[nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments onSaturday Night Live Segment

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Tue Dec 16 15:27:29 UTC 2008

Well, that's exactly my point. The NFB comment isn't going to teach anybody 
anything. The debate is going to be over whether blind people are a bunch of 
wussies for geting huffy about that skit.

Governor Paterson's comments were much better. Stupid New York Times... You 
have to register to view the archives so while the link I provided yesterday 
still works, you won't see anything if you follow it. Too bad because I can 
only paraphrase Gov. Paterson's comments. But his comments were something 
very close to this:

I can take a joke. But the unemployment rate among blind people is six times 
the national average and this kind of third grade humor doesn't help.

Was the skit offensive? Sure. Who cares? The real issue is unemployment. 
Governor Paterson turned it into an opportunity to talk about the real 
issues confronting blind people. That was brilliant.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Marks" <blind.grizzly at gmail.com>
To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 6:27 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments onSaturday 
Night Live Segment

> The NFB has a duty to re-frame blindness in positive ways.  Confronting
> negative messages gives us a powerful forum to challenge stereotypes and 
> to
> build new understandings about blindness.  It's not so much a matter of
> getting huffy or being offended.  Rather, it's a teachable moment we 
> cannot
> afford to squander.  We cannot let media messages like those from the SNL
> skit or the movie, "Blindness," define what it means to be blind for us. 
> No
> response or a week response to low expectations, especially low 
> expectations
> couched in such high-profile media, impairs our efforts to change what it
> means to be blind.  It's essentially up to blind individuals and the NFB 
> to
> choose our own identities.  In other words, we didn't create this fight, 
> but
> we sure are going to do our best to promote positive attitudes.  With any
> luck, the next media guy might think twice before spinning low 
> expectations
> as humor or a metaphor.
> -------
> Jim Marks
> blind.grizzly at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
> nfb-talk mailing list
> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-talk_nfbnet.org

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