The Obvious Question | KBIA

The Obvious Question

How do you travel?

Jan 24, 2020
Jessie King

“They Literally Left My Legs in Chicago.”      

Traveling with a disability is not always the easiest task. There are more barriers and logistics and things – like wheelchairs – can often turn up lost or broken.

In this episode, Madi and Becky discuss some of the experiences Madi has had with the airline industry, with ground transportation and more. And they take a look at how experiences like these impact the ability of those with disabilities to travel.

Aaron Hay / KBIA

Words Matter.

There are so many ways that language shapes our perception of others. In this episode, Madi and Becky sit down with Becky’s Dad, Dean Smith. He was a teacher and principal at a school for people ages 5 to 21 with severe cognitive and/or physical disabilities for many years.

They spoke about ableist language and the way that influences, both consciously and subconsciously, people’s view of those with disabilities and what they are capable of doing.

For those not familiar, ableist language is when a term that is associated with people with disabilities – things like the R-word, “lame,” or “crazy” – take on a negative and belittling meaning.

What's wrong with you?

Jan 10, 2020
Christopher Shannon stands alone on stage.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

“Pain may be my constant companion since the day I was born.” – Christopher Shannon

Since last season, Madi has found out that she is an ever “rare-er” breed of unicorn, as she got a newer and more correct diagnosis in 2019 that – for a while – shook her sense of identity. Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

“You can’t be worried about what other people are thinking all the time. “

In this episode, co-hosts Madi and Becky and executive producer Aaron Hay answer a few listener questions during a recent launch party in Columbia and give listeners a look behind the scenes of “The Obvious Question.”

They discussed the editorial process, how Madi selected her guests, which episodes were personal favorites and what’s next.

The Obvious Question

Sep 17, 2018
A portrait of Madi Lawson.
Jessie King / For KBIA

Get ready to throw your assumptions about disability out the window!

In "The Obvious Question," Madi Lawson, a 21-year-old journalism student who has two rare forms of muscular dystrophy, takes on the assumptions, misconceptions and just plain ignorance others have about people with disabilities.

Can you even have sex?

Sep 17, 2018
Host Madi Lawson poses with Lexi Mortimer in front of a museum exhibit.
Tony Huynh / For KBIA

"Just call me 'pretty'."

In this episode, Madi and Becky look at the world of dating, relationships Madi sat down with Lexi, one of her best friends who also has SMA, and Lexi's boyfriend, Tyler, to talk about the way the world perceives their relationship.

Whether it's the world over-sexualizing and under-sexualizing them at the same time, asking their able-bodied companions to talk for them or the physical realties of sex-this is a conversation about disability that you've never heard before (but have probably wondered about).

Tobie Roberts measures and pins a dress on Madi Lawson.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

When was the last time you saw a model with a disability? Or a person with a disability featured in an advertising campaign? On a runway? Or even a mannequin in a store that showcased a different ability? It might be hard to recall even one.

In this episode, Madi and Becky take a look at the world of fashion-Madi's #1 love. She talks with fashion designer Tobie Roberts about how to design for disabled bodies, their experiences working together for Kansas City Fashion Week and what the fashion industry can do to be truly inclusive.

Madi Lawson / For KBIA

More than once, Madi has been asked if her friends-who look nothing like her-are her sister or caretaker.

In this episode, Madi and Becky take a look at the crossroads of friendship and caretakers. Madi talks to her younger roommates, Tonesha and Haley, who are still learning what it's like to have a friend with a disability, and her best friend, Jessie, who's old hat and muses about how being Madi's friend has turned her into a fierce advocate for the rights of those with disabilities.

Hosts: Madison Lawson, Rebecca Smith

How do you pee?

Sep 17, 2018
Madi Lawson / For KBIA

There’s no party quite like a pee party.

In this episode, Madi and Becky talk all things bathroom with her best friend, Sabrina or “Bean.” These girls have been through it all – the rocky road of high school, prom dress shopping and more bathroom trips than either can count. 

Madi and Bean talk about bathrooms, about the way others have asked Madi to make her body more accommodating to them and about the perception of disabled bodies in public spaces. 

Hosts: Madison Lawson, Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Pink. Blue. Icy Blonde. You name a color, Madi’s hair has been it. But what about finding a salon that can accommodate her needs?

In this episode, Madi and Becky explore the multi-colored world of hair salons. Madi and her stylist, Amber, talk about their relationship, working with clients who’s needs are different and about what salons can do to be more welcoming to all people of all abilities.

Hosts: Madison Lawson, Rebecca Smith

Reporting By: Taylor Kinnerup, Rebecca Smith

Stephanie Cosenza / For KBIA

Madi says people often feel sorry for her for the wrong reasons. It's not the fact that she has SMA or uses a wheelchair that make her sad, it's the same things as any 21-year-old: boys, school or simply a bad hair day. 

In this episode, Madi and Becky take a look at the world of disabilities and mental health. Separated into two different chunks, the first part of the episode questions the assumptions others have about the mental health of people with disabilities through reflections on a local TEDx talk done by Hayden, a friend of Madi's.