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

Orlando Enrique Fiol

At 12:14 AM 12/31/2020, Dale Leavens wrote:
Over my 7 decades as a blind man the one consistent observation I
continue to experience is that altitude of the blind that blindness
related employment should be provided preference to blind candidates
rather than the most capable and/or competent persons. Often these
are the same sort who would object to sheltered workshops but really
what is the difference?
The difference is that blind candidates possessing many more than the stated qualifications are routinely denied employment because we are blind, despite our qualifications.

This topic demonstrates that prejudice is live and well in the
blindness community just like in the general population.
Yes indeed. It is unconscionably despicable for any blind person calling themselves an instructor to insist on using exclusively sighted concepts and terminology with blind students under the guise of protecting them from being "left behind". This attitude demonstrates the persistent belief that, if we would only act and speak more sighted, the sighted world would eventually be unable to tell that we're blind and thus lavish upon us the same opportunities that its inhabitants take for granted. This analogous to some Black folks' belief that if they act and speak more stereotypically White, the White world will think they're White and accept them. Or, there is a real thing within the gay community called "straight-acting". It seems that some gay men prefer partners who do not carry themselves or behave in ways that have become associated with gay stereotypes. Again, this preference is based on a faulty premise, that acting straight will fool straight people into overlooking a homosexual's true orientation and therefore not discriminate against them.
Point is, Black folk, LGBTQ folks and even blind folks shouldn't have to adopt mainstream mannerisms just to be placed in the running for vague hopes of equal opportunity, especially when it has been proven that assimilation efforts contribute neither positively nor negatively to its fruition. Those with the power to restrict opportunity will do so, regardless of how assiduously we assimilate their culture. This is because their basis for discriminating against us is rooted in aspects of our identity that we cannot change with assimilation. We will always be blind; sighted employers, school boards, search committees, even parents of potential music students know this. With this knowledge comes an unshakable belief that, being unable to see, we're also unable to do the jobs for which we're applying. Again, no amount of gratuitous assimilation changes that belief.
However, just for good measure, I will officially retract all these statements the day I hear someone say to my face, "We were initially quite skeptical about Sarah's abilities as a blind computer instructor. But when we heard and saw her breathtaking fluency in our language of icons, symbols and mouse clicks, we forgot all about her blindness and gave her our best job offer: lifetime tenure with full health benefits and annual cost of living increases commensurate with inflation."
When that happens, I too will change my habits to get behind something that actually works. I will no longer speak of tab stops or key commands and will censure anyone who dares to address computer issues in my presence without obligatory references to holy icons and holier mouse clicks. Pinky promise.


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