[nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

Andi adrianne.dempsey at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 01:44:02 UTC 2011


That is a problem with blind and sighted alike.  I can't smile a good smile 
just because someone tells me to for a picture.  It usually looks like what 
it is, forced.  However sighted people have the same problems many of my 
friends expressed this problem.  I think thinking a private thought about 
something funny to you is great if it gets you to smile a real smile.  It 
doesn't really matter if others think it's funny if you do and it gets you 
to smile when the camera flashes

Andi.

-----Original Message----- 
From: vejas
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 7:48 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

I don't know if any of you have this problem, but I have trouble
smiling on camera.  I don't know-I just can't always get myself
to do it, but then when something isn't funny sometimes I do
smile, and I might be thinking about something which really isn't
funny to someone else.
Vejas


----- Original Message -----
From: Patrick Molloy <ptrck.molloy at gmail.com
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Sat, 19 Nov 2011 19:32:22 -0500
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

Ashley,
Maybe some blind people don't know how and when to use the facial
expressions that they already have, and because of this, they
don't
use any expressions at all.  It's an interesting question.  I
mean, the
"programming" is there, but like you said, some people just have
no
facial expression.
Patrick

On 11/19/11, Ashley Bramlett <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:
Patrick,
Right.  Facial expressions are often natural.  They reflect our
mood.  No one
taught me to look sad, happy, worried, annoyed, etc, it just
happens if I
feel that way.  But some totally blind people seem so
expressionless, and I
don't understand why, because like you said, facial expressions
are
genetically encoded.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Molloy
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:59 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

Bridgit,
I liked what you said, but I think you should know that there
are some
facial expressions that blind people don't have to learn.  For
instance, a smile is genetically encoded in everybody.  We don't
need
sighted people to tell us how to do that.  I think it's best to
start
with what blind people already know, then find a trusted sighted
friend or family member and talk to them about nonverbal
communication.  As I say, we really don't have far to go,
because there
are genetic codes for a lot of these facial expressions.  It's
just a
matter of learning to use them and practicing them.
Patrick

On 11/19/11, Ashley Bramlett <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:
that type of attitude won't get you a job or friends.  Its not
about
fitting
into a box, its about learning appropriate communication
behaviors to get
along in the world.  If I decided to live in France and work
there, I'd
learn
French culture, ways of greeting one another, personal space,
and other
customs and would also learn what was deemed offensive there.
So in our
culture here, I'll want to learn the same things only
differently since
most
people learn by observation.
Ashley

-----Original Message-----
From: Carly Mihalakis
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:03 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list ;
National
Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions


Good afternoon, Ashley I think,

What's with trying to cram everyone into boxes
upon which are plastered identifiers like
"blindness" and "cognitive impairments?" People
ought to feel they can just do what feels right,
and comfortable and not be pressured to shead
some mannerisms, while retaining others.  Doncha
think? And, besides, there are folks starving, in
this here world so if kid needs to rock, and he
doesn't happen to have so-called cog native
impairment, let the kid rock around the whole,
clock!11/19/2011, Ashley Bramlett wrote:
Bridgit, Very well said! Sighted people in a culture learn body
language
and facial expressions from observing others; our culture
emphasises
personal space, shaking hands to greet, and eye contact just as
some
examples.  Blind and low vision people won?™t see it, but if
someone works
with us, its still a learned behavior; we just learn in a
different way.  I
think behaviors such as eye contact and shaking hands  are
natural since I
learned early on as did sighted peers.  Once practiced, it became
more
automatic.  I also like your comment that we should try to
extinguish
behaviors associated with mental and cognitive behaviors.
Rocking is one
of

them.  Yet, I think it would be unnatural to learn something now;
I could
do

it, but it would probably be stiffer and not as natural like if I
learned
gestures.  What I do though in a presentation is look around the
room from
left to right; speakers to do this to get attention and establish
themselves before talking to a group; I do it even though I
cannot see a
lot, especially toward the back of the room.  I can also say yes
or no with
my head because I was taught early on.  But other nonverbals such
as
winking, shrugging shoulders, and becconing with the hand were
not taught
and I think I'd be a little stiffer and unnatural doing them.
Still it
would be good to try and learn.  Ashley -----Original
Message----- From:
Bridgit Pollpeter Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 2:30 PM To:
nabs-l at nfbnet.org Subject: [nabs-l] Body language and facial
expressions
This is such a dodgy issue.  It is a fine balance, and while I
understand
we

shouldn't use and act in ways completely unnatural to us, we also
should
try to follow behavior that's not indicative of other
disabilities
associated with mental and cognitive issues.  Most body language
and facial
expressions are learned behavior.  Since most of the population
is sighted,
we learn facial expressions and body language from observing
others.
Babies

and little children often mimic what they see others doing.  As
we grow
older, we tend to adopt body and facial expressions natural to us
as
individuals, but often associated, whether conscious or
unconscious,
through learned behavior.  It stands to reason that if a person
is trying
to

