[nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups

Ashley Bramlett bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 20 20:21:38 UTC 2011


Actually, Chris, if you are observant and listen, you can pick up on some 
body language. Not in a crowd, but if its one to one or a small group in a 
quiet room, you will hear things. Some examples. You can hear hand gestures 
because it sounds different when people talk, you'll just sense their 
movement. You can hear expressions as well, and if you hear them in a voice, 
likely they are facial visual expressions too. You can hear a smile. Also a 
high pitched, fast voice means happiness or surprise. I wish I could act it 
to show you! But that is how I can describe it. Someone might say "Hi 
Ashley, its great to see you again!" and I know they are cheerful, I don't 
need to see it to know, but usually can see a smile.
You can also hear sounds of shoes on a tile or wooden floor. High heels make 
a certain noise; men's dockers sound kind of like a clop clop sound. You can 
also hear bracelets rattling against each other. You can definitely pick up 
on some nonverbal expressions by listening to how people act. True not as 
much, but you can do some.

Ashley

-----Original Message----- 
From: Chris Nusbaum
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 10:20 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups

Hi Tara,

That's a good point.  However, I'm not sure if the class is
needed.  I say this because, especially in the case of those of
us (like myself) who are totally blind or only have light
perception, we would only get one side of the body language; that
is, the body language that we display to sighted people.  While
this is important, especially in how we present ourselves for
things like job interviews and such, we'll have no way of knowing
what body language sighted people are conveying to us, no matter
what classes on the subject we take.  This is because, simply, we
can't see the body language! So, in short, by taking the
suggested body language course, we'd only get to use half of the
information taught, because we can't discern what sighted people
are conveying to us via body language, and therefore can't react
to it.

Chris

"The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight.  The
real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of education that
exists.  If a blind person has the proper training and
opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a mere physical
nuisance."
-- Kenneth Jernigan (President, National Federation of the Blind,
1968-1986

P.S.  The I C.A.N.  Foundation helps blind and visually impaired
youth in Maryland say "I can," by empowering them through
providing assistive technology and scholarships to camps and
conventions which help them be equal with their sighted peers.
For more information about the Foundation and to support our
work, visit us online at www.icanfoundation.info!

Sent from my BrailleNote Apex

----- Original Message -----
From: Tara Annis <TAnnis at afb.net
To: "nabs-l at nfbnet.org" <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:20:31 -0500
Subject: [nabs-l] Blindness versus other minority groups

I think the first step in helping blind people to get their
feelings across to the sighted is  to understand what is
considered ignorance and what is considered outright teasing and
cruelty in public.  Many of the meanest things are just said with
one word    and a lot of body language.  Many people who hate
blind people speak in a nice manner, but  exhibit cruelty in
their body language.  I do think a lot of blind people, not all,
but some, do lack discernment in this area, especially if they
are blind from birth and a sighted person  does not take the time
to explain nonverbal communication.  I think the first step would
be for an honest sighted person to follow a blind person around
and interpret the visual elements to the blind person, so that
the entire picture can be analyzed for both parties.  I think one
of the best ways to respond to those who are ignorant, who are
not attempting to be mean, but make offensive remarks is through
body language, like rolling one's eyes.  Most sighted people use
nonverbal communication to show  when they are irritated by
another person.  If the person continues to  be annoying, the
person will then use verbal communication.  That is why sighted
people think blind are mean for actually verbally stating their
anger, instead of visually displaying it.  I would like to see a
class where advanced nonverbal communication is explained, since
currently it seems there are just the basics  taught, like
facing the person you are talking to and shaking hands.  There is
not a class in how to display   the various  ways of shooing
levels of discomfort, from   annoyed, slightly irritated,
somewhat irritated, to angry.  Blind people need to know that
sometimes it is necessary to actively create facial expressions
and body movements, as opposed to letting one's body language
depict their true feelings.  Personally, I was surprised at the
amount of communication that is displayed nonverbally, that
sighted people watch me from across a large college campus, or
from way down the street, and are making judgments about me from
my appearance.  Once this was explained to me, I do feel that I
am more comfortable around sighted people, and am  in   control
of  getting my feelings across.  The great thing about learning
all this stuff is that I have seen the amount of ignorance I
faced by sighted people diminish significantly.  It is a 50/50
situation: blind people need to do their half of    helping get
rid of ignorance  and sighted people need to be willing to do
their half.
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