Emily: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau.
Kyle: I’m Kyle Khachadurian.
E: You’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.
K: What are we going to talk about today, Emily?
E: Oh, this seems to be our tradition, where you ask me what we’re going to talk about.
E: So, today, we are going to talk about privilege, but not just any kind of privilege.
K: What kind of privilege?
E: Wheelchair privilege.
K: Wheelchairs can’t have privilege? What are you talking about?
E: Oh, but they can, my friend.
K: Can they?
E: Sure can.
K: Tell me more.
E: Not the wheelchairs, but the person in the wheelchair. You would think that with all of the talk about discrimination against disabled people that wheelchair
and privilege wouldn’t really go in the same sentence.K: That’s exactly what I would think.
E: But you’d be wrong.
E: Let’s see. How about we start with our double date yesterday. So, Kyle and I went on a double date in New York City yesterday with our respective significant
others. We decided as one does on a romantic New York City double date to go to the top of the Empire State Building. When we got there the line was…
K: … out the door.
E: I don’t even know how to explain it because that was not out the door. That was…
K: It was out the door and then it sinked in and around it was very long.
E: It was overwhelming, but we went through a different door and…
E: The accessible entrance, we discovered that we were at the front of one line, only to be led to the front of another line, another line and another line, I think all told we jumped probably a two over a two hour wait.
K: Easily, that would have been, yeah, we would have had maybe a half hour up there and instead we had about two hours up there.
E: Yeah, and we got some pretty solid viewing spots too.
K: Ones that were made specifically for people with disabilities and you could say that’s fair for accessibility reasons and you’d be right because the better spots
have lower viewing column so that a person in a wheelchair can peer over them because obviously they can’t stand up. But, we also… they made people move out of the way for us and they made… we skipped every single line, we got through security much quicker. I mean, every possible perk you can get short of paying for our tickets we got.
E: Oh, that would have been sweet.
K: I thought we were going to get that to be honest, I really did.
E: So, here’s the thing though, I’ve been told a lot of times that this seems rather unfair that I get to cut lines. You know how in the days before Disney World had all their new disability policy, you could just go there and if you had anything remotely resembling a disability you could cut right to the front of the line?
K: Yes, those were the days and we should talk about that actually on one of these episodes.
E: Yeah, I would say even within this particular episode because that was wheelchair privileged that was taken away because people not in wheelchairs were abusing the privilege.
K: But also because people not in wheelchairs would hire people in wheelchairs to pretend to be part of their family. Then they would accept and help them. So it was also partly our fault, which is why they changed it. However, the system that they have now, it’s not terrible, but it’s not anywhere near as good as it was and what it is now is you sign up and you get your card, and then you put in your name and the rides you want to go on and the times you want to go on them, and then you can skip to the front of the fast pass line, which is like, that’s pretty good. The thing is, I’m sorry, you can get in the fast pass line, which is pretty good, but two things one, if it’s a popular ride, the fast pass line is still very long and two, you don’t know where you’re going to be at that specific time. Obviously, you’re going to make time to get to that ride, but you might be coming from the other side of the park.
E: Yeah, but arguably having some “wheelchair privilege” or I would even broaden it to disability privilege.
K: No, I wouldn’t. I’m sorry, I wouldn’t. No, I really wouldn’t. I would… because I don’t get any of it. I don’t. I would actually… to your point though, I would call it visible disability privilege because sometimes when I bring a walking aid that I completely don’t need to concert venues, I get better seats. The reason I…
E: Taylor Swift concert?
K: No, that’s the one that I didn’t but every concert like in Irving Plaza, they do it; Webster Hall, they do it. I bring a cane to concerts because I know they’ll feel bad for me and give me ADA seats that I need anyway, but they won’t give them to me unless I look disabled.
E: So, you need some visible proof of disability?
