Episode 34: Sheltered Workshops vs. Sweatshops

Emily: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau

Kyle: And I’m Kyle Khachadurian

Emily: And you’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.

Kyle: What are we talking about today Emily?

Emily: We’re gonna talk about sweatshops and sheltered workshops

Kyle: What are those? As if I don’t know. But what are those? For the sake of pretending like I don’t know,

Emily: Well sweatshops you see, are places where people work for pennies to the hour to make various garments that are then sold for ridiculously high profit margins. And sheltered workshops are where people with disabilities do work for pennies on the hour, if that, and then people get to make really high profit margins off of them. Are we seeing a pattern here? I think we’re seeing a pattern here.

Kyle: So what you’re saying is sweatshops are bad. But sheltered workshops are so bad that we have our own special kind of sweatshops specifically for people with disabilities.

Emily: Pretty much.

Kyle: You know what I’ve wondered? I’ve always wondered this about sheltered workshops. And that is if they are ADA Accessible (coughs slightly). And I’m not laughing, that was actually a cough cause I am sick as a dog. But I really do wonder that. I feel like they must be, hey?

Emily: That’s a great question and I have genuinely no clue. All I know is that they are legal

Kyle: Yes and that’s awful!

Emily: Yes. And I don’t know anything about ADA Compliance in regards to sheltered workshops, I actually want to research that. But what I do know, 100% certain about about…is that it is legal because Section 14C of The Fair Labors Standards Act says people with disabilities can be paid below minimum wage. And in sheltered workshops people are paid below minimum wage.

Kyle: And that’s a load of hooey! To put it very politely.

Emily: Right. So there are tons of activists that are trying to get this overturned because it’s ridiculous that people with disabilities should be allowed to work for below minimum wage, doing work that’s similar that any other factory worker or pieceworker would be doing. And I mean “piece” like, p-i-e-c-e, but making less money than them because they’re disabled.

Kyle: It is a very, very good example of Institutionalized Ableism. It’s a term we throw around a lot, but that is a very clear cut example of exactly that.

Emily: But I think you should tell people why we’re actually talking about this.

Kyle: Oh! Cause I saw an article on The Hill that really pissed me off and I wanted to rant to Emily about it. And so she had the brilliant idea to connect it to sheltered workshops. Now, if you lovelies will just humor me for a second (coughs) while I cough out my lungs and explain this to you… So there’s this article on The Hill, right? And it’s called, “The Feminist Side of Sweatshops” And immediately my ears perked up cause I thought that that sound ridiculous! Bu I decided to read the article anyway because it could be great. And I read the article, and we’re gonna link the article so you can form your own opinion, but I found out that in fact it was ridiculous! Turns out, the argument is that in countries where there are still legalized sweatshops…so their example was China, women there don’t have the rights they have in many Western countries let alone America, right? So the argument is that, “At least they’re getting paid.” Which, okay technically true. Cool I guess. But is that where the bar is for feminism in 2017? I don’t think so!

Emily: I think it’s more than just At least they’re getting paid.” I think the argument is “At least their working and defying the gender roles that have been so rigid for so long.”

Kyle: But are they really defying them if they’re getting paid like, actual fractions of what everyone else makes?

Emily: So that raises the question of, “Is it a matter of baby steps? Or is it just ridiculous, get your sh*t together, start paying everyone a fair wage?”

Kyle: Well, I would say that about America. I don’t know if we could say that about communist China. You know, I don’t

Emily: Right, or like the article mentioned Indonesia. So we’re coming at this with so much privilege right now it’s ridiculous. But I think it’s still worth exploring, especially in connection with sheltered workshops because it’s frustrating to see what an incredibly low bar is set for things like including people with disabilities in the workforce or defying gender role for women in countries in Asia or…I mean where else do they probably do sweatshops now? That was probably the most uneducated thing I’ve ever said.

