sends a conflicting message. It’s a problem in that you and I, unless… in this situation we know each other, but if thesewere two people, one of whom uses a wheelchair and one of whom does not, we don’t… we probably don’t know each other, so we don’t know that we just gave Joe Schmo two contrasting answers to the same problem. Now Joe Schmo’s conflicted so that when Joe Schmo goes to his business and builds some kind of accessibility, one of us is going to get mad about it. We don’t know who, but you know what I mean? There’s like that… and you could say universal design and say you blew in the face, but that has problems too because what really is universal? I don’t know.
I think that that is something that we never talk about. For every issue that we bring up, even within the community, we don’t ever talk about how personal disability… we say it on the show all the time, but I mean outside of you and I, how often does that really come up? You’re in this world more than me. Does that ever come up?
E: I’m hung up on what you said about how cyclical it is.
K: Oh, go on. Let’s talk about that.
E: As you were saying it, I was already thinking in my head like, oh yeah, someone’s going to get mad. The other thing that I don’t think that you addressed in that…
K: Did I forget something?
E: No, I don’t think you forgot anything, but just something that you sparked in my head. By the way, sorry I didn’t answer your question. I just got… I got like…
K: We’ve got time.
E: I’ll let you ask it again after I say this. The other thing too is, and I just thought of this as you were talking, is it possible that because we give conflicting responsive as to access needs, that then nondisabled people try to decide what they can do to do the best that they can to accommodate, but then we start to think that they’re making decisions for us and doing what they think is in our best interest when in fact we put them in that position?
K: When in reality… yeah. [0:29:14 inaudible]. All they did was [0:29:15 inaudible]needs. No, yes.
E: I don’t know if that’s actually true or if I hate myself for saying that.
K: I don’t know. I don’t think you can figure it out… I don’t think there’s a study out there, although if there is, I’d be interested in reading it. I find that reasonable. I don’t think that that sort of outlandish. I think that that’s totally reasonable. If you’re a business owner and you want to know how to get people with disabilities in your store and you’re like, “Oh, what do they need?” They need a way to get in obviously, so you get two disabled people or three or ten or five.I don’t know,I said ten before five. That’s ridiculous. But you get a bunch of them and they all say a different thing,and now, well if you don’t do anything, you’re a scumbag. Right? If you do something, another portion is going to be pissed off. I’ll think of something else, the first person, the first portion will be pissed off.I don’t know.
Is that our fault? Not in a…I don’t want to say negative way, but it’s our fault in that we caused that, but that was also the best way. In this hypothetical situation where business owners coming to people with disabilities is like a fantasy, but even under the best conditions that I’m making up,that we’re making up for this, I really don’t know if there’s like a best outcome because access needs are so different.
E: Now, you can ask your question again.
K: I totally just forgot what it was.
E: Oh, sorry, me too. Oh no.
K: I’m sure it was great.
E: Man, I ruined everything.
K: When I listen to it again, I’m going to be like, that was a good question. You’re probably listening to this and screaming at the screen.
E: Talking about people talking back to us, we’re told a lot that people talk back to us and I imagine we just completely caused that right now.
K: Hundred percent. It was sort of, how do we… I don’t know if this was… I doubt it, but how do we unify something that is inherently personal? I think that one way to do it is that we really drill down to what things like access means. I don’t want to say all agree because all is a stupid word in our world, but I think there is something to agreeing upon commandments or tenants or something that definesaccess[0:31:39 inaudible].
E: Are you sayingtenants or tenets?
K: Tenants. I don’t know. I’ve been pronouncing that word wrong my whole life probably.
E: Like tenets, t-e-n-e-t-s like tenets of something like facets like tenets?
E: Are you saying tenants?
K: I was like, people you rent out your apartment to, yeah. Yep. I’m an idiot.
E: I corrected you on something.
K: This is what public education does. I’m just joking. I’m all for it.
E: My Lord, you didn’t have… was that a public school you went to?
K: No, but I did go to public college.
E: But you spent 12 years in a private school, so you are what Betsy can do.
K: I turned out okay and I learned a lot of good things that the… that I wouldn’t have learned in public school, sothat’s really not a good argument because for all its faults,they taught me a lot of cool stuff. But I think we consent to agree on a few things that define these words at its most basic level and then work from there. I think part of the problem,I think, and this is from my heart.I think part of problem with the disability community is we all try to be one big voice. I don’t think we are.I just, I don’t. I think we’re the only minority in the world that has to constantly remind people how many there are of us and I…
E: I feel like that’s because we can also fit into so many other categories.
K: But that’s a pro… no, yes, we can. I think that that’s not a good way to do it. I think we need to be our own people if we’re going to do that.Disability is important because it intersects with every other identity. Okay. So does every other identity and yet somehow they have their own community. I’m just saying, all I’m saying is…
E: Do we also even know what we’re talking about every time we say that other…
K: No, absolutely, no.
