Re: Admin's Notes Re List Conduct, Please Read #adminnotice


 

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 02:32 PM, Arlene wrote:
You’d be a good advocate for blind users who have to fight with isp providers.  You know how they say click here or there. They have no clue that you are a blind user.  I’ve encountered someone who had no clue that I don’t see.
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Now, Arlene, I'll probably end up causing you some offense while at the same time praising you and trashing the clueless sighted, too.

I have been a good advocate on many occasions for multiple issues.  But, at the same time, there are "click here and click there" instructions that should be simple to follow, while there are others that are impossible to follow.  There are plenty of sighted individuals (like I have to say this here), and particularly techs, who have probably never dealt with an individual who is blind let alone with a screen reader.  If you ask most of your sighted friends and acquaintances who've never been around someone who's blind when they're using a computer how they think that would work, they generally can't answer.  I could not have answered this during my many years in the computer biz, and that was, I would say, for the majority of my many years in the computer biz. The whole concept of something so visually driven in the most common user interface is almost impossible to conceive of via other modalities.  Those of us who see "swim in sight" like it's water and we're Esther Williams and, for obvious reasons, that's a taken for granted thing.  Just like those of us who can hear do the same for audition.  You just don't think about sensory modalities you lack, or how those would be substituted, when you have no real reason to in daily existence.

I honestly think it sometimes just doesn't register with some techs when you identify yourself as blind (which, I will add, is absolutely your responsibility when engaging technical support - they can't read minds) and for many where it does, what they are doing and saying is out of force of habit rather than malice or stupidity.  It's probably ignorance more than anything.  But sometimes you have to guide them, and teach them something, when they're trying to guide you in a way that can't work.  Were someone to say, "Click on the gear icon," responding with, "I can't see that, but do you mean you want me to open settings?," is going to get both sides of the equation something they need.  You get clarity (or hopefully you do) and the tech gets clued in, however subtly and possibly temporarily, that there is a way to reference things that is not purely visual.  They'll usually keep screwing up out of force of habit during any given session, but if you keep instructing them about what you need, they'll often be willing to rephrase.  For certain things, it's worth trying to get the point across that giving reference points, is something worth doing.  A response like, "Click on the red button at the upper left is meaningless for me, but is there another button or link very near to it?  If I can find that, I can likely find what's next to it."   There really are not, and never will be, enough technicians out there versed in screen readers and blindness to provide support for every product that exists, particularly for smaller companies.  But many techs really want to help, they just have no idea of exactly how, and you can serve to teach them how to an extent while getting the help you need.

All of the above being said, make no mistake, I know all too well that you will get plenty of clueless and hostile (or at least very passive and unwilling to work with you) techs.  But there are lots of folks who will quickly recognize that you are not clueless about what you need, and that they, while they may be clueless about how you get to it, can still find a way to meet you in the middle where you can both get what you want.

I worked for many years in brain injury services, and I used to tell my patients/clients who were brain injured and trying to make their way back into "the world at large" that they would constantly, endlessly, have to be their own best advocates and to educate the clueless.  It's not a choice, because that's another population that's such a tiny niche in humanity at large that there will never come a time when most people they meet and interact with will have any idea about what it is to be brain injured or what a brain injured individual might need.  The thing that someone who's had a brain injury has going against them that most blind people will not is the presumption that they are incapable of understanding a very great many things that they can.  And one of the most difficult self-advocation skills I used to teach is temper control when the clueless deserve a shovel upside the head for how obnoxious they're being and keeping composure so that you can clearly communicate what you need and what you're capable of.

Almost anyone with almost any disability is saddled with the added responsibility of having to be advocate and teacher as a part of their daily life where the majority do not.  But I do not ever see any way that will change.  It's the result of relative sizes of given demographics in the population at large.  When you're a niche, you're a niche.  Rebelling against the larger world because you have that added burden does not do any damage to the larger world.  In fact, by and large, they couldn't care less because in most instances they don't have to.  But that doesn't mean that those same people are malicious or stupid, just ignorant, and many really would love to help if they are taught how that's appropriately given.  And, believe me, the last thing you want is to have them guess, because those guesses will be wrong 99.999% of the time.
 
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Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

[Regarding the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case brought by Texas to overturn the votes certified by 4 states:Pleased with the SCOTUS ruling, but also immediately slightly terrified of where this crazy train goes next.  We should know by now there’s a bottomless supply of crazy.

        ~ Brendan Buck, former adviser to Speakers of the House Paul Ryan and John Boehner 

 

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