Refusal Might Just Be The Best Way
This unit focused on data, technology, and oppression. We read about the technologies that are used to make it technology more accessible to everyone, and how they are used. Unfortunately, with access to these technologies come the ability to use these same technologies to create an even greater digital divide. Additionally, we learned about refusal and why many people are refusing to accept the unspoked rules of using digital spaces.
In one of the readings that covered refusal, Chelsea Barabas states "It’s an opportunity to reimagine the default categories, assumptions, and problem formulations that so often circumscribe the work of data science. Refusal is a beginning that starts with an end" (2020). Which, to me, says that when a software engineer or a data scientist refuses to do things the way they have always been done they are starting a new normal from the end of the old normal. Additionally, in the Feminist Manifest-No they state "Refusal is work, one that - at its best - can help different feminisms recognize interlocking struggles across domains, across contexts and cultures, and that enables us to work in solidarity to prop up and build resilience with one another - to generate mutually reinforcing refusals" which relates the incusivity efforts in bridging the digital divide to the "real-world" feminism inclusivity efforts.
At the company I work for we have a company we have a value that tells us to "Ask why 5 times" and another that tells us to "Understand. Create. Simplify" both make a point to not do things the way they have always been done for the sake of doing things the way they have always been done. I think the lessons that I have learned by always asking why or how to simplify have shown me to actively look for ways to refuse. Refuse complexity when there's simplicity. Refuse the first answer when there's a better one. Refuse to give up.
Most importantly refusal has taught me that there is always someone that sees things a different way which means there's always someone with a better way to do the same thing. As I get further into my web development journey, I hope to find more place where I be that person with the start of something new at the end of something old. There is almost always a reason to refuse. Mostly though, there's a better way.
Barabas, Chelsea. “To Build a Better Future, Designers Need to Start Saying 'No'.” Medium, OneZero, 20 Oct. 2020, onezero.medium.com/refusal-a-beginning-that-starts-with-an-end-2b055bfc14be.
Cifor, Marika, and Patricia Garcia . “Feminist Data Manifest-No.” MANIFEST-NO, www.manifestno.com/.