E: … are so unified because we only ever see them from the outside.
K: No. You’re, you’re right and there’s… but I’ll tell you what, if they’re not, they have fooled us and if all you need to do is fool somebody into thinking that you’re unified voice, then we’re not even good at that.
E: I’d be curious if you have listened this far into the podcast and actually want to talk back to us. Can you comment or tweet and let us know if you think that other communities come across as unified or divided?
K: Do you think the disability community is divided as… only answer this if you’re not disabled, all three of our nondisabled listeners. Do you hear us and think that…
E: We have nondisabled listeners?
K: We have to. I feel like there must be some, but I don’t know. The answer is, I don’t know, but I do think that we do pretend… we’re members of it. Don’t you agree that we pretend to be one big community?
K: I think we do.
E: Absolutely we do.
K: I think that and that’s great because that’s inclusive, but I don’t think that segmenting the community based on a sub group’s specific needs like the deaf have done or the low vision people have done or the autistics have done,to such a huge success by the way, is the worst thing. It’s not… it doesn’t make somebody any less disabled to say, “This is my specific disability. These are my specific needs.”I think that I know myself, I’m far more likely to listen to somebody who tells me about their specific issues than the issues of the disability community.
E: Then I guess it’s like, are you prioritizing yourself or are you prioritizing the whole and when is one more equal than the other?
K: I think that that…
E: Homie, let me finish a thought.
K: Well, look, you made me forget my good question. Apparently, it was good. I don’t know it, but you said it was good.
E: It was probably terrible. I forgot my thought too.
K: When is it important to prioritize?
E: Right. So, yeah, when is it self over the majority, especially if your self-interests may not necessarily be in line with what is good for the majority for whatever reason?
K: I don’t think there’s a good answer to that. I think that the answer to that is entirely issue–dependent and I don’t mean an issue like unemployment.I mean like an issue that affects you that might affect your group or the group. The big group. I think that that’s entirely issue–dependent. I don’t think there’s any one answer to that. I think disability as a whole, I’ve said this before and I don’t actually know if you’d agree, but it doesn’t matter,is extremely personal to a point where, if you can find somebody with the… I’m not going to even say exact set of access need. With like a remotely similar,even like Emily, you use a wheelchair, can you say for…?
E: Wait, I do?
K: I don’t know, do you? I mean you’re not in one right now. If I can’t see…
E: Oh man.
K: You might be a big old car.
E: I could be lying.
K: She’s not lying, but I mean is there…?
E: My wheelchair used to do the alternative fact.
K: I guess this is a bad example because I would assume that there are things that 100% of wheelchair users agree on. Like for example, all places in New York City on the subway should be accessible. You see what I did, I used all wheelchair users in New York City. Right? There are people who don’t live here who in fact use wheelchairs. I know that’s hard to believe, that don’t have that problem. Right? So, where do you…? That’s not a small problem either, that’s like… it’s a matrix, New York is a big city, big city. Best city ever. The best. I’m the personification of[0:37:22 inaudible].
E: Oh my gosh. I’m so glad you said that.
K: Seriously, it just comes down to… I don’t think there’s anything wrong in advocacy to be selfish. I really don’t.I think that prioritizing your needs is fine, so long as you’re not willingly stepping on the toes offsomeone else because if you are, you’re an [0:37:40 asshole], but if you’re doing it because you don’t know,that’s not your fault.
E: I actually think that kind of goes between the difference of what activism is and what advocacy is.
K: Oh man, I’ve been using those interchangeably my whole life. Don’t tell me that.
E: No, me too. I also think that if you stop and break it down a little bit more,thenyou’ll actually realize that advocacy seems to be more of a personal thing and activism seems to be more of like a group thing.
K: It’s hard for me to even think in terms of the whole because I was… I’m very libertarian, not necessarily my politics, but in my own morals, in that you shouldn’t judge a group of people ever on any one thing because that group consists of individual people who all have different beliefs. Having said that, obviously if you consider yourself a member of a given group, then the responsible… at least a small percentage of the responsibility falls on you because other people will associate you with the beliefs of the group.
I understand in so far as that, but I really think that there’s a tremendous value in separating the group from the individual. Particularly in cases where it’s vital, like religion or something like that. In the case of social justice, I think it’s important too because you forget that we are more than just labels and part of that is our fault, right, because we love to play the identity politics game. In fact, I would say that most of that is our fault, but I would counter with,although your average social justice warrior would prefer you not to believe,there are in fact… there is in fact more to a person than the labels by which they use to define themselves.
