[nfb-talk] going back to John's original comments

David Evans drevans at bellsouth.net
Tue Dec 16 21:18:31 UTC 2008

Dear John,

Just so you know, Amos and Andy when on to TV from the Radio and only went 
off the air in the late 1950's even in re-runs.  Right around the time of 
the Civil Rights Movement' start.
It was apposed by many Black Americans and played deeply on negative stereo 
types of Black People.
Every one sends out messages, positive and negative.  It is these messages 
that others use to judge us. Many times one person of a group sends out a 
message the rest of the group either's gains from it or suffers because of 
You see a Black man catch a football and run it in for a touchdown and you 
think, "That's great, all of those Black football players a great.  Then you 
run into another Black man who is dirty, with a runny nose that needs 
wiping, and who can not figure out how to fill out a job application for 
McDonald's and you think , " Boy is that guy dumb.
People judge people by what they see or think they see and if it fits a 
stereo type they have been exposed to they often think no further.
That is Why we must oppose the negative stereo types that people buy into 
about the Blind.  It effects our employment, education, the way people treat 
us, think about us and good or bad judge us.
SNL was one of these negatives that we must oppose.
The very fact that someone thinks that this is typical blind behavior is 
enough reason to oppose it.  It paints us all with a very wide brush and the 
message it sends stinks.
The biggest barrier I, as a Blind man, have to over come is the negative 
images about me in other people's minds.
If there is a wall in my way I can climb over it, dig under it, go around 
it. or blast a hole in it.
Blasting a hole in it removes the barrier to my future travels whereas all 
of the other methods still leave the barrier there for me and all like me 
who follow me.
I would rather remove a barrier, for me and other, instead of spending my 
time and energy figuring ways around them.  It is just better for everybody 
that way.
Too do anything less means that I must accept second class citizenship and I 
will not do that.

I could go along with someone Blind doing funny things such as looking 
around to see if someone is watching and then lifting those stereo typical 
dark glasses and stealing a cookie off the table, , but not playing on 
common stereo types that hold us all back.

David Evans, NFBF
Nuclear/Aerospace Materials Engineer
Builder of the Lunar Rovers and the F-117 Stealth Fighter

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
To: <info at michaelhingson.com>; "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] going back to John's original comments