K: Yeah, which I get. I really do, but that’s because the most people fail to acknowledge that invisible disabilities don’t really exist. That’s a different episode, but I carry those things because when I carry them more often than not, I get really great perks like my best example was I was seeing my favorite band in Jones Beach in 2012. I bought tickets and I’ve loved this band since I was 10 years old and I was so happy to finally see them. I was with my friend with no arms who I’ve mentioned maybe twice. We got another car and my dad was helping my friend into his wheelchair and some rich guy saw us and just handed us two $500 VIP box seats, which came with a free meals, free alcohol, private bathroom and the most optimal viewing and then it started to rain and we were the only people that were dry so it was just the greatest.
E The activist side of me wants to say that that is utterly ridiculous.K: It is utterly ridiculous. I’ll say that.
E: Because it was out of complete pity.
E: No, but then I’m going to counter my own activism argument with the fact that I have taken advantage of it far more often than I’d like to admit publicly and yet,
I’m going to admit it publicly because… and this is terrible logic, but I guess the best way I can explain it is that for the amount of things that are completely shut off to me, or that I am shut out of, I will take the perks and the privilege that I get on the rare occasions that I get it. That being said, the more correct thing for me to do and the thing that I do try to do sometimes, again, I’m admitting that I know, I’m sort of in the [00:06:35 crosstalk].
K: Don’t sugarcoat it, just say it.
E: No, I’m not sugarcoating it, I’m just qualifying, I should just say, “Oh, treat me like anyone else let me wait in your two-hour line.”
K: You know what’s funny is that my parents are those people. I used to walk with the visible crutches back before… and we went to Disney World way back before this new policy was a thing and we would get offers to the front of the line all time and my parents would say no because they wanted their son to be treated like everyone else and they didn’t want special privileges because their son happen to need crutches to walk and I respect them for that. I really do. It’s the same reason why they won’t get a handicap parking, accessible parking, your favorite word parking, disabled person parking placard…
E: Disabled parking pass?
K: Yes. Those things.
E: Or sticker?
K: Yes because of me, they drive me around sometimes and when I’m not around, I take public transit but that still qualifies you to have one if you drive a person
with a disability around enough and they certainly qualify but they don’t want it because they’re the people that feel like they are taking away from somebody who does need it. I get that and I respect that and actually kind of almost is a lot of the reason why I have the views of disability that I do, but as a person with a disability who very rarely gets taken as a person with a disability whenever I’m presented with an advantage, I take that immediately like there’s no remorse at all because I’m like, “Oh, man, it’s so rare that I even get offered this, I’d be foolish not to take it.”
E: For me, I get momentarily frustrated because I think, “Oh, I don’t want to be today’s good deed or today’s object of pity,” but on the flip side, if it’s going to
work to my advantage in a particular situation, then I do take it. I don’t think there’s any way to say it that doesn’t make us sound like major jerks but it’s the reality of being disabled.
K: No, it’s not a major jerk. It is slightly hypocritical, but show me a person who isn’t, you can’t find one. The thing is you take what you can get. That’s basically what it comes down to.
E: Although sometimes it’s just silly. Like I was dating another wheelchair user a while back and we went to a baseball game and we were waiting in line for Shake Shack. I was really excited about my milkshake and then someone comes up and says, “Oh, you know, you can get your food faster. Just go to the front of the line so that you don’t have to wait with all these other people.” I was excited at first and we cut to the front of the line. So, there was less time between me and my milkshake, but then I thought about it and I was like, I’m the only one, me and my ex-boyfriend, we were the only one sitting, we were the only ones who… it was literally no effort to wait on that line.
K: I’m glad you said that, because it’s the exact opposite for me. Completely opposite because…
E: You should be the one to cut the line.
K: Yeah, because walking is generally an issue and the only time that I have trouble walking is if I’ve already done a lot of it, I will probably get tired before any of you most likely. Having said that, I can walk a fairly decent amount of time and distance before anything happens also like you. However, standing still or walking very slowly such as the case of a of a line is the quickest way to make me very, very tired and so, if I’m waiting in line for anything, if I don’t have a thing to lean on, or a person to lean on, or I didn’t bring my cane, then I’m going to have a bad time, sometimes to the point where by the time I get to the front, I don’t even want to do the thing I was standing in line for.
