Chairs can hold us up or let us down. Likewise, they can bring us together or keep us apart. A chair’s design might be the smallest unit of society’s structure—in that one piece of furniture we find DNA that helps determine who gets to spend time in what spaces and at what cost. If you can’t sit down, you have to keep moving on. If you can’t sit down, you’re not truly welcome. I think about this every time I sit on a city bench that has awkwardly placed armrests to make it impossible for unhoused folks to stretch out.
Chairs come in different shapes and sizes like us. It’s not a one size fits all technology. They’re not always inclusive, as Lisa writes.
I like to think of everyone sitting at a table with those adjustable, swivel chairs. The ones that you can change the height of. The ones I spent most IT classes at school, ascending and descending with.
Equality would have us all sat at the table with the same chair of the same size and height. That wouldn’t be much good for everyone. It would favour certain people over others. The people that fit in with society’s design, perhaps?
Justice would have everyone with an adjustable, swivel chair.
We all deserve a seat at the table. We need to do the work in our societies and culture so that everyone feels welcome at the table.
Do you take the places you sit for granted?
Where do you sit at the table? Is it at the head, the side? Is it important that you’re seen and heard?