A figure of a human carved from wood stands in a pile of sawdust next to a pencil. The figure has its hand to its face as if forlorn

We exist as friction.

We exist as friction. The work that I do; it’s wildly painful.

Changing the Disability Design Narrative – UX Cake Podcast

People are creating interventions to get around actually having to talk to us.

And we burst that bubble.

Changing the Disability Design Narrative – UX Cake Podcast

We exist as friction, and it’s exhausting. Allies, load-share our burden of existing as friction against structural ableism. “Staying alive is a lot of work for a disabled person in an ableist society.” Share some of that work and friction. We need respite from this wildly painful work.

Some ways you can help in your everyday life:

We’re constantly educating others on, and hacking our way around, structural friction, to the betterment of all.

Disabled people, we are the original life hackers, right? Our innovative solutions have changed the world, right? Like, we created the Internet, we created the bicycle, we created the iPhone touch screen, we created audio books and curb cuts. And, you know, just item after item. And, you know, I think that it just demonstrates the value of really existing on the margins.

Changing the Disability Design Narrative – UX Cake Podcast

It’s tiresome work. We could use some help from abled and neurotypical allies working with us and alongside us instead of for us. Develop the lens.

…who is capable of developing this lens? I don’t think as a society we’re there yet, right? Like, we don’t always — we’re not so eager to have our bubble burst. Especially with one of the few things that sort of traditionally makes us feel good about ourselves which is what disabled people call inspiration porn, right?

Where the objectification of our body is used to inspire other people, right? Disabled people make everybody else in society feel better about themselves. And I’m taking that away. Right? And that’s not fun.

Changing the Disability Design Narrative – UX Cake Podcast

Develop the lens by changing our framing from deficit ideology to structural ideology.

Design is tested at the edges. Invite friction into our companies, schools, and teams. We’ll all be better off for it.

So if intersectionality makes all of our social justice efforts so much better, why isn’t it a more prominent part of our social justice movements? I believe there are many reasons that may be why social justice movements have been slow to adopt intersectional practices:

  • Intersectionality slows things down.
  • Intersectionality brings people face-to-face with their privilege.
  • Intersectionality decentralizes people who are used to being the primary focus of the movements they are a part of.
  • Intersectionality forces people to interact with, listen to, and consider people they don’t usually interact with, listen to, or consider.
Oluo, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk About Race (pp. 74-75, 77-79, 81-82). Da Capo Press. Kindle Edition.
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