Kyle: Well, a lot of them were chiefly in China. Like, your IPhone for example was assembled in a factory that totally isn’t a sweatshop we swear…in China. But you know, I’m sure that you have similar things happen in places like the Middle East where rights of women which are a joke on a good day.

Emily: You know, I feel like I read there are sweatshops in The United States still.

Kyle: Oh I well, there are! Well, if you count sheltered workshops as them, and I do! Then they certainly are.

Emily: Yeah, but I think even more so than that, there are still places essentially like sweatshops but I think they at least pay minimum wage

Kyle: Well that’s, I mean, all sweatshops are bad. I’m just saying like it’s ridiculous to frame paying women anything as this like, feminist ideal?! It’s like that’s it, okay we’re done! They’re working! It’s the same way with people with disabilities like, “Oh look at these poor people at least they’re doing something!” It’s like oh, okay..but we can’t do anything with that labor becaue we’re not paying enough!

Emily: So…

Kyle: It’s just ridiculous! Oh sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt!

Emily: No that’s okay. So there’s a quote in the article from The Hill, that I think really hits home. And it says, “But ask the woman if she would rather that the shoe company not make her the offer. Look at the length of the queue that forms when Nike opens a new plant in Indonesia, and ask her if she’d rather not have any market opportunities at all, and be left home instead, entirely to her father or husband.” So, I wanted to compare that to the whole idea behind sheltered workshops. Which is essentially that people think they’re a good thing because at least you’re getting someone with a disability out of the house. At least you’re giving them something to do. At least you’re giving them something to live for. At least they’re making a small amount of pocket change. But, I just get so frustrated every time I see people setting the bar that incredibly low. If you’re doing work, ya get paid minimum wage!

Kyle: You know, it’s just such a frustrating argument to hear…If there’s anyone listening, who really believes that, I’m not mad at you yet..but I’m just gonna ask you. Would you work for minimum wage? Probably not! Would you for less than that? Of course not! Right? In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’d be unemployed before willing to work for less than minimum wage, because then you don’t have to do any work!

Emily: No I think a lot of people who listen to us must make minimum wage. And if you are making minimum wage…do I think they should raise the minimum wage? Absolutely. Do I think you should be paid the fair and legal current minimum wage? Also absolutely!

Kyle: I completely agree with you

Emily: So I wouldn’t say it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t work for minimum wage because

Kyle: No, I didn’t say that. I said that to the people who support this idea.

Emily: Oh.

Kyle: If you’re someone who thinks that sheltered workshops are okay, you probably don’t work for minimum wage, let alone below that.

Emily: Well sure, because it’s people who like, run GoodWill or whatever, people who sit on piles and piles of money while they’re able to just give penny paychecks to people with disabilities. But I think the difference here is the sheltered workshops in America are in comparison to the fact that we do have a minimum wage, you know? And there are protections in place for everyone except for people with disabilities, basically.

Kyle: Well, is that there are no protections? It’s just that we are exempt from the protections. Like literally, it’s written there.

Emily: It’s actually an exemption for businesses…to not pay. I guess by default yeah we are the ones exempt from those protections. But it’s essentially directed at businesses telling them that they can pay below minimum wage. Sub-minimum wage to be exact.

Kyle: Well you know that should be illegal no matter what kind of person you are. You shouldn’t be allowed to pay below minimum wage. Because otherwise what’s the point of minimum wage? Right? I mean I’m sure CEOs are just completely generous human beings who don’t care about anything but the greater good of their employees and they only pay them minimum wage because they have to. And if there was such a thing as a minimum wage well, then they would surely do the right thing. I’m sure that’s entirely true. I’m lying. I don’t think that’s true. But that’s the argument you hear for these sheltered workshops, like you said and it’s just, I think it’s absurd. I would be willing to hear an argument. But if you’re going to do it, just make sure it’s not, “At least it’s something.” Because that’s the one that everyone uses, and it’s just completely outrageous.