E: Yeah, you would have to ask to cut the line.
K: Not only what I have to ask, I would not ask because I have, and I never, ever, ever get told, yeah, sure, you look the part because I’m not visibly disabled.
That’s what it is. This is not disability perks. This is not disability privilege. This is visible disability privilege. In fact, arguably, in some cases, people with invisible disabilities need to do things like cut the line more, but we’re the ones who don’t get to.
E: I a hundred percent agree. I think about people who are in the autism community who have expressed that waiting in line can often cause some kind of a meltdown or can be very uncomfortable because they are around too many people or because waiting for such a lengthy period of time is just very difficult. Autism is not a visible disability and therefore, I feel like at least from what I’ve heard, this is purely anecdotal that policies like those at Disneyland and things like that are not really helpful to autistic people or people who really cannot go through the act of waiting on line whereas for me, I can just sit there no skin off my back, whatever but I also feel like usually it’s a ploy to get me out of the way.
K: It might be, and you know what, though? But to be fair, usually, wheelchairs are in the way because even if the place is accessible, you take up as much space as four people standing back to back to back to back like in a square and…E: Can we measure that?
K: Yeah, that was a complete guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m close. So, even though it is to get you out of the way, it ends up working for everybody because for them, you’re out of the way and for you, you’re already done with the thing. You did it, you’re first but sometimes you have to work around these issues like going back to Disney World only because I was there last year, there were some attractions that weren’t… you couldn’t use your disability card for which is complete nonsense because why would you make such a thing that only works for most things? No one… no cast member could explain that to me but the smarter ones what they did was, when I expressed that I couldn’t stand in line, they gave me a chair, let me sit in it, marked my place and then after the people that were in front of me in line went, they let me go. To me that’s completely fair. That is exactly what should be done. I don’t want to cut the line. I just want somewhere to sit. If cutting the line makes your life easier too, then I’ll do it but in a perfect world, I don’t want to take any advantages and I think waiting my turn with the chair in the corner is a great way to compromise so that everyone wins fairly.
E: Yeah, it’s more about accommodations and privilege. Honestly, while I enjoy the perks, I would rather be accommodation and I think back to a lot of things that I’ve done in larger groups with my family, people are practically jumping up and down to do whatever they can to accommodate us because not only do I have my wheelchair, but my mom has her wheelchair and if we’re with our extended family then my uncle uses a mobility device and when my grandfather was still alive towards the end of his life, he was using a wheelchair. So, we were just the disability circus and at that point people could not wait to get us accommodated.
K: Yeah, and I have found that when I’m with another disabled person who is more disabled than me or at least more visibly disabled. I’ll give a practical example.
Whenever I’m with a friend who uses a wheelchair, it doesn’t matter who it is and we go on a Manhattan bus, I don’t have to pay because they don’t have to pay. I should still have to pay. In fact, they should still have to pay, but people in wheelchairs can ride the MTA buses for free. Did you know that? You do now.
E: This was the thing that I didn’t know until you told me.
K: Well, you actually use one of the new select bus services and one of their goals is to make people with disabilities pay because their machines are wheelchair height.
E: Well, we’re getting off the typical now [00:14:33 crosstalk].
K: For the most part. Yeah, it’s a special kind of bus that she just happened to be on but most buses in New York City like all but maybe five of them, people in
wheelchairs can ride for free. If you go on behind one and say to them, “Oh, yeah, I’m with them. I’m their aid. I’m their caretaker. Not you’re their friend because friends pay, but if you pretend to be a caretaker for all of five seconds of interacting with the bus driver, you ride for free too. So, naturally, whenever I’m with someone in a wheelchair, we ride the bus, I am everyone’s caretaker.
E: Where’s the line though? This is what I wonder in this conversation, is there a line where you really just have to say, no, this is actually not right. I’m actually doing something that is technically wrong even though someone is letting me
get away with it.
K: You’re asking me?
