[nabs-l] Blindness and other minorities

Alexander Castillo alexandera.castillo at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 04:20:44 UTC 2011

Hi all, Chris  wrote:

"It seems to me that
these misconceptions are passed down through the generations;
from one generation to their children, then passed on to those
children's children, then to their children, and to their
children, and so on.  When these beliefs are taught for a long
time and are handed down through the generations, it becomes
easier for people to believe them and they mostly do.  These
misconceptions, which are widely believed by a vast majority of
the public, are the beliefs from which the stereotyping and
discrimination stem.  Then, the misconceptions of the public
directly effect us, as we then become the object of
discrimination and stereotypes.  To me, other minority groups
don't have this problem.  "

These are exactly the causes of discrimination against gender,
religion, ethnicity or race.... And, they are still being fought
against by other minority groups as well. People do believe that
ethnicity or race has to do with intelligence, they do discriminate
against sex and gender based on beliefs which are false.

We are no diferent as a minority group than any other. This might be a
dificult concept to grasp for those of us  who's only identification
with discrimination has come from blindness. But what we deal with on
a daily basis is what many minority groups in the past have dealt
with. The difference now is that for those other minority groups, it
has become taboo  to stereotype and discriminate even in positive
ways, for example, saying that all Asians are good in math, or that
all Hispanics are good at baseball, or that one should treat their
female co-workers gentler then male coworkers.

What we face is discrimination which to the sighted public  isn't
visible as discrimination. It is seen as charity, as grace, as good
will, as good intent, and quite often as a necessary part of "dealing
with the blind."

Thanks for reading,

On 11/7/11, Jedi <loneblindjedi at samobile.net> wrote:
> Perhaps, but there are "cross-platform" techniques that other
> minorities are using that might help us out just as well.
> Respectfully Submitted
> Original message:
>> Julie,
>> No, the discrimination faced by people of different races and
>> ethnicities, or gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc., is a
>> different type of discrimination that what people with disabilities
>> face. It also stems from different sources- usually this type of
>> discrimination grows out of hate as well as ignorance and fear of
>> differences. Disability is feared too, but the general idea, as you
>> state, is that many believe disabled people require constant assistance,
>> and disabled people are owed a debt by society because we lack equality.
>> It's not processed this way, but it stems from the perception that
>> disability equates to not being capable, less fortunate, inferior.
>> We can't place discriminatory behavior side by side when it comes to
>> disability and other issues like race or sexual orientation, but we do
>> share the fact that ignorance and antiquated perceptions perpetuate
>> ideas about people who are different. We can't try to make the issues
>> exactly the same and hold the same measurements, but we can understand
>> how ignorance cultivates an environment lacking education and
>> infromation providing people with the concept of true equality.
>> Sincerely,
>> Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter
>> Read my blog at:
>> http://blogs.livewellnebraska.com/author/bpollpeter/
>> "History is not what happened; history is what was written down."
>> The Expected One- Kathleen McGowan
>> Message: 4
>> Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2011 23:40:03 -0600
>> From: Julie McGinnity <kaybaycar at gmail.com>
>> To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
>>         <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blindness vs. Other Minority Groups
>> Message-ID:
>> <CAHox4D+p6XefJkLCiWDb+f0VnjH5W2ZQeVu+NXaku=HYJmY7Jg at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>> Hi all.
>> I know this was mentioned a bit in previous messages, but I think the
>> big difference is the fact that sighted people believe that we are
>> always in need of help.  They take it as a matter of course that we are
>> helpless and can't do whatever it is by ourselves.  Now I am speaking
>> generally; I do not mean all sighted people.
>> I don't believe that other minority groups deal with this problem. White
>> people don't try to help African Americans with simple tasks without
>> asking them if they need it as sighted people often do to the blind.
>> When blind people refuse help or get annoyed when they are treated
>> differently, then the sighted people are offended when the blind speak
>> and advocate for themselves.
>> I actually think that educating complete strangers is easier than
>> educating people I know.  I have been called angry and prideful because
>> I refuse to allow people to grab my arm and propell me along, and I get
>> very frustrated with people who will not talk to me in favor of speaking
>> to my sighted friends.  It was said to me by a friend that I should just
>> deal with it and accept the help because it is easier that way.  I don't
>> even know if this person even understood how offensive that comment was
>> to me.
>> When I am in the middle of a situation where in I have to educate
>> someone, I try to handle it with firm politeness.  It helps to keep a
>> smile in place and explain it as though these things happen all the
>> time, which they do.  You can complain and rant to your friends later.
>>  :)
>> The other problem is that there really is a time and a place for
>> advocacy and education.  I am a performer, so I must walk on stage.  I
>> prefer to do this independently.  I am a singer, and I work with an
>> accompanist.  We have been working together for about five years.  She
>> knows that I will walk on stage on my own.  This weekend at a singing
>> competition I had to work with another accompanist.  This one thought it
>> necessary to grab my arm and stop me at my place in front of the piano
>> and try to turn me around to face the audience.  I was stuck.  I could
>> not give her a speach then and there of course, but I was afraid that it
>> would look bad that she was litterally trying to turn me around like I
>> didn't know which way to face on my own.
>> Unfortunately, even when I tried to explain it to her later, she did not
>> understand.  I have also taught my guide dog to stop when people grab my
>> arm.  This is actually quite fun.  The person trying to pull me along
>> will get annoyed and inquire as to why I am not moving.  When I explain
>> calmly that my dog stops when people try to guide me because it is her
>> job to guide me, and she does not need to compete with others, they
>> understand and don't get too offended.
>> This is a very interesting thread, and I've been enjoying reading about
>> all your thoughts and experiences.
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