Emily: That is the argument. That’s exactly the argument people use. And I think the most difficult thing that I’ve ever heard in regards to it, was actually an advocacy event in upstate New York. And one of the older gentleman there actually works in a sheltered workshop, or did at the time that I met him, and we were in small group discussions talking about what steps we could take to fight against sheltered workshops. And this gentleman was saying, “But where am I gonna go? What am I gonna do? This sheltered workshop gives me a reason to get out of the house. And, he kept insisting that the sheltered workshop was a good thing. So on the one hand, I’m sitting here feeling guilty that we’re having a conversation in which we’re essentially telling him how he should feel, and that what he’s doing is wrong, even though for him it gives him a sense of fulfillment. And we shouldn’t take that away from him, but on the other hand, I just wish that people knew that they could raise the bar higher for that sense of fulfillment.

Kyle: No. I completely disagree. I don’t feel bad. I feel bad that the gentleman you’re speaking about feels that way. Like, he shouldn’t feel that way. Anything that a sheltered workshops that pays him less than minimum wage gives him? A job that pays him minimum wage will give him. I’m genuinely sorry that he feels that way. I disagree with the fact that he feels that way. And I want anyone who feels that way if you’re disabled to know that the reason you feel that way isn’t your fault? If that’s truly all you’ve got, that’s exactly why these things are a problem. Because by existing they have you under their thumb. If you give somebody an avenue to exploit you, they will. (unintelligible)

Emily: Which is exactly the same thing with sweatshops

Kyle: Yeah, no and then they’re just as (unintelligible) If I could speak to a woman, like an example woman in this article, I understand China’s not the U.S. so before anyone’s like, “No you can’t!” How many disabled people would work in a sheltered workshop if they knew that they didn’t have to? That’s where that comes from I think, I don’t know. I don’t think that if you really got it in somebody’s head that they could get a job working for, I don’t know how much below minimum wage they pay, but I’m gonna make up a number saying, twice as much as they make now, you don’t think they would go for it? For the same work? Of course they would! They think that way because they don’t know.

Emily: For sheltered workshops, “below minimum wage” literally means pennies an hour. And that’s not an exaggeration

Kyle: Well then that’s just reinforcing my point. Nobody who knows better would work for pennies an hour. And I’m not saying the fact that they don’t know better is their fault. It’s quite the opposite. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the supervisors in the sheltered workshop tell these people that this is all they can do, so that they don’t go looking for another opportunity.

Emily: And I think the other way that sweatshops and sheltered workshops diverge, at least insofar as how the sweatshops are portrayed in this article from The Hill is, so you can voluntarily assume work, and maintain the ability to withdraw from the work. That’s what the argument is in the article from The Hill. That as long a you chose to work, then you can choose to stop working, that it’s actually potentially a source of female empowerment. So…

Kyle: I don’t buy that either. I’m sorry, go on…But I’ll tell you why when you’re done.

Emily: See, I do because I feel that I’m in a position of privilege where I’m like “Pshh, like of course, I have the ability to voluntarily assume work and withdraw from work wherever I want and that should be a basic thing.” But that’s because I live in a much different situation than these women do.

Kyle: In a much better situation. Better. It’s not different, it’s better. And not for nothing, that sounds a lot like the mob. “Ah, that’s a nice shop you got here, would be shame if something happened to those windows. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay us, but I’m just saying if you don’t well…who’s to say what could happen? But you don’t have to!” Or like, you know, that’s how the church gets you. “Oh yeah, you can believe in God I’m not gonna sh*t on you if you do. Oh, if you don’t though you’re going to Hell! But it’s your choice! You have that choice”

Emily: Oh I thought you were gonna say that the Church was gonna say that you’re going to Hell if you don’t pay up when they pass around the tidings basket?

Kyle: No! (chuckles) At least the Catholic Church, they got rid of indulgences a long time ago. That was how Protestantism got started, or at least a little bit. That was from one of Martin Luther’s 95 problems, or 99, or whatever it was. 95. 99 was a Jay-Z song.