E: I think this is a general question. I’m asking you because you happen to be my darling co-podcaster.
K: Most people… well, I figured you were also maybe asking rhetorically but I feel since I never get the advantage when that happens I’m all about it, but I know that for a lot of my friends, their line would be if somebody offers the money.
The friend that I went to the concert with the one with no arms would happily take money because money is money, but for some people, for most people I would say, that’s the line where it’s like, “Okay, I’m not your charity case, don’t hand me money, I don’t need it.”
E: Oh my gosh, I would never ever, ever do that. That would absolutely be my line. Also, I wonder and I haven’t really put myself to the test on this or I haven’t
been presented with a situation that has tested me on this, but I wonder what situation money notwithstanding, would finally be my breaking point where I would just have to say…
K: Oh, was money… was money too far past your line, you want to know where the actual, the fuzziness starts?
E: Yeah, where blurred lines if you will because there are privileges like cutting a line and did it really affect anyone else’s night because four people, the group that we were in yesterday…
E: … cut the line?
E: Right, so there was no real effect on anyone but there has to be a point where it’s just too far gone that I…
K: We’ll let you know when we find it.
E: Yeah, but then the other thing and this goes back to our Unwanted Help episode, what happens if you are offered this special privilege and you say no?
I’ve had that happen to me before, I can’t think of a specific instance at the moment but I’ve been offered the opportunity to cut a line or to get where I’m going just a little bit faster and it turns out that I say no and then people get really mad at me, how dare you turn down my help?
K: Yes. You know why? It’s because when people get angry with you, they’re imagining what if… what would they do in your situation, because, of course,
who wouldn’t want to cut the line? What most people don’t understand is or at least in the moment is that that comes with a disability that they probably don’t want. We often say that disability isn’t a bad thing and it’s not but it’s also not something that I personally would want anyone to have either. I think that when someone gets mad for… if someone who’s disabled not accepting a special bit of privilege, they’re extremely short sighted in the fact that they’re just saying that because they would do it without thinking of the consequences of having to live with something for the rest of their lives because to them, it would turn the world upside down.
E: This is making me think about the flipside of disability privilege and I do mean disability in general because as much as we can focus on things like cutting lines,
I would say the other major thing that disabled people get is the opportunity to do really cool things, like the Make A Wish Foundation or something.
K: I wouldn’t use that but yeah, no…
E: No, okay, so Make A Wish [00:18:31 crosstalk] people.
K: But to be fair… I know but you know what? I’m going to actually say something about that because I know a bunch of people with my disability who have
gotten wishes for Make a wish who don’t deserve them. I’m going to say that they don’t deserve them. They’re not terminally ill and that is that is taken away from someone who is because they are a charity.
E: Well, there’s another organization called the Starlight Foundation, and they specifically focus on kids with disabilities. So, that was who I got my wish from,
but I was five years old and/or really young, and they sent me to Disney and I just think that was so lost on me…
K: You couldn’t even enjoy it, you were too young to even appreciate it.
E: Yeah, but at the same time, it was like, “Oh, this disabled person, they don’t have much to live for, let’s grant their wish and make them happy.” It’s kind of
along the same lines as when disabled get to meet celebrities, or like a celebrity brings a person with down syndrome to prom. I’m saying this because I just read a story about this the other day. That’s a perk of disability that I feel like no one would pass up if you get the chance to meet your favorite celebrity.
K: That’s right. Yeah.
E: So, sometimes, it’s just plain old cool, and it gives you bragging rights and you
really can’t get mad about it.
K: Plus, go on, I’m sorry.
E: I think my life would be different in a lot of ways if I didn’t have these small bits of privilege.
K: Absolutely and not for nothing, and this really isn’t to sound ungrateful for what I’m about to say. I’m going to put a really large disclaimer and speak very slowly
before I say it to make myself absolutely clear that what I’m about to say is being very hyperbolic, but as people with disabilities, we also have our very own special law that makes us a protected group of society, the ADA. Now, every other group…
E: Americans with Disabilities Act.
