[nabs-l] First Class Citizenship

Carly Mihalakis carlymih at comcast.net
Wed Apr 13 06:38:10 UTC 2016

Good morning, Darian,

That is how first class citizenship looks to me. 
I know what I'm about, the people who know me 
know what I'm about. I just take it one day at a 
time, not letting other voices move me too much. That's all ya gotta do.

2016, Darian Smith via nabs-l wrote:
>I would suggest that first class citizenship is 
>more elusive   than we give it credit. if one 
>might define first class citizenship as being 
>treated like everyone else all of the time in 
>all situations than I think we might all agree 
>that hardly anyone is treated as such. If 
>someone was to treat me not as a blind person 
>but as a African American male, then maybe I 
>might not face discrimination and prejudice 
>based upon blindness but I might  face it based 
>upon my  ethnicity. I may never be treated as a 
>person who’s blindness nor heritage are truly 
>considered as pieces of the entirety of me, but 
>what then? I wonder if then there is truly such 
>a thing as first class  citizenship? Then again, 
>is it a matter of carving out our  own place in 
>society by simply  living our lives  and  doing 
>what we can do to succeed?  Even then will we be 
>recognized as  beautifully complicated and 
>fallible people? Or will we    always be 
>considered the  “blind” person?  , the 
>people who’s humanity is far too often 
>obscured by the odd technology we use, and 
>the  cane or dog we travel with?? how many of 
>our friends or family would  introduce or 
>describe us  and without thinking elect  to use 
>the word”blind as  a part of that 
>sentence?  "      ? Julie  brought an element of 
>philosophy into  this discussion, and I think it 
>important to bring a little  more in. I think 
>that it is clear we all face the limiting 
>attitudes and low expectations that are a part 
>of being blind and working/living with people 
>who aren’t blind.   If there is a such  thing 
>as first class citizenship and we as blind 
>people are going to realize it, I think that 
>it’s on all of us to take an active role in 
>some form or fashion in  moving us 
>collectively  towards this place which we feel 
>we have the right to occupy.  For me,  I believe 
>that the National fEderation of the Blind 
>is  that  vehicle that gets us there and we as 
>the blind people who everyday see what  we see 
>and know what we know have the power  to fuel 
>that     vehicle.   Many people might find 
>reason to stop us from  achieving the goals we 
>have for ourselves, both individually and 
>collectively., These same people will 
>ultimately  in some way, shape or form try 
>to  place their fears and ignorance on us. The 
>fact is that their success in doing so depends 
>on how much we will allow their beliefs to get 
>in the way of the bright future we say we want. 
>If we are willing to turn  barriers that keep us 
>out into door that we confidently walk through, 
>then we will see more and more of  those who 
>doubted us come to understand what we have known 
>all along of the truth about blindness. If we 
>take the time out of our busy schedules to 
>educate, encourage and care for each other as 
>we  explore what blindness and living the life 
>we want means to each of us individually, then 
>we help the whole of our blind population move 
>forward.  After all, it is not enough that just 
>some of us or even a great many of us  gain a 
>truly positive philosophy of blindness and 
>foundation  of blindness skills.  We all need to 
>have an access to a knowledge  and understanding 
>of these things.  Then maybe we then can 
>possess  the   full rights and full 
>responsibilities that come with the   first 
>class    citizenship status we 
>want.                            > On Apr 12, 
>2016, at 1:47 PM, Julie McGinnity via nabs-l 
><nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote: > > Hi all, > > 
>According to Jernigan, we would only find that 
>we are first class > citizens when we are 
>anonymous in society.  I can look up the 
>speech > if any of you are interested. > > I am 
>prepared to tell you that we are not anonymous 
>as blind people, > but I am not yet able to say 
>that society is against us and leave it > at 
>that.  A lack of > education leads the public to 
>treat us less than respectfully upon > 
>occasion.  But let's take a moment to consider 
>how those > attitudes arose.  Misunderstanding, 
>lack of education certainly, but I > believe 
>they also come from a fear of the unknown.  And 
>don't we share > that very fear when we 
>encounter someone who is different from > 
>ourselves? > > After all, we're not the only 
>ones who are not anonymous in society. > 
>Jernigan's definition may not even be accurate 
>in explaining why blind > people could be 
>considered second class citizens.  I believe 
>that > unfortunately for Mr. Jernigan, blind 
>people will never be anonymous. > My dog and I 
>will always receive open stares from the public, 
>whether > or not I see them.  You and I will 
>stil be second guessed upon > occasion about 
>taking on some risk or challenge because we are 
>blind, > and you know, it could be harder for 
>us. > > We can't blend into a crowd or disappear 
>at a big university. But > maybe we can show our 
