[nabs-l] waver

Marc Workman mworkman.lists at gmail.com
Tue Jan 11 00:56:35 UTC 2011


Hello Arielle,

Not sure if your message below was a response to my post, but since I'm the 
one that brought up discrimination, I'm going to offer a response.

I don't think I suggested that math and science classes are highly visual, 
at least not inherently highly visual.  In fact, I said that music 
appreciation at Gallaudet and art history at my imaginary blind university 
would be "designed in such a way that the deaf and blind students wouldn't 
be forced to work harder simply to make up for the ignorance of the people 
who designed the course/curriculum."

You yourself said such courses are "visual to the extent that sighted 
teachers tend to present the material in visual ways".  This is where the 
discrimination occurs, in the fact that blind students are forced to do 
extra work, when this requirement is not actually necessary.

Would it be acceptable to require a woman to do extra work, simply because 
the teacher tends to present the material in such a way that it requires 
more work for women? I doubt it.

I think you make interesting points, but since my claim was never that such 
courses are necessarily discriminatory, but are in fact discriminatory due 
to the way the material is presented, which you seem to agree can be done in 
a visual manner, I would ask why it would not be discrimination to 
unnecessarily create more work for a blind student when it would be 
discrimination to unnecessarily create more work for a woman.

Students can certainly succeed, even in the face of pervaisive 
discrimination.  They can be creative, and work harder, and come up with 
solutions to solve fundamental design problems, and this can even make them 
better.  But I have trouble understanding why someone would accept 
discrimination on the grounds that it can be overcome.

Best,

Marc
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Arielle Silverman" <nabs.president at gmail.com>
To: <jsorozco at gmail.com>; "National Association of Blind Students mailing 
list" <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] waver


>I disagree with the position that math and science courses are highly
> visual. They are only visual to the extent that sighted teachers tend
> to present the material in visual ways, and sighted students tend to
> prefer to learn the information visually and express it visually. The
> knowledge gained in math and science courses is not inherently visual;
> it can be mentally represented in several different modalities:
> sentences, tactile imagery, sounds, experiences, mathematical
> equations or likely a combination of the above. I would even venture
> to argue that art history is not a visual course. The art itself is
> usually perceived visually, but what you learn in an art history
> course is the history behind the origins of the art, different
> classifications of art, etc. This is all semantic knowledge, not
> visual or aesthetic knowledge. I think it is critically important to
> distinguish between visual knowledge (i.e. an understanding of what
> different shades of blue look like) and knowledge that can be
> transmitted in multiple ways, including through visual images (i.e.
> statistics, which can be represented either through graphs, equations,
> or computer code). The latter group of courses is readily amenable to
> creative solutions, as all the blind scientists, mathematicians,
> engineers and economists have illustrated. So I find it hard to claim
> that such courses discriminate against the blind.
>
> Arielle
>
> On 1/10/11, Joe Orozco <jsorozco at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Sean,
>>
>> Excellent post.  I believe, however, that any large organization, with as
>> many facets as the NFB, should have a constructive guide on what 
>> positions
>> it has taken with regard to popular issues and at least a brief 
>> description
>> of why that position was taken.  I was appalled to read some of the 
>> comments
>> where the overarching views of the organization were misconstrued.  Some 
>> of
>> the points that come to mind are: audible signals, accessible currency,
>> video descriptions, and Braille literacy.  I feel such a guide could be a
>> good way to succinctly inform prospective members and the public at 
>> large,
>> because while I agree that such points can be found in resolutions and
>> general literature, we're assuming that people will go hunting for
>> information to disprove their preconceived notions.  Such a guide would 
>> at
>> least serve as a starting point for putting the NFB philosophy into some
>> kind of context for the uninformed.  Otherwise, thanks for laying out one
>> hell of a post.  Not bad for a Democrat!
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Joe
>>
>> "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their 
>> sleeves,
>> some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing
>>
>>
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>
>
> -- 
> Arielle Silverman
> President, National Association of Blind Students
> Phone:  602-502-2255
> Email:
> nabs.president at gmail.com
> Website:
> www.nabslink.org
>
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