[nfbmi-talk] New York Gov. Patterson Understands Why Blind People Need College

Fred Wurtzel f.wurtzel at comcast.net
Mon Oct 26 16:53:53 CDT 2009


Below is an article about Gov. Patterson's speech at our NFBNY State
Convention.  What he describes is why we need an inclusive, not exclusive
college policy and an agency philosophy that believes it is necessary to do
everything possible to get blind people training, education and employment
here in Michigan.


When Michigan Commission employees compare their children's college
education to those of blind clients, that blatant hostility the Governor
refers to is clear, right within the agency designed to combat such
hostility.  Furthermore, the Director participated in a meeting where such
comments were made and made no effort to correct the raw hostility toward
blind people..




Gov Paterson blindsides critics with wrath: Claims 'blatant hostility' stems
from his disability 


ALBANY - Two months after playing the race card, Gov. Paterson said on
Saturday he has been subjected to "degrading" attacks because he is blind. 

Paterson complained about several editorials and columns that he said
negatively referenced his disability as well his buffoonish portrayal on
"Saturday Night Live" in which he is "bumping into walls." 

"Anything I did got associated with the fact that I do have visual
impairment," he said during a speech before the state chapter of the
National Federation of the Blind. "That's an insult." 

Perhaps still stinging from the furor he created this summer when he claimed
to be the victim of a racist media trying to keep him from running next
year, Paterson said he does not believe the criticisms of his performance as
governor is because he's blind. 

"It's not the reason that my decisions are questioned. That would happen to
any governor," he said. 

But he said his disability is "the reason that you hear these hostile, nasty

He said one editorial proclaimed after a top aide left that he has no one
left to read to him. He said another piece said someone should take him to
"touch" the buildings at Ground Zero to prove the rebuilding had begun. 

"Where is that anger coming from?" Paterson asked. "Where is that blatant
hostility coming from? And I'm not blaming the media here because the media
often just reflects the attitude of society." 

The pieces were not exactly as he portrayed. Paterson said he can take the
shots, noting that unlike 70% of blind people nationally, "I have a job and
I will be keeping my job for four more years." 

But the attacks on him could influence how others, particularly potential
employers, view everyday blind people. 

"The society where that attitude, where that anger, where that vitriolic
conduct is excusable when it's raised on a governor, think of what happens
to an individual that just got out of college and doesn't have an
opportunity and is now sitting home when they should be working." 

As for "Saturday Night Live" and their portrayal of him "bumping into
things," Paterson warned, "I'm going to bump into 'Saturday Night Live' one
day and they're going to get what's coming to them." 


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