>sighted peers the normalcy of blindness.  Part > 
>of my job is performing technology 
>demonstrations.  When I present on > Jaws, I 
>focus in on my everyday use of a screen 
>reader.  To the > sighted observer, the screen 
>reader is an alien voice that reads > impossibly 
>fast and never speaks the part of the screen 
>where the > mouse is pointing; however, to us 
>the screen reader equals how we use > the 
>computer.  By the end of my presentations, they 
>usually > understand.  It's a beautiful 
>process. > > One more thing...  Last week at my 
>university there was an > accessibility fair.  A 
>chapter member and I sat outside and Brailled > 
>names.  I had my Braille Note and iPhone at the 
>ready to show people > how I could use the 
>Bluetooth to read and write texts.  One of my > 
>colleagues came up to get her name Brailled, but 
>we spent most of the > time chatting because she 
>had already seen Braille and my chatty tech. > 
>This stuff was familiar to her. > > So...  For 
>what it's worth, I don't believe that we are 
>always second > class citizens.  We cannot 
>expect to be treated as though we are, and > 
>that is part of our trap.  Enough people jump at 
>us before thinking > and allow their 
>miseducation to guide them when interacting with 
>us, > and we react to that by expecting these 
>attitudes.  Do we sometimes > feel like second 
>class citizens?  Yes, undoubtedly we all have 
>felt > that way.  But does that mean we should 
>accept that status? No, not > for a second.  We 
>may not be anonymous, but we are most 
>certainly > human beings, messy and complicated 
>like everyone else.  And our goal > shouldn't be 
>to disappear but to carve out our place as a 
>unique, yet > normal, demographic of 
>society. > > Just some thoughts...  :) > > > On 
>4/12/16, Munawar Bijani via nabs-l 
><nabs-l at nfbnet.org <mailto:nabs-l at nfbnet.org>> 
>wrote: >> This Email is very well written; you 
>articulated an important point >> eloquently. We 
>cannot expect change if we refuse to change 
>ourselves. >> Many of us tend to find excuses or 
>start blaming the system for what is >> wrong 
>with our respective situations, when in reality 
>the problem could >> be ourselves for not trying 
>hard enough or whining about how unfair the >> 
>world is. >> >> We have to jump through hoops 
>because society's expectations of us is >> very 
>low. There is no changing this fact. As blind 
>people we have to be >> ready to jump through 
>whatever hoops we need to so that we may prove 
>a >> point. If we sit back and whine about how 
>things ought to be, we will >> never get 
>anywhere. Just because we have to work a little 
>harder than >> our sighted counterparts does not 
>mean we are second-class citizens; it >> only 
>means we have an avenue for achieving equality 
>by working harder, >> so we must take it. >> >> 
>On 4/12/2016 12:00 PM, Christina Moore via 
>nabs-l wrote: >>> No group in society has every 
>achieved the equality they have without >>> 
>putting in a lot of effort themselves. >>> As a 
>population we need to show the world that we can 
>be successful. >>> The more of us that go 
>against perceptions of our abilities the 
>closer >>> we get to this status. >>> 
>Personally, I believe we do have equal access as 
>others in this >>> country.  Yes, we have 
>barriers but we can choose to face them or 
>let >>> them define us. >>> We have to meet each 
>other halfway.  We cannot expect the rest of >>> 
>society to do all of the work.  At first we may 
>have to do more than >>> them but this has been 
>the case throughout history. >>> God Bless, >>> 
>Christina >>> >>> ----- Original Message 
>----- >>> From: Darian Smith via nabs-l 
><nabs-l at nfbnet.org >>> To: National Association 
>of Blind Students mailing list >>> 
><nabs-l at nfbnet.org >>> Date sent: Tue, 12 Apr 
>2016 08:51:46 -0700 >>> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] 
>First Class Citizenship >>> >>> How do we secure 
>this  level of citizenship for ourselves? >>> On 
>Apr 12, 2016, at 5:37 AM, justin williams via 
>nabs-l >>> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote: >>> >>> 
>The same as our counterparts who are 
>nondisabled.  I shouldn't half to >>> jump >>> 
>through more hoops to prove anything. >>> 
>Justin >>> >>> -----Original Message----- >>> 
>From: nabs-l [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] 
>On Behalf Of Darian Smith >>> via nabs-l >>> 
>Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 6:21 PM >>> To: 
>National Association of Blind Students mailing 
>list >>> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org >>> Cc: Darian Smith 
><dsmithnfb at gmail.com >>> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] 
>First Class Citizenship >>> >>> Do you 
>believe  that there is more then a right that we 
>should demand? Do >>> you think there is a 
>responsibility we have as well? >>> 
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> >> > > > -- > Julie A. McGinnity > President, 
>National Federation of the Blind Performing Arts 
>Division, > Second Vice President, National 
>Federation of the Blind of Missouri > "For we 
>walk by faith, not by sight" > 2 Cor. 7 > > 
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