K: Yes, it’s a great law and every person with a disability should be grateful for it. Most of us are however, that sets us apart and a lot of marginalized groups here
and there have their own set of laws, but I think the ADA is the most refined one. It’s also ironically enough, the most inclusive, which is what it should be because otherwise you have people who are disabled who don’t get included.
E: The ADA doesn’t say, “thou shalt what… people in wheelchairs cut to the front of the line,” honestly?
K: No, but it makes us protect it against people who… like if we decide something is discrimination, we automatically have a case for it.
E: I feel that if the ADA really was effective, we wouldn’t mean these special little perks and privileges.
K: I agree, but because it isn’t, and because we have them, that’s… You could argue, and I would argue too that that’s compensation for where the ADA fall
short, but the fact of the matter is I don’t think it should happen at all because like you said earlier, you could sit in line all day. There’s no reason for you to have to do that, but I can’t.
E: Yeah, exactly. The only thing that I wish would be different is accessible bathrooms. If I can always know that I have access to an accessible bathroom, which is not special privilege.
K: No, that is an accommodation, that is a big huge fly. A privilege is something extra and accommodation is something done to make something else possible that everyone does.
E: Although some time, I’ve been let into places where I technically shouldn’t be just though I can empty my bladder.
K: Yeah, me too, but if you’re desperate enough looking, they’ll let you. I don’t know how much of that is disability.
K: Probably a good portion, but…
E: I’m not talking about if you’re desperate, I’m talking about I’ve been brought backstage during concerts so that I can use the restroom or something. I was at
a concert with you.
K: That’s right.
E: I’m sitting there getting all excited because I’m using the same toilet that’s the guy we saw just used. How sick is that? Then I’m backstage and I saw… and I mean sick, like ridiculous. Just like, awesome, because I know that was a silly thought, but then I’m coming out of the bathroom and I see him and for just a second, I’m thinking I really make a beeline for him right now. Because what are they going to do?
K: They’re not going to do anything.
E: Are they going to stop the girl on the wheelchair from going to say hi?
K: No, they’re not and they wouldn’t if I bet, but we were good people, we didn’t do that.
E: This is actually hard for me to talk about because…
K: Yeah, the more I talked about it, the more it’s like…
E: I try to paint myself and as positive a light as possible. I don’t mean that I’m a fake person.
K: No, no.
E: But I genuinely try to come across to someone who believes in equality and not
in special privilege, but I take it where I can get it.
K: I’ve expressed this to many people, including my parents, who as you know, who are the people I said earlier, who specifically didn’t let little me take
advantage of anything. When I express it to them now, they say something to the effect of, “Society dealt you a rigged hand and so when you have an opportunity, you should take it.” That’s not the exact words that they use, but it’s essentially like, “Okay, you had a disadvantage from the start. So, when someone offers you one because of that, don’t pass it up.” I don’t, but it also, I might, if it happened me every day because it never happens to me or almost never, maybe once or twice a year and even so, I have to probably be with a more visibly disabled person for it to happen. I never pass it up. For someone like you, I think it would be a harder decision to make.
E: Yeah. I also want to talk about not only the privilege in the sense of meeting celebrities or taking your free wish granting trip to Disneyland, but privilege in the sense that for me, and I know this is going to be very contentious. My disability has afforded me some career opportunity also.
K: Mine too.
E: I know that that’s really not the case for a lot of people and disability is actually the exact opposite and that it works against people and that employers can still
be very discriminatory, but in my case, probably because of my children field because I work in a field that’s very much linked to the world of disability. It’s only worked to my advantage.
K: Yeah, I would say that as well. I mean most jobs or everything that I’ve done strictly professionally has had to do with cerebral palsy. Like I said the previous episode, that still could have been the case had I not had it, but having it gives you a fairly decent leg up when working with it, or for an organization that supports it. Because they get street cred for having an employee with the thing that you’re trying to fix, or at least deal with whatever your case may be. You become this vessel of knowledge for those people that they used to better themselves. It’s a very nice symbiotic relationship for the times that it’s afforded me well. I can’t pretend that wasn’t because I’m disabled, but that like Emily said that that’s… she and I are sort of like unicorns, not really real, in that we’re fairly out… we’re outliers is what I mean to say. Usually, it works so hard against you that it’s very hard to even get your foot in the door, so to speak, but we’ve been lucky.
