[nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

Ashley Bramlett bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 26 04:35:55 UTC 2011

I agree Carley. I don't like all this politically correct language. Since 
retard means slower, its really not a bad word; IMO not any worse than 
saying blind.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Carly
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2011 9:54 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Body language and facial expressions

Hi, Marc, and Bridgit,

         If you notice, the word "retarded"
simply describes someone who is slower to
complete brain function.Furthermore, It doesn't
seem right by anyone's calculations  to,
effectively and literally as Brigit suggests
avoid that particular  word altogether, Wouldn't
Doing so be in some way singling those folks who
happened to process slower than is the norm, out?
If one is to get past the idea that, actual
intent in which something is termed, carries more
meaning than does  meaningless, verbeage which,
itself doesn't really communicate anything baring
substance?I am brain damaged, so my processing
functions seem  a little bit retarded sometimes
yet, I most certainly do not appreciate the
politically, correct construct they came up with,
that by effectively erasing the concept, of being
retarded, from the vernacular, so too will those
unsightlies, be effectively, erased?
in retardation,

>First, touché! I concede you have a point in your salutation, smile!
>However, personally, I don't use the word retarded especially with
>negative connotations. And my point was not to say that one disability
>is worse, but each disability presents its own barriers. Developmental
>disabilities can offer obstacles making it difficult to maneuver through
>life without cognitive barriers. Again, I have quite a few family
>members with varying degrees of developmental disabilities so I know a
>little about it.
>Disabled or not, we all have our limitations, whether they be mental or
>physical. Where some struggle, others succeed. A developmental
>disability, however, adds another layer making ones comprehension level
>more difficult to navigate through situations.
>I've witnessed these family members of mine struggle to understand basic
>information that the average person with no cognitive problem understand
>with no effort. When we have physical and sensory disabilities only, we
>don't require most information, basic information, to be broken down and
>simplified. We're not talking about Steve Jobs or Stephen Hawkings
>intellect here, but the average intellectual capacity most of us have.
>While at a recent doctor visit, the nurse, who was suppose to explain a
>test procedure, asked if I wanted my companion to come in so I could
>understand what she was saying. I told her that I not only was there on
>my own, but that I would understand her explanation just fine, and she
>was so worried about this until I finally put my foot down and made a
>few things clear. I had no intellectual barrier keeping me from
>understanding the information provided to any patient. I later asked the
>doctor if that was a standard procedure and they told me no. This woman
>assumed without ever asking a question, that I couldn't comprehend
>information stated to all patients just because I was blind. Regardless
>of a developmental disability or lower comprehension level, disabled or
>not, I don't like when my mental capacity is questioned being a
>30-year-old college-educated woman with a family. If some people all
>ready think this, why give them more fuel to feed their grossly
>misinformed notions?
>Trust me, it's very frustrating to have people assume you can't
>intellectually understand something. We shouldn't automatically assume
>either that people with developmental disabilities  can't comprehend
>something either; they certainly deserve the same respect we demand as
>blind people, but why be considered to have a developmental issue if you
>don't have one at all? This doesn't mean one disability is necessarily
>"worse" than another, but it does mean one disability can present unique
>barriers that are difficult to hurdle.
>Let's say you work to become a doctor or teacher or lawyer or even a
>parent but are blind, you don't want future employers or, people in
>general, to assume you have a developmental disability because yes, even
>with a mild developmental disability, you won't be a doctor or lawyer,
>and because of cognitive barriers, certain things just can't be done. It
>does depend of the severity of developmental problem, but even higher
>functioning developmentally disabled people won't have the intellectual
>capacity to do these things. . This is just a fact. Blindness, however,
>isn't necessarily holding us back in an intellectual way. Individual
>people may question our ability, but we have the capacity in which to
>prove how capable we are. Many blind people face discrimination because
>of their blindness. In my experience though, if you present yourself
>with confidence, look and act polished, people are more likely to give
>you an opportunity. If you don't appear put-together, exhibit mannerisms
>even considered inappropriate for sighted people and don't carry
>yourself with confidence and/or intelligence, it doesn't matter what
>your resume says, what recommendations refer you to the job/ situation,
>people will be more wary and unsure as to if you can do much. It's
>reality, dude.
>A cousin of mine with a developmental disability became pregnant in her
>early 20's. It was determined she shouldn't have custody of the child
>since she was unable to demonstrate her ability to care for herself. My
>aunt stepped in to help raise the baby, and it was decided to finally
>award joint custody between my cousin and her mom. I know we're all
>thinking about I am Sam, but I know my cousin, she really wasn't able to
>care for a child on her own. Marc, do you care to equate this to a mere
>sensory disability like blindness? The differences are clear, at least
>to those of us who are blind, and it's comparing apples to oranges.
>And trying to compare abusive attitudes once deemed legal, and sadly
>behavior still in abundance even though, at least in this country, is
>now illegal,  is a bit of an apple and oranges issue too. Correcting
>unusual body movements that can be changed, is nothing similar to
>attitudes, and physical violence, that hurts, demeans and demoralizes.
>Trust me, you won't win this argument with me; that's all I will say on
>this issue.
>If a person truly is in danger of harming themselves, or others, it
>makes sense that someone should help or assist. Blindness, itself, is
>not, or should not, be a factor causing people to automatically assume
>we are a danger to ourselves and others. Across the board, people with
>only blindness should not be penalized at all. With developmental
>disabilities, it depends on the level and type of cognitive problem. You
>can't equate the two here because the barriers aren't the same.
>You can equate them when we discuss respect. Everyone should be treated