I think,when you drill down into the specific needs of a person on a per person basis,that the things that this person is fighting for becomes immensely more reasonable. Whereas, if you have a group collective coming at you like, “All X should, Y,” you’ll inevitably find a person who’s like, “I’m an X and I don’t Y,”and the response unfortunately from the group is usually, “Well then you’re not one of us,”and it’s like, “Okay, but I am though,”and you’ve just splintered your community. Yes, by it’s… it’s by one person, but it’s always more than one person. It’s always more than one person.
E: Have you noticed that we say all our smart things towards the end of an episode?
K: That’s because we want to make sure who’s listening. It’s actually because I’m convinced that the first 20 minutes of any episode is really just a warmup.
E: If you listen past 20 minutes and all that nonsense, then occasionally you’re going to get some good insight.
K: I think this is actually the first episode where I spoke more than you.
E: I know. Oh my gosh. I was just thinking the same thing. So, Kyle and I use this recording system where we can see all of the…
K: It’s a [0:40:44 wave form].
E: Yeah, that word, the words…
K: Wave form.
E: Wave form. We can see who’s speaking when throughout the episode and usually it’s like me, me, me, me, me, me, me, Kyle, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, Kyle. But right now it’s the opposite and it’s pretty interesting.
K: Well, it’s usually that you speak in little peaks and I speak in little chunks, but right now, you guys can’t see this, but right now it’s like she’s a mountain range and I’m just like…
E: This is the Kyle show.
K: … a continent. Look, my episode was coming,so I’m glad it was this one. I actually…
E: Aw, it only took like 20 something episodes.
K: Twenty–one, two, I don’t know. Well it depends…
E: You don’t know when this is coming up.
K: It depends because we actually have more like we’re professionals…
E: We have stuff you don’t even know about yet. That’s how good we are.
K: Unfortunately though,with this episode, it will inevitably have been dated because we mentioned current at the time political figures who,with any grace of God,will not be current for any longer than they need to, but I hope that this stuff that we’ve said after all that stuff remains true because I don’t know. I don’t think the overall outlook of a given community changes that quickly.
E: I think it’s okay to have things be a little dated.
K: Yeah, I didn’t mean to say it was… I didn’t mean to [0:42:17 crosstalk].
E: I also think it’s interesting because it’s like a marker of where we are in the world,and 20 episodes from now, where will we be?
K: There’s a lyric from a very popular musical that you just reminded me of. I think it goes, I say I think, but I actually know. You know too. I could see your face. What is it Emily?
E” No, no, go ahead, you quote Hamilton. Kyle.
K: Yeah. Look at where we are, look at where we started. But…
E: History has its eyes on you.
K: Not. No, it doesn’t. Are you kidding me? I am just the guy in the public. No, don’t do this to me, not while we’re recording.
E: Hamilton sing off. No, don’t do that. Don’t do that to Kyle.
K: No. Yeah, you guys don’t know this,but those are my positive trigger words. You say those, I’m just off. My next three hours will be gone because I will have been rapping the entire soundtrack to Hamilton,and hey, if you are a… that’ll be… that should be one of our Patreonawards obviously. In all seriousness, I think a final takeaway for this would be, I don’t even know. I said it earlier, I said that we have as much to do within us as we would like the world to do around us,and I think that the more… if we just remind ourselves of that every day while we do what we do, then that alone will be a really big step in the right direction in my opinion.
E: See, you had me with the profundity of that and then you kept talking.
K: [0:43:49 inaudible]. What do you mean? What did I say?
E: It was something about like within us and something I don’t know. You said something very profound that I cannot repeat right now because I don’t have that kind of memory.
K: What I said was, that we have to change as much within us as we expect the world to change around us.
E: Yes, that.
K: I think that if we just do that more often,then we’d end up in a much better place.
E: I’m going to quote Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
K: You are such a white girl. It’s unbelievable. You seem like the person who will have live,laugh, love on your bedroom wall somewhere.
E: I don’t think I have that anywhere.
K: I know your house. You don’t. I’m just saying youthat that’s the person who [0:44:32 crosstalk].
E: I do have inspirational quotes hanging all over my room and an inspiration board though.
K: You want to know a secret? One of them is, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” I’m lying.
E: That is an alternative fact.
K: No, no, don’t, don’t give into that. It’s a lie. No, I know you’re making it anyway…
E: I would never.
K: No.Do you have any final takeaways?
E: My final takeaway is, right now it’s okay to not exactly know what you need to prioritize.
K: Absolutely yeah, I should have said that too.
E: Right now it’s okay to feel a little bit lost or confused or worried that you’re not necessarily doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons with the right people. Don’t stress yourself out. Don’t be like me. Don’t stress yourself out.
K: With that, that has been another episode of The Accessible Stall. I’m Kyle. She’s Emily.
E: Do, do, do.
K: [0:45:39 crosstalk].Goodnight,everybody.
E: That was supposed to be a sing along. Is he dead? Who even invented Ricola?