E: Although, there is a greater push for affirmative action, especially in the federal government. The law now requires that your workforce needs to have at least 7% of people who identify as disabled.
K: I don’t agree with that at all. One, because if all it takes us to identify as disabled, then anyone can say they’re disabled. That’s number one.
E: I really don’t think that would happen.
K: Neither do I. I think people are mostly good, but that’s just a possibility. Number two is I don’t want to be treated special because of my disability. If you’re just
using me to fill a quote, I mean, yes, it works for both of us, but you didn’t hire me because I’m the best at the job. You just gave my job to me over someone else who might be better qualified because I’m physically disabled that’s not fair.
E: Well, so a lot of the work that I do is specifically around this particular issue where not only are you looking for increasing the diversity of your workforce,
but you’re also looking to find actually qualified candidate. So, a disabled qualified person, not just a disabled person who you’re going to hire.
K: No, I understand that. I understand that. That’s fine, I guess. What I’m saying is, if you… what I’m saying is take the disability out of the pool of qualified people.
If you give a person a job and they’re qualified and also disabled over a person who’s more qualified and not disabled, that’s not fair to me. It just isn’t. I understand that the whole world working against us, especially in terms of employment, and I still will say that’s not fair. In fact, I would say that’s a band aid on a much bigger problem, one that works and one that I’m not going to ever fight against. If you ever ask me what I really think about it and that’s why I’m saying it. I don’t think… I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I think it’s in the direction that is only a temporary fix to a much bigger problem.
E: Perks and privileges tend to be band aids in general depending on how you’re defining privilege because…
K: No, absolutely… yeah.
E: I’m not talking about a make privilege in the way that there’s white privilege or something like that or male privilege. I’m talking about privilege to be synonymous with perks in this particular sense.
K: Yes, but I mean we could argue the semantics of that word all day. We just want to be edgy in the title to be honest with you. I guess one of the things that you want to remember is there’s a reason that stuff like that happens and sometimes the reason is because every other avenue generally doesn’t work. Even though I will take every advantage given to me and even though Emily will have to make a choice every time she’s presented with one, the reason that it happened is generally because the way things should happen don’t for people like us. That’s why you might think, “Oh, you’re cutting the line at Disney World, I wish I were you,” but we’re only doing that because somewhere someone thinks we have to. I have to more than Emily, but it’s because…
E: It is a band aid to the larger issues.
K: Yeah, the larger issue is that the world isn’t accessible. The smaller issue right now is that I’m in the back of the line Disney World and it would be advantageous for me to get to the front. Is the best way to fix that one thing to let me cut the line? Yes. But is that going to make Disney world as a whole more accessible? No.
E: So, then, are these really social advantages and the use of social disadvantages?
E: Or is it still a disadvantage because it’s not solving the larger issue?
K: No, it’s still is because I don’t get to cut the line. You’re not solving anything for me. I don’t get any of the perks. It absolutely is. If I were in a wheelchair, I
would… here’s another one, I don’t get to buy a disability ticket on public transit unless I whip out an identification card that has my scarlet letter of disabled on it.
E: Yeah, nobody questioned me, in fact, here…
K: And that…
E: Here is another privilege, hold on I need to say this because this is so relevant.K: Go on.
E: There are so many times where I have not had to pay for a train ride, I have my ticket out, the conductor will look at the ticket and keep going. They don’t punch the ticket.
K: That you could argue to me all day that… and we pay less too, and you could say all day that that’s because people with disabilities are generally less employed and sure, but we’re talking fairness here, aren’t we? Why do we pay less? I don’t dislike it, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. It’s cool to pay less for something but we shouldn’t have to, or everyone should have to pay less. I prefer the second one, but you know.
