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🟢🟡🔴Maybe skip Pandemic Buttons🛑
The Scarlet Letter of green, yellow, & red badges, wrist bands, and stickers at "professional meetings" & elsewhere.
Why are professional conventions and workplace meetings ditching sensible pandemic mitigation measures like occupancy limits, mask requirements, & air purifiers, but then choosing to go through all the trouble & expense of these weird red & green buttons & badges schemes?
Maybe you’ve seen the pictures on social media where people choose stickers or wristbands that label their pandemic awareness… risk levels? Or I guess their disability status.
These folks seem to be working overtime to force normal by going way over the top, and it winds up looking quite absurd. And additionally, most of the criteria being defined focuses on outdated notions of fomite transmission and close contact droplet dogma — when we know SARS-COV-2 is definitely airborne.
So guess what guys, if everyone in attendance were wearing N95 masks, people could probably more safely do some coworker hugs if they really want to! (And if it’s welcome — because honestly you should always have this clearly communicated in advance of physical contact, even without a pandemic. Me too, anybody??)
Personally I would take 6 of the red buttons and put them all over me, so in 3D you could see them no matter the direction. BUT I also would probably never go to any of these conventions in the middle of a pandemic!
That brings us to a pivotal issue here… SELECTION BIAS.
Of course most people attending these events are “team green” — because almost everyone who would choose a red or even yellow button, are not attending this event in person if they can help it.
And the at risk people who have been professionally pressured to attend? The organizers went with the idea of having disabled people wear labels.
I have heard the organizers of these schemes often genuinely mean well, even though it looks to me like a passive aggressive attempt to punish disabled and immunocompromised people for not just quietly excommunicating ourselves from society altogether. But I thought it was well known that red is a stigmatizing color, often with a meaning of sin or evil, a la “Scarlet Letter,” while green means go and all good things, and yellow could mean cowardly.
But even if it is well-meaning, and the people doing these programs honestly disregarded any symbolism, it still has junior high school peer pressure vibes that are palpable, and frankly, unprofessional.
And who really likes to be labeled? You’re lucky to get people to wear a name badge sticker voluntarily for the first hour, and that’s your name.
Not gonna lie, I’m pressing the panic button on the idea of pandemic buttons and saying — think about this scheme some more before you go this route.
Because the bottom line to this: Even if every person involved does want some kind of system of pandemic boundary signaling… is the person designing the system talking to the people who want to wear the red buttons or might need to because they are immunocompromised or disabled? Are we asking those people how they feel about the system and how things should be handled?
Maybe try asking everybody first?
And if anyone says no ✋ - that means stop. 🛑