We don’t all “have the same 24 hours.”

Anyone who thinks that we do lives in a monster privilege bubble

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

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Wooden hourglass on a counter against a white brick wall
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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By itself, the statement “we all have the same 24 hours” is an empty maxim. Commonly followed up with by “What you do with it is up to you,” or “Successful people just sacrifice more than you,” the statement turns from fatuous into aggressive, blaming, cringe-worthy, condescending, and in many cases, discriminatory.

I am a person with several disabilities. One of the things that people with disabilities inherently lose access to when we become disabled is that we don’t have the same 24 hours as everyone else does. The disability time thief sees to that.

Sometimes the disability time thief steals a few moments here and there.

  • Getting your partner to make sure that your clothing colors don’t clash.
  • Getting someone to tie your tie.
  • Having to re-read the same paragraph two or three times before it makes sense or asking someone to explain it to you.
  • Asking people to repeat themselves or increase the size of the text on the screen.
  • Waiting for SO many things — from an interpreter to someone to open a heavy door to the availability of the electric cart at the grocery store.
  • Showing up early for everything so when something goes wrong you don’t end up being late. Then waiting some more when things go right.
  • Trying out website after website until you find one that works with your assistive technology, because 98 % of them don’t.

Sometimes the disability time thief regularly and…

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Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.