E: Well, then you’re getting into more of a economic political climate discussion rather than just one of…
K: No. Well, that’s just what pertains to…
E: …isolated instance.
K: Well, yeah, but so what? That’s an advantage that it actually pays to be disabled. Literally.
E: No. I disagree.
K: Well, okay. You don’t… you’re right, it doesn’t…
E: It’s a band aid to the larger issue of most disabled people…
K: Yeah, but do you think…
E: … struggle financially.
K: Do you think that if 100% of people with disabilities are employed that that would go away? I don’t, I really don’t.
E: I do.
K: You do?
E: I think…
K: I hope you’re right.
E: I would hope it would.
K: Yeah, no, me too. I actually agree with you, but I don’t think it will.
E: I just don’t care about things like a train ticket price. What I care about is raising the level of disability employment for me.
K: I agree with that too, but that particular thing is something that does affect me fairly every day.
E: Yeah, it’s nice when I don’t have to pay for a train ride and sometimes, I’m like, “Oh, yes, this is saving me so much money,” but in the long run all it’s just doing is making me the conductors’ good deed for the day while not solving the larger economic crisis that a lot of disabled people experience.
K: No, but in its own way, I wouldn’t say one ticket is not going to solve anything, a million tickets won’t solve anything, but it’s giving relief to the bigger issue and if
that’s all something as big as the MTA can do, short of hiring a million disabled people just because to better the issue, then that’s what they have to do. I’ll accept that but if we’re talking about strictly equality or justice or equity is the new one where everyone is on the same ground then such advantages wouldn’t exist no matter how big or small and no matter how band aid or not, and that’s why it’s this weird thing because all these advantages are very real, but most of them are cover ups to things that are more important, but less less affecting to everyday life. So that’s why earlier, the subject of a blurred line comes up because how much is too much and when is enough enough?
E: When should the larger issue be fixed so that we can stop these little bandages or not so little as the case may be? A discounted train fare can possibly be make or break for someone who needs to choose between taking the train to work and buying their lunch.
K: Yeah, and these little things, there’s a ton of those, but it’s…
E: When we are talking about privilege, we need to acknowledge ours because we are talking about…
K: We are white and like fairly upper middle class and we have internet and we live in the United States, in New York City. You don’t live in New York City, but you live in Long Island. That’s pretty good, too.
E: Yeah, the list is really full of some privileges, but the thing is…
K: Come on. I be checking boxes all day man.
E: We are hyper aware of our privilege constantly because we also see the ways in which we do not have privilege. So, we’re grateful for what we do have in a way that I think a lot of other people maybe aren’t.
K: Yeah, and it could just be because they don’t see it too. I don’t want to make anyone sound completely ungrateful unless you are, in which case you’re kind of a jerk, but you know.
E: It’s such a tough subject because you want to take your little victories where you can get them but you also really need to address the big victories that the disability community hopes to have.
K: Right. My question though, and I think I know the answer for you, but this is sort of a rhetorical big question is, are you willing to give every single one of those up if it meant a fully accessible, fully equitable like equal in both… in whatever definition you use world? I would, I think you would too. Maybe I don’t want to speak for you maybe you won’t, but I don’t think a lot of people with disabilities would. I think that’s the difference.
E: So, not giving up who I am or my disability but giving up some of the things that come with it?
K: No. Say the world is perfectly accessible, every bathroom cell, every job opportunity, everything, make your own unique world and you’re still this you and nothing else is different except that those advantages still exist. Would you be willing to give them up? I would.
E: I absolutely would because…
K: I don’t know if a lot… I don’t know if many people would, I know I would.
E: I hope other people will share…
K: I agree. Well, I hope that most people would because if you won’t, then I think you’re a part of the problem a little bit, just a bit.
E: Yeah, I would be thrilled if every bathroom was accessible, if everyone paid the same price for a train ticket because unemployment wasn’t such a rampant issue among the disability community. I would be thrilled to see people actually check their privilege.
