[nabs-l] Prejudice, ignorance, and sighted domination

clinton waterbury clinton.waterbury at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 13:48:15 UTC 2009

I think this is a valid point.  I mean...  I would want to know if a  
doctor had the right skills to treat a broken leg or something like  
that, or even if someone who was fixing my computer wasn't going to  
just screw it up even worse than it was before.
It's like when I was at the center for the blind here in salt lake  
city.  I tok a woodshop class and managed to make a lamp, and avery  
time someone asks if I got hurt in the process, whitch I did but it  
was vary minor compared to other stuff I've heard about, I just tell  
them what happened and laugh about it seeing as how it was, by all  
accounts, a blunder on my part.
The thing is though, crying discrimination over just little things is  
there everywhere.
On the other hand though, if someone is telling me that my imput is  
not valued simpley cause I can't see an image on a screen or anything  
like that, and said individual does research for several large  
companies...  Well then I'm gonna call bs on them.
On Jun 17, 2009, at 4:41 PM, Jim Reed wrote:

> Hey all,
> I wanted to start a slightly different topic as to how ignorance  
> leads the sighted domination.
> First of all, sighted domination occurs because sighted people are  
> ignorant of what blind people can do, or how they do it. Therefore,  
> education is one way to avoid sighted domination. The other way is  
> to actually do whatever it is the sighted person thinks you cant do.  
> Part of the problem is that some blind people are so quick to scream  
> "sighted domination" that ignorant sighted people are afraid to ask  
> questions; this does nothing to reduce ignorance or to improve the  
> public preception of blindness and blind people.
> Second, like it or not, blindness does play a role in defining  
> relationships; it defines how people interact, how they share  
> information, and what activities they participate in. How is a  
> sighted person who has never interacted with a blind person supposed  
> to know what is appropreate to do or say around blind people unless  
> they are free and comfortable enough to ask questions and make  
> mistakes?
> Much sighted domination occurs because the sighted person does not  
> have the confidence (or the necessary information to be confident)  
> in the skills and abilities of a blind person. I am sorry, but I am  
> not just going to take your word for it that you can be independent  
> until you prove it to me. I am not going to put a blind person  
> through an obstacle course just to decide if I want to be their  
> friend, but it seems like it would be awfully hard to treat a blind  
> person as "one of the guys" until they first prove that they are  
> indeed capable of being just "one of the guys". Similarly, I am not  
> going to go hiking in the wilderness with a blind partner until/ 
> unless I knowhow their vision limits their function, and how they  
> have overcome this limitation. This is not a sighted domination  
> issue, this is a practical issue with potential life and death  
> consiquences. Before I break my leg five miles in the backcountry, I  
> need I know if and how my blind partner can
> handle the situation. If my life is potentially in their hands, I  
> have a need and a right to know that they can do what needs to be  
> done, and I am sorry, but in this situation I am not just going to  
> take your word for it.
> I guess the bottom line is, in my mind, that equality, confidence,  
> and acceptance, much like respect, are earned, not given. This is  
> not an attitude that I only take towards blind people, sighted  
> people must prove themselves as well.  If you don't want to be  
> dominated, then you need to prove to me that you can handle  
> yourself; until then, try as I might, I am always going to be  
> somewhat doubtful of your abilites, and try as I might, my doubts  
> will be reflected in my actions.
> One last note on equality. It is common knowledge how sighted people  
> accomplish tasks, and sighted people are routinely required to prove  
> that we do indeed have the skills we claim to have. However, it  
> seems that the sighted are just supposed to accept the blind  
> person's word that they can do the task.  It seems to be one big  
> secret as to how blind people do task, there are laws preventing an  
> employer from asking how the blind person would do the job, some  
> blind people get pissed when you ask them if, or how they can do  
> something, and, god forbid you ask them to prove it.  As a sighted  
> person, everyone knows (with a fair amount of certianty) what your  
> basic skills and abilities are, and they know (with a fair amount of  
> certianty) how you accomplish your task. So, if blind people want to  
> be treated as equals, why shouldnt sighted people have the right to  
> know if, and how you can do something? And, why is it that blind  
> people feel they have the right to
> get pissed off if I ask them if or how thay can do something,  
> whereas I can ask any of my sighted friends the exact same questions  
> without them thinking I am dominating or custodializing them? If you  
> trueky want to be equals, then you all need to put up with, and  
> handle, the same crap as everyone else, and in the same manner as  
> everyone else. Personaly,  if someone doubts my skills and  
> abilities, I don't cry domination or discrimination, instead I  
> either attempt to prove them wrong, I ignore them, or I tell them to  
> piss off. If I am truely an equal in society, I don't defend myself  
> by crying discrimination, and I don't justify my actions based on  
> the fact that I am "different".
> I don't know, I guess this is the sighted side of me talking, but  
> these are some of the things I have been thinking about as of late.
> Jim
> "From compromise and things half done,
> Keep me with stern and stubborn pride,
> And when at last the fight is won,
> ... Keep me still unsatisfied." --Louis Untermeyer
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