Emily: 95 Theses

Kyle: That’s the one! You’re so educated. Between the two of us we can make a clear point!

Emily: (laughs) I paid attention in school.

Kyle: And I hear you when you say clearly we’re from a place of privilege because we have the freedom to even talk about this, you know? Of course! But that doesn’t mean that from here, it doesn’t look terrible. I understand, I can empathize with the fact that maybe if we were living in China, maybe if we were born there, we would have very different feelings about this, but that fact is that we don’t and we weren’t.

Emily: The other interesting thing is that the article about the sweatshops says that we shouldn’t reject the sweatshops as sort of this American Savior Complex I guess? That’s not how the article says it, but that’s what I’m getting from it like, this need for everyone else to live in the same way that we do and so we think we need to protect everyone else and instill our values in everyone else. But for sheltered workshops it seems to be the opposite…

Kyle: Well…Oh, go on.

Emily: It seems that you know, people think that not removing them from that situation is protecting them. That make sense?

Kyle: Yeah no, you’re good. I understand you completely. I sympathize with the fact that you know, I don’t think that “American values” are the best in the world. I think they work here for the most part, but you know if you go into another country and force your values on them, they’re not going to be very happy even if those values are demonstratively worse. But, if you’re in America where you should have them, right because we’re here when we’re talking about sheltered workshops, it’s just unfair. And it’s un American. Like it’s… I’m not one to preach about American values, like whatever. But like, if there’s one thing that’s un American it’s like not giving people the equally opportunity that they deserve to make it.

Emily: Is that, really? Un American though?

Kyle: I know it’s a growing trend given our current political climate, but…

Emily: I wouldn’t even call it a “current trend” I would call it a thing that America is founded on.

Kyle: Yeah, Equal Opportunity is what America’s founded on…

Emily: No. No, Equal Opportunity if you’re like a… straight, White dude

Kyle: Yeah, okay but still, equal opportunity…

Emily: Straight, White, Able-Bodied dude

Kyle: Listen. Yeah, we don’t fit that criteria either, but we’re doing alright. I’m not saying it’s not true, you’re absolutely right. I’m just saying like, I would still rather be here than in communist China. I would. Sorry.

Emily: Sure.

Kyle: That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying that privilege doesn’t play a part, ‘m just saying that in governments where you censor the collection of information, where you make it so that a little Chinese girl turning twelve can’t go on the computer and Google the word “feminism” can’t learn about it, doesn’t get the opportunity to realize that hey, maybe this place that she lives in, is a much larger part of the problem than any one person in her life can ever be.

Emily: So I don’t know if this a total stretch then, but arguably, isn’t that the same issue that sheltered workshops pose in a way? The very nature of it being sheltered, you know is that the people in there don’t have adequate resources in a language that’s accessible to them, to say, “Hey you have options!”

Kyle: Absolutely. And that’s what I’m saying, I would say the exact same thing. The reason that I’m harping on the one in China is that it’s a lot easier to point at a system of government that we know actively oppresses all of its citizens and goes, “Well that’s just bad.” Like, their value system should be better, but when it comes to looking at ourselves in the mirror…”Us” as in America and say, “Wow, this is a bad thing that we’re doing.” I mean we can do it, we are doing it, that’s what this episode’s about. But I feel like it’s a lot harder for people in general to do that when it’s where you live. It’s kind of like, how like you know when like, somewhere else in the world protests an authoritarian government. Americans cheer, but when Americans do it, half of the country says that we’re big babies. It’s the same thing. You know, it’s like it’s very hard to look at yourself in the mirror and go, “Oh maybe I’m part of the problem.” But you got to, that’s how you improve. And sheltered workshops are like never good. At all. So they should all just go away. That’s how I feel about that.

