[nfbwatlk] drive in custodialism

Mary ellen gabias at telus.net
Sat Dec 13 06:34:47 UTC 2014


I do not accept your notion that the drivers who drove around you and did
not help acted that way because of the information provided by the
Federation.  If members of the Federation did such a poor job of public
education, they were, as the modern saying says, going rogue.  If you read
our courtesy rules, you'll never find anything that even implies sighted
people should *never* offer help.

I truly wish that the Federation could get any message out so effectively
that it would reach one hundred per cent public penetration. You say, "No
one stopped to help because the NFB in Omaha made sure people knew never to
help us."  If the Omaha Federation chapter did spread such a
misrepresentation of NFB philosophy and it was so effective that everybody
in Omaha heard it and accepted it, I would want to know what was being done
in Omaha that was so much more effective than the genuine public education
we're doing everywhere else!  I'd like to take those tactics and apply them
to educating about the true NFB perspective. 

Have you considered that nobody stopped to help you because:
(1) they didn't see you; or
(2) they were too self-absorbed to stop what they were intent on doing, or
(3) they were in traffic and had passed you before they were able to stop,
(4) they saw that you were managing competently.  Yes, you were
uncomfortable and would have appreciated help, but you were managing

It's very easy to attribute all sorts of motives to "the public."  Because
circumstances in which we find ourselves are sometimes annoying,
embarrassing, or frightening, those experiences take center stage in our
minds.  Sometimes I find it useful to remember a saying whose author I do
not remember.  "If you wonder what people are thinking about you, they're
probably not."

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Lauren
Merryfield via nfbwatlk
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2014 9:53 PM
To: 'Debby Phillips'; 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] drive in custodialism

I do not care for the attitude that we never need help either. I know that
we're "supposed to" be always in teaching mode, according to some
Federationists, but some of us are just living our lives and function in a
whole lot of different modes, teaching mode being only one of them. And some
of us have more difficulty multitasking multiple modes. 

I had the same problem in Omaha when, especially in the winters, I really
needed help with the ice and huge piles of snow, though my cane gave me good
info. The upshot of Omaha's sighted people fearing helping the blind brought
on a terrible experience for me. I was heading down to meet my bus to get to
work. It was snowy, icy and treacherous out and I lived on a hilly street.
The sidewalks were not scooped well at all so I walked at the edge of the
street. At one point, I lost my balance and landed in the middle of the
street. Cars drove around me. I was horrified! No one stopped to help
because the NFB in Omaha made sure people knew never to help us. It took me
a while to wait until there was a gap in traffic so I could roll over to the
curb and get up. My clothes were a mess so I walked back home to change. I
was so shaken up and so cold that it took me a while to take another bus and
arrive late to work, which they didn't like. This was a bad day that could
have been prevented if we hadn't been so hard-nosed from the NFB to the
agency for the blind. I know people saw me, but they refused to stop. The
whole thing didn't do anything to help my sense of self-esteem either.
Except that I was able to get myself up, back home and eventually to work by
myself.Whoopy! I vaguely remember functioning okay by myself but hearing the
cars driving around me as I lay there in the muck and freezing weather I
remember vividly.  I was fortunate not to have been hit or even killed due
to hard-nosed attitudes. I remember wondering how I was going to get to the
edge of the street or if I'd even make it. I was terrified! 
Lauren, who reminds some that not all Federationists are alike. Some of us
do have a heart. 
Blessings to you in the name of Jesus Christ "Trust in the Lord with all
thine heart; and lean not into thine own understanding.  In all thy ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs #3#5-6 My book is
now available in audiobook format:
Visit my new website at

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Debby
Phillips via nfbwatlk
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2014 9:32 PM
To: Don Mitchell; NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List;
portillo.jim at gmail.com; k7uij at panix.com
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] drive in custodialism

Okay, I'm probably gonna piss some people off, but okay, what the heck.  You
know, we are blind.  We don't always see what's ahead.  
It isn't that we need people's help to do things in our lives, but it sure
isn't a bad thing if somebody offers to tell us what's ahead down the road.
You know, in Denver blind people have such a reputation for being rude that
if a blind person did need help nobody would help them.  This is the one
thing that used to piss me off when I was not in NFB.  It's that damned
attitude of "I don't need anybody".  We all need each other and people just
need to stop getting their knickers in a knot every time somebody offers a
helpful piece of information.  This world is so frickin non-civil anyway.
Why do we have to add to it? 
Isn't it okay to just smile and say, Thanks, and go on your way? 
What does it hurt to treat people respectfully and not assume just because
they offer some information that they think we can't do stuff without them.
I have been with my husband when he tried to tell a blind person, "Hey,
there's something in front of you." 
He could tell that by the way they were using their cane or not paying
attention to what their dog was trying to signal that they were going to
bump in to it.  The person would get all snappy.  
And then bam! They'd bump into the very thing he was trying to tell them was
there.  And then they'd be all mad because they bumped into it.  This is the
one thing about NFB that I don't like, and I'll NEVER be this way.  I have
given sighted people directions.  They don't seem to get all pissy because I
do.  It's only blind folks that do do.  So kick me out if you want to, but
this really frosts me.  We've lost the ability to be human with one another
because we're all so damned scared that people are going to think us
inferior, or dependent, or God only knows what.  
We need to get over ourselves.  Well, now that I've had my rant and will
probably get a private reprimand, I think I'll go to 
bed.  Good night everybody.    Debby

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