[nfbwatlk] drive in custodialism

Jim Portillo portillo.jim at gmail.com
Sat Dec 13 07:33:35 UTC 2014

Marci, philosophy discussions are a great idea.  I have wished we could do that for a while.  
That stuff is right up my alley.

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Marci Carpenter via nfbwatlk
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2014 11:04 PM
To: debby phillips; NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] drive in custodialism

Debby and listers,
It is absolutely NOT true that, if a blind person needs help in Denver, no one will help them. Blind people there do not have any kind of “reputation” I don’t know where you got that notion  but it is not true. You are the one who is stereotyping us with these overreactions to honest exchanges between blind people on this list. 

We are blind. We don’t always know what lies ahead of us, and we have many ways of finding that out. Whenever I am asked by sighted people “How can I be most helpful to blind people I might encounter in daily life? I say “Assume competence” and “ If you feel you must say something, ask if the person needs any information” That leaves the decision-making with the blind person. The fact is that most sighted people give unsolicited advice because they do not believe we are capable of determining what is ahead of us and where we are going. I don’t give unsolicited directions to sighted or blind people. If I hear people asking for assistance, or talking amongst themselves about looking for something, I will ask them if they want some directions. Of course we all need information and assistance from sighted people now and then, but it should be up to us to determine when; not a sighted person.

Sometimes sighted people start shouting at me about directions and obstacles, and this distracts me from paying attention to my surroundings, and I end up missing a bench or something with my cane and running into it, which makes me frustrated. I have had people walk up to me after such an incident and say “I told you that bench was there”. What they don’t know, of course, is the real reason I ran into it. Most of the time I don’t have a lot of time to hang around and explain all of this to them and so I‘m sure they leave believing that I am a rude, unappreciative blind person. So be it.  I don’t believe this makes me rude.

At no point in Don’s recounting o his situation did he lash out at the woman in the car. He has a belief about her assumptions and the lack of mitigating value of her “good intensions”. It is a belief I share. If you do not then that is your right. It is not OK to make broad, inaccurate stereotypes about the NFB and I hope, Debby, that you will think a little more before doing so again.

I am going to start rereading some of our books and banquet speeches. I wonder if anyone would like to join me in reading and then having some philosophy discussions via our conference call phone number. This is an open invitation to anyone on, or not on, this list. I am interested in learning from reading and having honest, respectful discussions with all of you. I, for one, will never be done learning. Feel free to write me on or off list, or to call me.

I am at your service,

Marci Carpenter
mjc59 at comcast.net <mailto:mjc59 at comcast.net>
(206) 604-5507

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

> On Dec 12, 2014, at 9:31 PM, Debby Phillips via nfbwatlk <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> 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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