> Michael,
> I guess it depends on what you mean by rare. But I sure don't think it's 
> all
> that rare for blind people to do things like hold a chart up side down or
> miss when shaking hands. I'll bet everyone on this list has done that kind
> of thing. On the ACB list, one guy told a story about how he grabbed a
> woman's boob when reaching out to shake hands.  I've never done anything
> that embarrassing. But I did once bonk my head on a desk when I bent over 
> to
> pick up my notes while teaching a class.  I tried to soldier on but a
> student interrupted and told me I was bleeding. I had to get 8 stitches.
> Another problem I have with your comments is saying there's a reason Amos 
> &
> Andy are off the air as if protests by African Americans got that show
> cancelled. No, like hundreds of other radio programs, it no longer exists.
> But it ran for over 25 years.
> But I'll admit those are not key issues. More important would be 2 other
> points brought up by what you say... First, is the SNL skit the equivelant
> of an Amos and Andy show? If it is, does it do any good to protest? The
> answer to the second question depends entirely on the first. If it is not
> the equivalent, then protesting is counter-productive.
> My opinion is that we can't win if the question of whether the skit is
> offensive or not becomes the main issue.  We can't even agree on that on
> this list. But I think even making an issue of that is a loss for us.
> I like the idea of proposing to work with SNL to create a more accurate
> depiction of blind people. But I think that strengthens my point. The 
> first
> paragraph of the NFB press release talked about jobs. But the second 
> called
> the skit an attack on all blind people. Much more productive would have 
> been
> your idea of proposing a cooperative effort for a more accurate depiction.
> From: "Michael Hingson" <info at michaelhingson.com>
> To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 7:15 PM
> Subject: [nfb-talk] going back to John's original comments
>> John,
>> The fact is that any competent person working in a job which has them
>> conducting a conference or meeting it is rare that charts are held
>> upside-down.  It is pretty unusual that people shake hands and miss at
>> least
>> by much.  It is not common that well trained people miss the mark as to
>> what
>> they are suppose to do and as to how they should behave.
>> However, blind people are usually portrayed as incompetent within the
>> comedy
>> arena.  There are reasons Amis and Andy are not on the air today. 
>> African
>> Americans objected to the image projected by Gosdin and Corel.  The
>> educating comes when people realize they have something to learn and when
>> enough pressure is brought to bear to convince them they need to
>> reevaluate
>> their behavior.
>> I think there should be a follow up to the release calling on SNL to work
>> with the NFB to create a more humorous, but correct image of the blind
>> governor.  We all can bring pressure by contacting SNL and conveying our
>> displeasure.
>> No matter what, without strong action and sometimes even "huffy" 
>> behavior,
>> (your words), nothing gets done.
>>            Michael Hingson,
>> NSA
>> President,
>> The Michael Hingson Group
>> 84 Bahama Reef
>> Novato, CA 94949
>> Phone Direct number (415) 827-4084
>> Fax number (415) 883-6220
>> Mobile/Pager (888) 965-9191
>> Email info at michaelhingson.com <
>> mailto:info at michaelhingson.com>
>> For information on Michael's speaking topics, his availability, and his
>> consulting services on Diversity and Access Technology for blind persons
>> please visit <
>> http://www.michaelhingson.com>
>> For information on Guide Dogs for the Blind please visit <
>> http://www.guidedogs.com>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>> Behalf Of T. Joseph Carter
>> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 3:53 PM
>> To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments
>> onSaturday
>> Night Live Segment
>> Michael, I totally agree with you about this portrayal of blindness being
>> anything but funny.
>> A sighted person CAN poke fun at a blind person and have the result be
>> funny, but this was just mean-spirited and stupid.
>> For those on the list who refuse to grow up and still watch cartoons
>> (that'd be me), check out Avatar: The Last Airbender for a blind 
>> character
>> whose blindness is often the source of a joke, without being offensive.
>> It
>> has a lot to do with the fact that as a character, Toph is not defined or
>> limited by blindness--she just can't see.
>> And she's perhaps one of the best people in the world at what she does,
>> which involves magically hurling rocks at the bad guys and other fun 
>> stuff
>> using mystical martial arts.  (But then, that's not exactly uncommon on
>> this show, since just about everyone of interest on the show can do 
>> pretty
>> much the same kind of thing.  It IS a cartoon after all.)
>> Joseph
>> On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 05:22:38PM -0500, Michael Freholm wrote:
>>>The description of the skit leaves out quite a bit.  I don't know how to
>>>describe the actor's portrayal of the governor's expression.  It was 
>>>to say the least.  And he persisted with it throughout the skit.  And it
>> did
>>>not end with that portion of the segment.  Two or three times after his
>> part
>>>was over he came back out and blocked the camera with the "newscasters"
>>>calling out directions that were not followed.  His face, with that
>>>confused look on it blocked the shot nearly completely as everyone 
>>>at the blind guy who couldn't figure out where to go.
>>>My girlfriend says I shouldn't get offended.  She doesn't understand. 
>>>not taking this personally.  I'm angry for the blind kids who are being
>>>raised in a world that has pitifully low expectations for them.  I'm 
>>>for blind people who can't get jobs they are more than qualified for
>> because
>>>society believes us to be incompetent.  I'm angry for the blind woman who
>>>can't get services from a fertility clinic because they say a blind 
>>>can't be a good parent.  Blindness is not a tragedy but these situations
>> are
>>>indeed tragic.  When a show as popular as SNL so cruelly and heartlessly
>>>makes fun of us, the world is watching and laughing and the lies are
>>>perpetuated.  We deserve better.
>>>Michael K. Freholm
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>>Behalf Of John G. Heim
>>>Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 4:07 PM
>>>To: NFB Talk Mailing List
>>>Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments
>> onSaturday
>>>Night Live Segment
>>>My opinion ion this is about the same as my opinion about the reaction to
>>>the movie "Blindness". I think it's counter-productive to get huffy.
>> Instead
>>>of criticizing SNL, the NFB should have seen it as an opportunity to
>> educate
>>>the public.  Calling the skit an "attack" is not going to do any good.
>>>Can you ever make fun of blindness?  Is that ever funny? Here's a link to
>>>description of the skit:
>>>It says the skit started with the actor portraying Gov. Paterson rolling
>>>around the set in a chair. It says he attempted to shake ands and missed.
>> It
>>>says he was holding a chart up side down. It says he blocked the camera
>>>shot. I have to say, I've done the equivalent of all those things. I kind
>> of
>>>think that is funny.
>>>On the other hand, you shouldn't make fun of people for something they
>> can't
>>>control. It's embarrassing to find out you're blocking the shot when
>>>somebody is trying to take a picture. When you make fun of that, you have
>> to
>>>do it in a way that shows that you get that. If not, it's not funny, it's
>>>just cruel.
>>>It would have been way funnier if Governor Paterson had been depicted as
>>>competent  in spite of his disability. Well, better than the guy from
>>>Illinois anyway. Paterson might not be able to tell which side of a chart
>> is
>>>up but he's not so stupid as to try to sell a Senate seat when he knows
>> he's
>>>already being investigated.
>>>----- Original Message ----- 
>>>From: "Freeh,Jessica (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)"
>>><JFreeh at nfb.org>
>>>To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
>>>Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 12:45 PM
>>>Subject: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments on Saturday
>>>Night Live Segment
>>>Chris Danielsen
>>>Public Relations Specialist
>>>National Federation of the Blind
>>>(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
>>>(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
>>><mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
>>>National Federation of the Blind
>>>Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment
>>>Largest Organization of the Blind Criticizes Attack on Blind Americans
>>>Baltimore, Maryland (December 15, 2008): Chris
>>>Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation
>>>of the Blind, said: "The biggest problem faced by
>>>blind people is not blindness itself, but the
>>>stereotypes held by the general public about
>>>blindness and blind people.  The idea that blind
>>>people are incapable of the simplest tasks and
>>>are perpetually disoriented and befuddled is
>>>absolutely wrong.  This misconception contributes
>>>to an unemployment rate among blind people that
>>>stubbornly remains at 70 percent.  That is why
>>>the National Federation of the Blind is
>>>disappointed that Saturday Night Live chose to
>>>portray Governor Paterson in a comedy routine
>>>that focused almost exclusively on his
>>>blindness.  Attacking the Governor because he is
>>>blind is an attack on all blind Americans-blind
>>>children, blind adults, blind seniors, and newly
>>>blinded veterans returning from Iraq and
>>>Afghanistan.  The National Federation of the
>>>Blind urges the producers of Saturday Night Live
>>>to consider the serious negative impact that
>>>misinformation and stereotypes have on blind
>>>people before continuing in this unfortunate vein of humor."
>>>nfb-talk mailing list
>>>nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
>>>nfb-talk mailing list
>>>nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
>>>nfb-talk mailing list
>>>nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
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