Sunday, October 1, 2023

Covid, the T-Shirt

Last March I had the funniest experience as a trustee. We were required to attend a seminar about creating inclusive classrooms where everyone can feel comfortable belonging, about mental health and problems with students' executive functioning, and about understanding the brain and how to keep it healthy. Yet there wasn't a mask in sight from any of the presenters or staff or many of the trustees, and they said it would be impossible to bring in a HEPA unit to the room, and I definitely couldn't bring in a CR box. I wrote a bit about it at the time. All those involved didn't see the two-fold irony in this at all. First, they didn't (and likely still don't) see a disconnect between offering an inclusive setting where nobody who was immunocompromised in any way would be safe attending. And secondly, they didn't (and likely still don't) see a disconnect between talking about the health of the brain while refusing to do anything to prevent the spread of a virus that CAUSES BRAIN DAMAGE. 

I attended remotely and was lucky to at least garner that accommodation, but it didn't allow me to feel comfortable belonging in that room in the least. 

Now, in a similar unwitting quest for irony, the University of Waterloo just announced a fantastic change to campus: No more tobacco products.

They explained further that, "becoming a smoke-free campus is part of the University's ongoing efforts to foster a healthy and safe campus environment for all . . . it is our responsibility to create environments where health is embedded into campus culture and policy."

It doesn't start for another nine months, so smoke 'em if ya got 'em! 

I tweeted at them:
"Great move to protect all staff and students at UW from cigarette smoke starting next year, but now can you do something about the unwanted and involuntary exposure to Covid in your buildings?? Mask mandates work!!"
I currently have a prof who wants us all over to her house for the final class to have lunch together. I haven't eaten with my extended family in four years because not everyone is taking precautions. I'm not about to risk my life to eat with my prof. After a great first year, this one class is seriously making me consider dropping out of the program. I'm just baffled by this lack of concern for the well-being of all students. And I'm floored by the complete lack of inclusivity at any school that doesn't at least promote masking and acknowledge staff and students who are fighting to avoid being infected with a virus that stays in the body, attacking specific organs months or possibly years later. We know SARS-CoV-2 uses similar strategies as HIV to infect cells (also here), yet some people still think it's weird to make any effort to avoid getting a disease that has SIMILARITIES TO AIDS.

Dr. Lisa Iannattone has the same concerns with an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion conference:
"I gently asked how they'd ensure that the disabled and medically vulnerable would be safely included given the whole covid thing. Answer: no special measures. So now I need to make a protest t-shirt to wear. What should it say? I'm leaning towards, 'Stop excluding the vulnerable from conversations about inclusion.' And maybe 'Covid-19 is a DEI issue' on the back? . . . We're all just temporarily abled."

Some other suggestions in the comments. They didn't pull any punches!

Respirators make inclusion and equity possible.

Without Covid protections there can be no Equity, Diversity or Inclusion.


Thank you for excluding people of high risk for Covid.

No C19 precautions = No DEI. 

If your space is unsafe for people with disabilities, then inclusion and equity are performative.

Talking about inclusion while excluding part of the population is hypocrisy.

I came to this exclusive conference with no covid safety protocols, and all I got was this stupid T-shirt (because I wore an N95).

The true measure of a DEI conference is how it treats its most vulnerable members.

Advocacy is not an Aesthetic. 

A conference on equity, diversity and inclusion open to Covid is not a conference on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Medically diverse people need equitable inclusion

Vulnerable people could not come today because of the lack of masks.

I asked for basic safety protocols during a level 3 biohazard, but all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

DEI = Disease, Eugenics, Infection

Nothing about us without us.

Clean Air and Masks ARE Equity and Inclusion.

My Mask is Not Performative -- Inclusion without Accessibility is. 

If being called out for ableism embarrasses you, a mask would cover up your blushing.

My other mask is a guillotine.

You may be disabled after attending this conference.

Who did you infect today?

My life is worth more than your convenience.

My immunity is compromised; my inclusion shouldn't be.

Your failure to plan is my health emergency.

Hey asshole! Why aren't you masked?

I'd suggest maybe just a graph of current hospitalizations in Canada. It's getting back up there.

Or the SEVERE rating Ontario's at this week, which would make for a very colourful shirt!


Cap said...

Whatever made you take a DEI session seriously? I've sat through enough college DEI lectures to know my role in these morality plays. Although I'm a first-generation Canadian born to working-class parents, I'm white, which makes me guilty of the original sin of colonial oppression. From the moment I was born, like all white people, I partook in the “institutional racism” handed down, like Adam’s semen, from my great great great grandfathers, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation . . .” My role is to apologize and to "validate" the "lived experience" of my oppressed colleagues, even the ones earning a lot more than me by facilitating these sessions. Any questioning or deviation from that role will have consequences, up to and including firing.

DEI is purely performative. That's why it's been universally embraced by Fortune 500 companies that aren't the least bit interested in actual diversity, equity or inclusion. Do DEI workshops ever encourage people to question why university administrators are on the Sunshine List with six-figure salaries, while the teaching profs with PhD-level student debt struggle like the gig-workers they are to put food on the table? Of course not.

The function of DEI is to divide people along race, sex, and sexual and gender expression lines so they don't get the silly idea that they could cooperate to do something about the fact that C-suite salaries have risen over 2,000% in the last fifty years, while those at the bottom have risen only 15%. Or that they could unite to force universities to take proper mask measures to protect students and teachers alike.

Marie Snyder said...

The DEI session was mandatory. If I had to be there, it should have at been accessible for me!!