[nabs-l] Cuts in line?

David Bouchard davidb521 at gmail.com
Sat May 16 14:47:30 UTC 2009


Arielle, 
I agree with what you said. In the cases of cutting lines, it is especially difficult to refuse if you  have sighted peers along with you who want to take advantage of that little perk. I will be going to a Six Flags this summer with the All State Lions Band, and I will probably be asked to accept either some sort of disability card, or a place in the very front of the line. I won't accept, because I don't feel I need either of those things, but I may feel pressure to do so. Has anyone had that sort of experience before?
David

-----Original Message-----
From: T. Joseph Carter <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 16, 2009 3:01 AM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Subject: [nabs-l] Cuts in line?

Arielle,

I ask to be moved to the front of the line ONLY in the case of big 
movie opening days with long lines to get in.  Reason being that I 
have some residual vision and can see the movie if I sit front row, 
center.  Most people find this a somewhat uncomfortable place to sit, 
and so it's not a desirable place to people who aren't me.

Otherwise, I'll wait if they'll let me.

They do not always let me in the event of boarding an airline.  I 
don't find it convenient to board first, so I generally try to resist 
this.  It doesn't take me longer to board, and it only takes me a 
moment to find someplace to stuff the cane.

Joseph


On Sat, May 16, 2009 at 03:05:46PM +1000, Arielle Silverman wrote:
>Hi all,
>
>I think this topic is very interesting and an important one for us to
>discuss periodically, and to examine from all sides.
>
>Personally, like many of you, I’ve always had an aversion to using
>things like handicapped parking passes, cuts in line or discounts
>because of my blindness (I don’t have additional disabilities). It’s
>something I don’t have to think about; just on the gut level I tend to
>get angry when people try to force these things on me, and have been
>this way since I was a child. I never quite understood why I had this
>strong reaction until a couple years ago when I really started to
>think about it from a psychology  perspective. For me, I realize it’s
>not just about the ethics of taking something I don’t really need or
>using a limited resource (like handicapped parking space) that really
>belongs to someone else. My motive is a lot more self-interested than
>that. I think that as blind people we are constantly having to balance
>our fundamental desire to see ourselves as competent, strong,
>effective individuals against the negative messages we continually get
>from society about how weak, incompetent, and “handicapped” we are
>because of our blindness. If I accept a perk such as a disability
>discount or a pass meant for those with physical disabilities, it’s
>threatening to my self-concept—I start to see myself as “handicapped”
>or “broken” which threatens my concept of myself as a healthy and
>effective person. So I tend to avoid taking these perks as much as
>possible in order to preserve my positive self-concept, and I think
>that’s why a lot of us avoid them on principle even if no one else is
>watching and even if it’s not really hurting anyone else.
>
>However, Jim brings up the other side of the issue which I think is
>worth exploring. One could say, “Why is it bad to use a disability
>discount but OK to use a student discount or for our parents to use an
>AARP/senior privilege?” After all, if blindness is just a
>characteristic then why not take advantage of whatever we can get by
>virtue of having that characteristic? Why is blindness any different?
>
>Indeed, I have no qualms about using my student bus pass or a student
>discount at the movies, but would consistently protest using a
>disability bus fare. And if you think about it, why are students and
>seniors getting discounts? Does it mean that students and seniors are
>perpetually poor and can’t pay the full fare, like we argue that
>disability discounts imply that disabled people can’t be gainfully
>employed?
>
>I don’t know the whole answer to this question but I suspect part of
>it lies in the fact that being a student or a senior is a temporary
>condition, whereas being blind usually is a stable (and more or less
>permanent) characteristic. I don’t find it threatening to accept a
>student discount but I would be uncomfortable with paying a lower fare
>because I am a woman, for instance, and would find the existence of
>special  perks for women quite demeaning. I will (hopefully) not be a
>student for the rest of my life, but I plan on remaining blind and
>female forever and so accepting special treatment or advantages based
>on either of these characteristics feels threatening to my overall
>concept of who I am. I think that disability-related special treatment
>is also more stigmatizing because people with disabilities are such a
>small minority (and the blind are an even smaller group), so we tend
>to feel more “singled out” by being treated differently than if we
>were part of a larger group. I have told a story here in the past
>about a time when I was required to use an elevator rather than the
>stairs on a middle school field trip, and how awful the experience
>felt for me then. I won’t go into the details again, but just point
>out that even though taking the elevator was physically easier, I paid
>the price of being singled out and separated from everyone else (there
>was just one other student in the elevator and he had a broken leg).
>
>Of course, there are times when we legitimately need special
>treatment, and even a few situations in which having a special parking
>pass might be warranted. I don’t think we should all try to be
>superheroes and do everything exactly the same way as the sighted in
>order to preserve our positive views of ourselves. But, in cases where
>special treatment is nice but not necessary, there is something to be
>said for politely declining, blending into the crowd, and maybe
>challenging yourself a bit in the process. For example, if I’m not in
>a rush, I generally don’t use an escort at the airport and I don’t
>preboard. Sure, I could preboard and it wouldn’t negatively impact any
>other passengers. But, I’ve learned a lot, met some interesting
>people, and definitely refined my travel and problem-solving skills by
>doing it this way. And, it just feels really liberating to blend in
>and to be able to tell yourself, “I did this and blindness didn’t even
>factor into the equation”.
>
>What do you guys think?
>
>Arielle

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