Emily: You know, I suppose this is a very biased plug, what I’m about to say, but um, I work with an organization called Rooted in Rights and the released a documentary called Bottom Dollars, which specifically addresses the exploitation of people with disabilities. In sheltered workshops. And I think the issue is that sweatshops and the like are so front and center that it becomes a feminist issue because so many people are aware of the problem. I don’t think a lot of people outside any connection to disability whatsoever, are aware that people with disabilities can be exploited in sheltered workshops.

Kyle: I agree with you, but I still wouldn’t call sweatshops feminist by any definition.

Emily: Oh, I’m not calling them feminist I’m saying that it’s a feminist issue. And sheltered workshops are something that should also be counted among feminist issues, ableist issues but…

Kyle: Honestly, I agree with you. That shouldn’t have a, “certain group of people- issue.” That should be, if you’re human in America, and I don’t mean to sound like one of those people who’s like, “Oh we all believe red” because I’m not one of those people. But like, if there ever were an issue that was like, “Oh can we just forget about labels for a second?” And see that this is exploitation of people in a first-world nation and how f’ed up that is? Oh by the way, in case you’ve listened this far and you’ve been dying to scream at your screen or you have already, “Oh, but you know if we we didn’t have sweatshops in China your IPhone would cost a thousand dollars and would you pay a thousand dollars for an Iphone?” No, I wouldn’t but I also wouldn’t buy one! ANd i understand that that’s everything…and everything that we like is cheap because of exploitative labor somewhere. This is us realizing that. That doesn’t make it any more right, that doesn’t make it any less wrong. And we’re not contributing to it by using the products that are the fruits of it. Otherwise we’d all be like, clicking rocks together to make fire.

Emily: (chuckles) This is such a tough one because I’m aware of all the terrible things that I do that are terrible. Like, take a shower that’s too long and it’s bad for the environment

Kyle: Eat meat

Emily: Bad for the environment

Kyle: Bad for animals

Emily: Yeah well, but on the whole bad for the environment.

Kyle: Yeah

Emily: And of course, really bad for animals

Kyle: Driving. Bad for the environment Gotta do it. Seriously! I mean like, that’s what I’m saying. So if you’re gonna point that in our faces…

Emily: But I think the difference is that stuff like sweatshops and sheltered workshops, especially sheltered workshops, don’t need to be happening.

Kyle: No.

Emily: Actually, the more that I think about this, for people who’ve listened this far, I’m actually getting mad at myself for putting the two against each other cause quite frankly I think they’re somewhat separate issues in that sweatshops are a larger humanitarian crisis and…(sighs) Okay, I can’t quite articulate what I’m trying to say here.

Kyle: Usually I understand where you’re going with this but I have been kind of lost.

Emily: Okay, this is a tough one for me because I can see people saying that we’re trying to call one worse than the other or we’re comparing apples and oranges somehow.

Kyle: I don’t think you’re doing that. I hope not! Well, okay, you can think about how to articulate your thought but I’m gonna just bounce off of that for just one second if you don’t mind. The reason I think sheltered workshops are worse is because it’s happening in a place where there are laws like Federal Minimum Wage, and there are things that should protect us and don’t. Whereas in China they don’t have those rights, and that’s also terrible. Very, very terrible. That’s inexcusable. But it’s a little bit more excusable when those protections are there and doesn’t apply to you because that means you were singled out specifically to be exploited.

Emily: I think that’s actually what I’m saying. So, the reason I started to say that sweatshops are a larger humanitarian issue, is because…they are. In the sense that they impact massive groups of women especially.

Kyle: Yeah

Emily: But they are in countries that don’t have the same legal system we do. And so here, I do think sheltered workshops are a humanitarian issue, but I also think that it’s different in the sense that it impacts no one but the disability community.

Kyle: Yeah. And I’d also argue like you said earlier, I mean you ask any person on the street and they’ll probably tell you they’re against sweatshops, but like you said, you ask somebody on the street if they’re against sheltered workshops and I think the answer you’re gonna get more often than not is, “What’s that?” And I think that, in fact, sheltered workshops are one of the five things left in the world that awareness campaigns could actually help a lot with because of that.

