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Reframing the design licensure thing

A lot of people argue that making designers agree to a code of ethics via a design certification is going to raise the barrier to entry into the industry even more, particularly for underrepresented folks.

I’m definitely in that group of people and am also in favor of design licensure. There are many reasons I have for backing up that belief that I won’t go in here, as well as privileges that probably primed me–mainly my short-lived experience working toward becoming a licensed psychologist. The tl;dr is that I think it’s the right thing to do and the money part might not be as big a deal as we think it will be.

That being said, I wonder if design licensure could actually help diversify the field if the point of the thing is to ensure that people who design are good people who will do the right thing. A person from an underrepresented group of people is much more likely to be familiar with the consequences of the design decisions made by someone in that 1% who still believes that technology is morally neutral. They will know how to watch out for that in the work and they will fight to shut it down.

If there’s one thing I learned from going to Notre Dame is that this sort of thing, isn’t something you acquire by taking a class or a test. It’s a character thing that you build over time via kinship and solidarity, and it becomes the foundation for how you live your entire life. No one is perfect but it’s much easier to do the right thing once you’ve shared in the lives of the oppressed.