adopt behavior nonvisually, one would work with another person to
adopt,
and understand, certain facial and body expressions.  Just
because we learn
the behavior, A.  K.  A.  facial expressions and body language,
through a
nonvisual medium, does not necessarily imply that the facial and
body
expressions a blind person replaces with either more stoic and
rigid
expressions or movement, or rocking or inappropriate movements,
is
inorganic, or unnatural, to that individual.  If you learn,
though
nonvisually, a different way to move and express yourself, why
does it
have

to be unnatural and arbitrary? Like sighted people, we're
adopting
behavior, just in a different way; it's learned behavior though
learned in
a nonvisual manner.  And as I've stated earlier, I believe asking
u to
cover, hide, something like our eyes is equal to bleaching skin
or
straightening hair or covering accents/dialects; I don't,
however, think
that changing certain behaviors, such as rocking, can be equated
to this.
First, all people have physical movements often unique to them as
an
individual whether noticeable or not.  It's often instinctive and
unconscious.  However, some movements are associated with mental,
cognitive
or psychological disabilities/concerns.  In particular, rocking
is often
associated with developmental disabilities or abuse victims.
Certain
facial

expressions are also associated with developmental disabilities
and other
psychological issues.  Obviously people who are blind, while many
do have
multiple disabilities, don't have developmental disabilities, but
because
some of the "blindisms" are also linked to such disabilities, I
don't
think

it's a problem to expect people who are blind to correct such
behavior.  I
don't see this similar to changing, or concealing, body parts or
internal
attributes associated with race or ethnicity, or in the case of
disabilities that can't be controlled such as the functioning of
eyes or
missing limbs.  In a nutshell, which I have problems fitting
things into,
smile, my point is that body language and many facial expressions
are
picked up through learned behavior.  Whether we learn this
behavior
visually

or nonvisually, it doesn't mean we're just going through the
motions-
acting as it were.  It's the same process just done nonvisually.
Just as we
learn to read and write Braille or use adaptive technology with
computers.
We're doing the same things, just in a different way.  I also
don't think
we

can compare certain changes nade , physically or internally,
indicative of
race or ethnicity, to correcting social behavior such as body
language or
facial expressions either linked to other disabilities or
inappropriate to
a given situation.  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: 7 Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 13:26:31 -0700 From:
Marc
Workman

<mworkman.lists at gmail.com> To: National Association of Blind
Students
mailing list <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blindness
versus
other minority groups Message-ID:
<039F2609-C62A-4985-83E1-FBC50C239F70 at gmail.com> Content-Type:
text/plain;
charset=us-ascii Carly wrote, How can facial expressions and
other body
language convey meaning if they are not naturally, ocuring? For
this
reason

I don't see a reason to sort of put on nonverbal, expression if,
behind it
there is little, meaning? I want to take Carly's point further
and suggest
that pressuring blind people to look and act like others is in
itself
wrong.  I'm not suggesting there is no value to it, nor am I
saying it
should never be done, but it makes me uncomfortable.  The subject
of this
thread is comparing blindness to other minorities.  I think
there's a
parallel between pressuring blind people to look and act like
everyone
else

and things that some minorities used to do and still do for
similar
reasons.  In the past, among African Americans, there existed the
practice
of skin bleaching and hair straightening for the purpose of
appearing less
black and/or more white.  I can't give evidence to show how
common this
was, but Malcolm X talked about trying to remove the kink from
his hair
himself and finding it a physically and emotionally painful
process.
There

are also surgeries performed to give people of East Asian descent
more
"white looking" eyes and Jews more "white looking" noses.  These
are just
a

couple of examples.  Pressuring minorities to adopt the dominant
group's
style of dress, gate, diction, body language, etc also often
happens.  I
hope we can agree that this is at the very least unfortunate.
There may
be

psychological and other explanations for why this occurs, but
feeling
pressured to get a nose job or to bleach your skin so that you
look more
like one particular group in society is problematic to say the
least.  So
what's the difference between these cases and pressuring a blind
person to
adopt the behavioural habits, facial expressions, body language
etc of
some

sighted people? You might say that we live in a sighted world and
so we
have to adapt.  There is something to this, but I wonder if it
would be
equally acceptable to say we live in a white-dominated world so
non-whites
have to adapt.  It may be the case that blind people who don't
"look
blind"

are more successful and integrate better, and it also may be that
non-whites who look and act white are more successful and
integrate
better,

but in neither case is it just that the minorities need to assume
the
dominant groups characteristics in order to be successful.  What
ultimately
needs to happen is not that blind people begin to look and act
like
sighted

people, but that we all become more accepting of differences that
are
arbitrary and irrelevant.  Most, if not all, so called blindisms
are
irrelevant, and I see no more reason to stamp them out than I do
for
trying

to eliminate various differences in behaviour and appearance
possessed by
other minority groups.  Cheers,
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