[NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question
steve.jacobson at outlook.com
Mon Jan 13 23:18:53 UTC 2020
Since you said you were willing to listen, I am taking you at your word. I would like to address the ADA issue from another direction since Jim has already mentioned one of the aspects I was going to mention. The NFB created a "model white cane law" in 1966 and pushed to have affiliates get the law adopted in each state. This law was called a "white cane" law because it included some definitions of the types of canes used by blind persons. However, that law had a component that basically guaranteed access to public accommodations by both cane users and dog users. By 1975 or so, there were such laws in forty-nine states, fifteen or twenty years ahead of the ADA.
I do recall we had some legitimate concerns about the ADA at the time that Jim described, but we were able to get resolved before it was passed and we supported it. I would be surprised if this was not documented in the Braille Monitor, but we had presidential releases by then and perhaps the discussion took place there. The "white cane" laws along with the inclusion in some human rights legislation meant that many blind people already had many of the ADA protections that other groups did not yet have, though. I know the Minnesota White Cane law that was passed in 1969 had specific protection for those using a guide dog, the same protection given to those carrying a cane. In addition to White Cane legislation, there were other activities that preceded the ADA such as getting disabled people included in Minnesota's Human Rights legislation in the mid-1970's and getting a law passed that prevents insurance companies from charging blind people more for insurance without actuarial evidence. We were able to get a large Minnesota state college to change its policy of a blanket prohibition of blind people seeking teaching certificates. Many of us therefore saw the ADA has putting into federal law what we mostly already had as blind people rather than marking the beginning of a new era as some have described it.
It isn't easy to know, historically, which specific things might have been different if one takes the NFB or any other organization out of the picture. I suspect, though, that the NFB is the major reason that blind people have a more liberal earnings limit than others when receiving Social Security Disability benefits. There is still too much of a work disincentive, but it is better than it could be. I'm not saying the ACB would have opposed such a thing, but I don't remember them being very active on that issue when it was a hot one. Getting a minimum sound standard on hybrid and electrical cars is something I thing is important for the future. That seems to have been successful even though we're still awaiting regulations. There were several major threats to end the ability of libraries to send braille books through the mail free of charge that would pretty much have killed the distribution of braille books. This was before BookShare and BARD, so it was more important than people might feel would be the case now. Some of these issues were also likely embraced by the ACB as well and I'm not trying to claim 100% credit for them, but there was no ACB affiliate in Minnesota at the time that we worked on the specific legislative issues here.
Probably the main point here is that there were protections for blind people including those using dogs before the ADA and the NFB was instrumental in getting some of those in place. With the added option to opt out of a reasonable accommodation, it is pretty clear that the ADA made some protections national instead of state by state, and certainly there were some larger benefits to other groups. Still, I don't think your description of the impact on the ADA and blind people is completely accurate. My goal here is not to debate the ADA but rather to present facts that may not have been known.
From: nFB-Talk <nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Jack Heim via nFB-Talk
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 12:28 PM
To: mike at michaelhingson.com; 'NFB Talk Mailing List' <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Jack Heim <john at johnheim.com>; 'Chris Westbrook' <westbchris at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question
Okay, I am willing to listen. What do we have today that we wouldn't
have if the NFB hadn't fought for it?
The reason those of us with guide dogs have access to public places has
nothing to do with the NFB. Guide dog schools pre-date the NFB and the
NFB was not supportive of the ADA.
You're missing the point with respect to that essay by Dr. Jernigan. The
point is not that today, most of us would consider his opinion wrong.
Its that the reason he came out against guide dogs was because they
inconvenienced the general public. Dr. Jernigan didn't believe in
fighting for accommodations that would make the general public
uncomfortable. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe Dr. Jernigan was right
and Adapt is wrong.
PS: It is extremely rude for you to accuse me of not having facts in a
message where you do nothing but state your own totally unsubstantiated
opinions. The only one who as actually provided facts here is me.
On 1/13/20 11:50 AM, mike at michaelhingson.com wrote:
> In fact, while you state part of the facts you do not tell the entire story.
> Dr. Jernigan later acknowledged that he was wrong.
> The NFB has done more toward advocating for the rights of blind persons than
> ANY organization. Best proof is the size of NAGDU both as a division as well
> as the amount of activity on this list.
> No, you are incorrect. The NFB knows ore about advocacy and defending our
> rights than anyone. If you read my earlier contribution to this thread you
> should have seen that even this organization is prepared to protest.
> I will not debate you further except to say that you need to get ALL your
> facts together before making the kind of broad sweeping comments you did
> Best Regards,
> Michael Hingson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nFB-Talk On Behalf Of Jack Heim via nFB-Talk
> Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 9:33 AM
> To: NFB Talk Mailing List <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: Jack Heim <john at johnheim.com>; Chris Westbrook <westbchris at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question
> You cannot learn anything about advocacy by asking the people on this list.
> All the people on this list can give you is their personal preferences --
> which on this list will very much tend toward the conservative. If you want
> to know whether a polite or a confrontational approach to protesting works
> better, you cannot learn that from the people on this lis, they don't know
> anything about advocacy.
> The NFB itself has been extraordinarily conservative over the years. In
> 1995, the Braille Monitor held a debate over the use of guide dogs.
> The extraordinary thing about that issue of the Braille Monitor was an essay
> by Kenneth Jernigan expressing his opinion that guide dogs were an
> unnecessary burden on society. So you can guess what he'd have thought of
> On 1/13/20 9:10 AM, Chris Westbrook via nFB-Talk wrote:
>> I'm curious to know what my fellow NF members think of something. I am
>> on the board of a local organization here (not NFB or blindness
>> related) and some people from that organization decided to protest
>> lack of wheelchair access by totally disrupting the inauguration
>> ceremony for new politicians, to the point where they were arrested
>> and almost charged with disorderly conduct etc. As you can imagine
>> this has sparked some controversy. I don't want to get in to more
>> detail here as I am on the board and we haven't discussed things yet,
>> but i'm just curious if anyone feels such militant protests are ever
>> justified? I am inclined to say no and definitely not in this specific
>> case for other reasons I won't get into here. This protest was
>> apparently enabled/aided by ADAPT which seems to be a very in your
>> face organization that is bad news in my opinion. It seems to me that
>> such protests can only hurt our cause. I think we must be careful to
>> always behave with dignity and be the adults in the room so to speak.
> Curious what you all think.
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