>with dignity and respect. This thread has nothing to do with respect,
>but how one handles the barriers of a disability.
>And I've yet to hear an answer from those arguing we should be accepted
>even when exhibiting behavior like rocking or eye poking, in response to
>my question,  how can you keep saying this when it's behavior also
>demonstrated by sighted people as well, and it's corrected in them? Stop
>making it a blind vs. sight issue when it doesn't have to be. As a
>former sighted person, I get sick of hearing how it's us against those
>with sight. That all sighted people are horrible and out to get us. I
>had disabled friends when I was sighted, and I didn't make assumptions;
>I treated them the same as our non-disabled friends. If I found
>something they did odd or weird, I didn't assume it was because of their
>disability. If I was like this, I'm sure others are too. In fact, I know
>some sighted people who have a similar attitude.
>And you argue the world should change how they view blind people who
>engage in such behavior instead of the other way around, but why not
>correct and  change behavior that isn't unusual, and work towards
>changing minds about our actual abilities.
>Not all (please keep the "Not all" in mind before jumping on my back) ,
>but many blind people I know who exhibit some of these extreme behaviors
>are the ones who aren't independent and don't believe they are capable
>of  much. Maybe we need to work on convincing the world, ourselves
>included, that we don't have limitations, which is the real problem,
>instead of concentrating  efforts to accept physical movements not
>socially acceptable.
>You keep going on and on about how we shouldn't be shaped into what the
>sighted world wants to be or how sighted people need to accept us quirks
>and all, but does not language like this develop into a form of reverse
>prejudice? If we're simply people who, as it happens, can't see, why,
>once again I ask, do we keep playing the blind vs. sight card? I don't
>consider myself different from anyone else I know other than I can't use
>my eyes. This doesn't mean I don't work to end stereotypes and change
>negative attitudes, but I don't place distinctions that, though reverse,
>perpetuate the idea that we're different.
>The reality is that the world is a bitch. Disabled or not, humans
>established certain ideas from the beginning of time. Whether disabled
>or not, male or female, blonde or brunette, people judge, people assume,
>people have stupid ideas about life. Experience of the world will show
>you how complex this is.
>On that note, Thanksgiving was great, and speaking for Americans, we're
>always right, giggle!
>Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter
>Read my blog at:
>"History is not what happened; history is what was written down."
>The Expected One- Kathleen McGowan
>, Message: 6
>Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 12:15:16 -0800
>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] Body language and facial expressions
>Message-ID: <CD9FBD09-7AF9-40AE-996B-31776B1974B6 at gmail.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>Bridgit wrote,
>why be assumed to have an intellectual barrier if you don't have one?
>Most people will already make assumptions about us as blind people; why
>give them more reasons to make snap assumptions? The fact is blind
>people, who are just blind, have no barriers other than the ones
>society, and themselves, put in our path. People with developmental
>disabilities have an actual intellectual barrier.
>Now let's rewrite this from the perspective of an intellectually
>disabled person who is trying to convince other intellectually disabled
>people not to look blind.
>why be assumed to have a sight limitation if you don't have one? Most
>people will already make assumptions about us as intellectually disabled
>people; why give them more reasons to make snap assumptions? The fact is
>intellectually disabled people, who are just intellectually disabled,
>have no barriers other than the ones society, and themselves, put in our
>path. People who are blind have an actual sight limitation.
>Ashley wrote,
>I was never told not to look blind. But I was told not to rock because
>it looks like something a cognitively delayed/retarded person would do.
>Why have people assume we have another disability when we don't? It
>makes us look worse.
>It makes us look worse only if you assume it's worse to be cognitively
>delayed/retarded.  Again, would it be okay to say, hey, stop that
>rocking, you look blind.  You're not blind; you're just cognitively
>disabled, and you don't want to look worse, so stop looking like a blind
>I think this whole line of argument that we don't want to look
>"retarded", and I use that word in quotes because it's a degrading word,
>is incredibly ironic considering that it expresses the same negative
>attitudes towards intellectual disability that we are all supposed to be
>fighting against with respect to blindness.
>Bridgit wrote,
>Blind, sighted, purple, blue, certain behaviors and mannerisms are not
>appropriate no matter the circumstance, and it should be corrected.
>What I'd like to know is: who exactly decides this and how is it
>decided? Does Bridgit get to say what is an isn't appropriate? Is it
>this thing called society that decides? Does not what is considered
>appropriate change over time? So how does it change? There was a time
>when it was considered inappropriate for women and African Americans to
>talk back to white men.  It seems obvious to me that what is considered
>to be appropriate changes over time and that this change occurs because
>people challenge attitudes.  Is it not at least possible that some of
>the behaviours that we've been discussing are like some of the attitudes
>about women and minorities that have been challenged and changed?
>Ashley wrote,
>Just goes to show that if you behave naturally, people may not think of
>your blindness or focus on it; they focus on you as a human.
>I don't know about you, Ashley, but my blindness and my humanity are not
>mutually exclusive.  It's not seeing me as a blind person that bothers
>me.  I am a blind person.  It's the negative attitudes about blindness
>that bother me.  Specifically, it's viewing blindness as bad, as ugly,
>as weird, as abnormal, as wrong that bothers me.  One way to deal with
>these attitudes is to train blind people to look and act like most
>people look and act.  A second way is to educate people, to teach them
>that blindness may lead to looking and acting differently, but that this
>is not bad, ugly, weird, abnormal or wrong.  The latter path is of
>course the harder one.  It's much easier to change the minority than the
>majority.  I believe, though, that the latter path leads to the world
>that is better for everyone.
>I know many of you are celebrating Thanks Giving.  We in Canada
>celebrated it at the appropriate time in October, but for all you
>Americans, I hope you're enjoying the holiday.
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