Emily: But they don’t

Kyle: Well of course not. They don’t make them either. They don’t make them. At least I haven’t seen them. Have you?

Emily: Yeah the documentary I was talking about. But the problem is getting that in front of the people that need to see it.

Kyle: Yeah well, look I’m just saying I don’t need to be made aware of Breast Cancer every year, but I am. No one needs to be made aware of Breast Cancer. People need to be made aware of how to check for it for example, but like, everyone knows what Breast Cancer is, and it’s terrible, but here’s a very legal way to exploit a very large subset of the American populous and no one knows about it. And that’s absurd. Cause I think at the very least we’d have more protests about it. Or at least more people talking about it on social media, or something. Anything!

Emily: But yet, the argument for why sweatshops are feminist is that they allow women autonomy to go have a job. And I would say that it’s the exact opposite with sheltered workshops, even though people with disabilities may think that they’re autonomous in this decision, there are so many other forces at work.

Kyle: No, I would say the exact same thing applies to sweatshops. I don’t think those women have…they have autonomy in that no one’s forcing them to do it, yeah okay like the same forces that are forcing disabled people into working in sheltered workshops I would say also apply to those women in the sweatshops.

Emily: Well, if you’re living in a country where women working is frowned upon, then I would say it is a feminist depth the more that I think about it, to at least be able to work. I just think it’s anti-feminist that we’re sitting here supporting such an awful situation.

Kyle: It’s a lot more anti-feminist in my opinion though. Dude, is that where the bar for feminism is? I don’t think you’d agree with that. I’m not really asking you that. But I’m just saying, if that’s where the bar is for feminists then they’ve got a long way to go too. I mean of course they do. But that’s not what I’m saying, like there shouldn’t be an argument as to whether or not exploiting women in a third-world country, well they’re not third-world…but I guess they technically are cause those are technical definitions..

Emily: I don’t think third-world is really the right term anymore.

Kyle: It’s not. Well, those…I’m sorry I misspoke, you’re right cause those actually have very technical definitions, all to do with the Cold War. So actually that was the exact wrong phrase to use. But, in a nation that doesn’t have our Western values. I am of the opinion that for some reason is unpopular, that Western values are better than non-Western values for the most part. Like, freedom of speech, and freedom of bodily autonomy and the non-exploitation of people…not that that doesn’t happen in Western nations, of course it does, but it’s also not enforced by a government like it is in places like China.

Emily: You are socialized to believe that those values are correct.

Kyle: Okay

Emily: In the same way that people in China are socialized to believe that Communism is correct.

Kyle: And in the same way that women in the Middle East just are cool with not being able to drive…some of them I’m sure just think it’s totally normal. It’s not. It’s not normal that’s exploitative of women, no matter if you think it’s normal, just like sheltered workshops are exploitative of disabled people, whether or not they think it’s normal. Just cause you think something’s normal doesn’t mean it is. And of course, yeah the values that I have of course I’m speaking from. But if you’re gonna sit there and tell me, “Oh it’s just how they were raised,” you can apply that to anything. It’s just the values that they were brought up with…of course! But that doesn’t make them good. To the gentleman that you were talking about earlier who thinks that his sheltered workshop is the greatest thing in the world because it brings him a purpose in life…you don’t think that that’s good, do you? He’s wrong!

Emily: I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to a sense of purpose. I wish that where people get their sense of purpose from is something that’s actually fair and equitable.

Kyle: Yeah. No I 100% agree. I 100% agree. But I’m just saying that if it’s not, then just because he thinks it’s right doesn’t mean it is. That’s what they want him to think! They want him to think he can do no better, that’s what keeps them there. You said that earlier, you said that’s why they call them sheltered workshops! That doesn’t make them good. And yes of course, of course I guess you know like we said before we are speaking from a giant place of privilege, yes. And you know if you are from an abusive home and you are Chinese, you have the one out of your day where you get to escape your home life and work under very sh*tty conditions for very sh*tty pay but you’re homelife is so bad that that’s somehow still better? That’s…horrible you know? And it should happen to you. But it doesn’t mean then that it’s still okay to do that! Everyone should be paid a fair wage for the work that they do. Everyone. Period. I don’t care where in the world that you are.