K: Like with a pencil and a checkbox and everything. I actually do that once a week, just in case I missed any, not really, not really.
E: Literal checking yourself. Yeah, no one needs to get to the front of the line at Disney World, or the Empire State Building or wherever. You just don’t when it comes…
K: It’s pretty cool.
E: It’s cool. It is cool, but I’d give that up in a heartbeat if it meant even for a day.K: I wouldn’t give it up forever for a day. Are you kidding me? That’s unfair. That is
completely… that is not what I would do.E: [00:36:38 crosstalk] to bleeding hard.
K: No, no maybe that’s true for you but that’s absolutely not true for me. If I can make the world accessible for a day, that’d be wonderful but if it just meant that
it would go back to the exact same way and all the advantage were gone forever? No, that is unfair.
E: What peace that would be though?
K: Well, that’s right up there with, would you live without your disability for a day? I would rather live without my disability forever because for a day, I might realize that having one really sucked and it would be great but that’s that…
E: Well, inversely, you might realize that it’s actually really weird to be someone that you never were to begin with.
K: No. I said… well, that’s where we talk different, last time, I’d still be me. Assuming that everything about you besides what you…
E: I mean physically.
K: Oh, then yeah, totally. Yeah.
E: I would actually have a panic attack if I could [00:37:20 crosstalk]. K: I probably would too. Yeah.
E: Get out of the bed one day.
K: If I could start running tomorrow, I’d be like… it would be like Tobey Maguire at the beginning of the first spider man just something would be off for some reason.
E: I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
K: I would run forever. I would run till I was exhausted, not that I ever wanted to, but I just feel like if I had the… I would feel compelled to, like the force of God
would compel me to run or something but that’s another thing you know people… that’s a topic that comes up every once in a while is the subject of cure, which we’re probably going to talk about in a later episode like we always say we will, but…
E: Consider that a preview for a later episode, but just to make sure that we wrap it up and tie it with a bow for wheelchair perks or privilege, or whatever word you fancy.
K: As long as it starts with the letter P, basically we’re good or should I say ‘pasically’?
E: Yeah, this episode was brought to you by the letter P.
K: And the number seven. My final takeaways would be, they’re pretty cool especially because they don’t often happen to me but a lot of them are unnecessary with appreciated band aids to much bigger problems that we wish were solved before or better or at all even.
E: My takeaway is that if anybody wants to hook me up with meeting Ryan Reynolds because I’m in a wheelchair and you feel really bad for me…
K: I would shoot myself in the spine to meet Ryan Reynolds, just said… just throwing that out there, not really.
E: If any of you listening have the hookup that’d be really cool. You should feel really bad for me. Otherwise, drop this pity nonsense immediately and stop
giving me your special privileges. Although I don’t mind…K: Unless it’s… unless it’s Ryan Reynolds.
E: Yeah. Or, cutting in the front of the line at the Empire State building.
K: To be to be quite frank, both Emily and I appreciate a free meal once in a while, but don’t lay it on too thick because then you’re feeling bad for us and we wouldn’t want that.
E: Hold on, free meal with Ryan Reynolds.
K: That’s too much.
E: No, I would pay for that meal.
K: But come on, he should pick up the tab at least. You would pay to have access to that meal surely but then when you order everything, he’s got to pick up the tab. He’s Deadpool.
E: So, actual takeaway from this episode is, I love you, Ryan Reynolds, so much.
K: Yeah, so do I. Basically, that’s it. Anyway, stay tune for the next episode of The Accessible Stall, where we gush about Ryan Reynolds.
E: Actually, we’re glad that you joined us for another conversation about a pretty tough topic related to disability.
K: Yeah, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and do all the stuff that I’m not shameful
enough to say but Emily might be, so…
E: Oh, no, I was about to do the shameful.
K: Really? Yeah, thank you guys for listening and if you’re still here at the end, we really appreciate it and we’ll see you next time.
E: That’s a wrap on episode five of The Accessible Stall. Thank you for listening. I’m Emily.
K: I’m Kyle.