Emily: Right

Kyle: If you disagree with that because you live in a country whose value system says otherwise I think you’re wrong, I just do. Everyone should be paid fairly for their work. And I don’t mean that like, you know I don’t wanna sound like a communist like, “Oh doctors and janitors should be paid equally!” No no no, there are jobs that deserve higher pay, of course. But if me and Emily do the same job in two different countries, we should get paid the same equivalent of each other’s currency. Gender notwithstanding! Don’t bring up the pay gap in here now. That’s not what I’m talking about Of course, there’s a ton of other factors in here like that, but I’m just saying…Emily and me, she’s in China, I’m here, I’m in China, she’s here. We do the same job no matter what it is, we should get paid the same. Period.

Emily: Western values everyone

Kyle: They’re pretty neat. Anyway (f*ck) Again, not sure what swear word you were going for here lol sheltered workshops, everyone! Am I right?

Emily: Yeah I’m super frustrated by sheltered workshops. It’s like, the problem that just doesn’t go away.

Kyle: Oh, you know what we didn’t touch on? And like, we’re 31 minutes in so like, I guess anyone still listening is a giant fan of us anyway. We didn’t touch on why. Or rather not why, but how they determine how much to pay you. Which I think is atrocious. And I don’t know this is true, but I think this is true, is that they have somebody, they’re usually minimum wage jobs, that an able- bodied person would get paid minimum wage to do, and they have, “Joe Schmo Able Body” um, do something…fold a shirt, fold ten shirts, and then they give it to you or me and then we do it, and then they do some math based on the speed which it took us to do the task and then they use that to calculate how much we get paid less. And of course, if we manage to do the job faster than “Joe Schmo Able Body” we don’t get paid more. No, of course not! At least as far as I know, that’s how it works but we’re gonna confirm as much as we can obviously.

Emily: Yeah we get worked up about things and then do our homework (laughs)

Kyle: I mean, that’s why you guys love us right?

Emily: But this is worth delving into because it’s such a huge issue it’s not an isolated issue.

Kyle: No certainly not. And I think an even more interesting angle I guess would be to like, the fact that The Hill article made us angry because it exploits women, but such a thing there I guess would be a feminist value scraping the bottom of the barrel as to what a feminist value is, says a lot about the privilege you were talking about earlier. Like, we were both very quick to say, me more than you, then like if that’s what a feminist value is, then don’t you wanna do better? But in places like that I guess yeah, you really do need to start with baby steps. But I’m not going to give it any credence using my Western biased value system by which I used to define the word “feminism” If feminism means something different in China then okay, it’s feminist there, but it sure is not here. Exploiting women is not good. Period. In before dozens of hate tweets like, “Women get exploited in America all the time!” Yeah, I know I’m not talking about America right now, I’m talking about China and other places that have legal sweatshops. But, sheltered workshops in America….terrible, terrible, terrible, anti-American, awful awful, awful, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad!

Emily: Was that your final takeaway?

Kyle: Sure was!

Emily: My final takeaway is that this is a super complex and nuanced issue.

Kyle: And? Everything we talk about is a super complex, nuanced issue.

Emily: But I think, that that was specifically worth pointing out because I’m not sure that there’s a right way to look at this. There’s definitely a right way to look at sheltered workshops. And the right way to look at it is that they’re wrong.

Kyle: There’s definitely a right way to look at sweatshops too, they’re also wrong! They’re wrong!

Emily: But the sweatshop article arguement got me like a little bit at the end

Kyle: No! No! No! That is not, no. I could put a gun to your head and say, “Emily you have a choice as to whether or not I shoot you, all you have to do is empty your bank account and give it to me.” What choice is that? “Oh well she didn’t want to do it so I shot her. Well, if she had the choice…” No! Uh-Uh! That is not, no! No, no, no, no, no! Maybe relative to the rest of where you live, but certainly not from here. And if that’s relative to where you live, then through no fault of your own, you’re not living in a good pace. And that’s our first-world privilege showing, we said that earlier. But still, sweatshops are bad! Sheltered workshops are sweatshops in America for disabled people…also bad!

Emily: Kyle’s very passionate about this issue.

Kyle: Look, I’ll give you this, I’m not angry with you. I’m not. By the way, I’m saying that more to you guys than to Emily. Emily knows me but like, you have a very valid point that in the construct of places discussed in the article it can be construed as a feminist issue, of course. But, if that same situation was in America there’s not a single man, women, anything between puppies, cats, any animal, anything! Plants would evolve to become sentient to tell everyone that that is not a feminist issue. And that’s not even a word I like to use often but I mean, my God! And yes, I’m very passionate about how much I hate the exploitation of people. It’s one of my favorite hobbies, to hate on that because it’s awful, it’s like the worst thing about humankind.

Emily: And yet we do it everyday

Kyle: Yeah we do

Emily: Us included

Kyle: No, we do! We use our IPhones, we’re using the internet. Like, but there are certain things that can’t be avoided. You know like, when uh, who’s that Republican jackass that said, “Oh if you want health insurance just don’t buy an IPhone” It’s like okay, you don’t need to buy an IPhone but you need the internet in this day and age.

Emily: Did you hear the guy who was like, “Oh, you just buy too much avocado toast if you’re a millennial and that’s why…”

Kyle: I, okay slightly off topic, I thought that was hilarious. Like, that was completely the wrong thing to say

Emily: It was completely inaccurate!

Kyle: And millennials love avocados man. We do. I don’t, I hate avocados but like most millennials like avocados, they do. But his point was that we need to save money. And obviously like, when you’re already a millionaire it’s really easy for you to say. But obviously, since you’re a millionaire you probably know a thing or two of what you’re talking about. But I do agree that that article was in very bad taste.

Emily: If you’re a millionaire who became a millionaire on the tails of someone else, you don’t know what you’re talking about. No, you do not

Kyle: Was he?

Emily: Yes

Kyle: Okay, well then he knows a little bit less of it then. I’m just saying, such a thing…”Okay so that’s bad, but sweatshops in China are a little bit okay because…” No! It’s bad. It’s so short sighted. That’s like your racist uncle at you Thanksgiving dinner saying how this generation only cares about participation trophies.

(Emily chuckles)

Kyle: That’s the exact same argument, but yeah. But I did think the headline was funny. That millennials should stop buying a lot of avocado? Cause we do, we love avocados man…we do! Do you like avocado? You’re explicitly not saying.

Emily: Um, I love avocado

Kyle: See? See?

Emily: Okay, okay you know what? I literally changed my mind about the article the more that I’m thinking about it. There is no way sweatshops are feminist. It’s not feminist.

Kyle: Ahhh! Did I just convince you of something?

Emily: Um, no I just thought about it more.

Kyle: Ugh…dammit!

Emily: And got really frustrated at it. I mean, I guess you convinced me but like

Kyle: (sighs)

Emily: It’s too much of a low bar. It’s too much of a low bar, that’s all I’m saying.

Kyle: There’s no bar! What’s your bar, “Don’t exploit women” yeah, okay! That’s not hard to do. Oh My God. But I guess you know in 2017…Anyone who’s not in America listening to this, listening to us talk like, “Wanna talk about low bars? Look at who your President is.” Right? But you know…cest la vie.

(Emily chuckles)

Kyle: Anyway, goodnight everybody!

Emily: Oh gosh…thanks for listening!

Kyle: See ya next time

Emily: On The Accessible Stall. Bye!