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Thread: A question on political correctness...

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Number of posts in this thread: 11 (In chronological order)

From: Jesse Hausler
Date: Thu, Jul 19 2012 5:07PM
Subject: A question on political correctness...
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I've been in the accessibility/disability field for probably 10 years now and I've always wondered about the term, "the blind".

My 4 years in an occupational therapy setting always taught me to lead with "people" first, as in "people who are blind", person with a disability, etc. And I agree with and have always followed that practice.

But then there are organizations such as the NFB, AFB, and others who have "the blind" in their names, charters, etc.

The reason I ask is that I'm putting together a session proposal for South by Southwest. The premise is about how using tips and techniques from the accessibility field will lead to products that are more universal, future friendly, and of course accessible.

Given that SXSW sessions are chosen by popular Internet vote, they recommend that titles are catchy, yet informative. A few ideas that came up include:

Taking Notes from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
Stealing from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
Stealing from the Blind - Mainstreaming Accessibility for Everyone!

And so on...

So I ask, on a scale of 1 to Offensive. Where does this fall and why?

Thanks for your feedback,

Jesse

From: Len Burns
Date: Thu, Jul 19 2012 5:12PM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

Jesse,

As a blind human, I take no offense whatsoever. I can also tell you
that in some parts of the world they scoff at our person first language.
I do use it as well in many contexts, but I do not find "the blind"
offensive.

The caution I have is not as much the language as that "the blind"
infers a unified group. In fact, the diversity amongst blind people is
tremendous. A great solution for one person can be the worst imaginable
for another.

Regards,
-Len

On 7/19/2012 4:07 PM, Jesse Hausler wrote:
> I've been in the accessibility/disability field for probably 10 years now and I've always wondered about the term, "the blind".
>
> My 4 years in an occupational therapy setting always taught me to lead with "people" first, as in "people who are blind", person with a disability, etc. And I agree with and have always followed that practice.
>
> But then there are organizations such as the NFB, AFB, and others who have "the blind" in their names, charters, etc.
>
> The reason I ask is that I'm putting together a session proposal for South by Southwest. The premise is about how using tips and techniques from the accessibility field will lead to products that are more universal, future friendly, and of course accessible.
>
> Given that SXSW sessions are chosen by popular Internet vote, they recommend that titles are catchy, yet informative. A few ideas that came up include:
>
> Taking Notes from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Mainstreaming Accessibility for Everyone!
>
> And so on...
>
> So I ask, on a scale of 1 to Offensive. Where does this fall and why?
>
> Thanks for your feedback,
>
> Jesse
> > > >

From: Jesse Hausler
Date: Thu, Jul 19 2012 7:26PM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

Thanks everyone for your great feedback, as some of you have responded to me off list. I don't want to bog this list down with a discussion about political correctness, so I'll try to end this thread if you will.

The topic was somewhat relevant for me and this list, only because I'm looking to give not necessarily an accessibility session, but one that takes many notes from accessibility.

Once we do come up with a good title, I'll be sure to post it here and ask for your support in getting our panel selected for the conference. I feel that by having more sessions on proper coding and inclusive design at mainstream conferences, our goals will become the goals of a larger community.

Thanks again,
Jesse Hausler

From: John E Brandt
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 9:20AM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

I have noticed this too - and for a number of "disability groups." I am not
sure if it reflects a change in what people view as "politically correct" or
a general change in culture. I know that I often choose my words carefully
(or try to), but sometimes feel I have being over concerned.

"The Blind" and "The Deaf" are the two groups where this change has been
most noticeable. But I am now also hearing "The Dyslexic" and "The Autistic"
used fairly frequently.

I have my own theories about why this is happening, but it is interesting to
watch these changes over time.

~j

John E. Brandt
www.jebswebs.com
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
207-622-7937
Augusta, Maine, USA

-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Jesse Hausler
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:07 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] A question on political correctness...

I've been in the accessibility/disability field for probably 10 years now
and I've always wondered about the term, "the blind".

My 4 years in an occupational therapy setting always taught me to lead with
"people" first, as in "people who are blind", person with a disability, etc.
And I agree with and have always followed that practice.

But then there are organizations such as the NFB, AFB, and others who have
"the blind" in their names, charters, etc.

The reason I ask is that I'm putting together a session proposal for South
by Southwest. The premise is about how using tips and techniques from the
accessibility field will lead to products that are more universal, future
friendly, and of course accessible.

Given that SXSW sessions are chosen by popular Internet vote, they recommend
that titles are catchy, yet informative. A few ideas that came up include:

Taking Notes from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
Stealing from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
Stealing from the Blind - Mainstreaming Accessibility for Everyone!

And so on...

So I ask, on a scale of 1 to Offensive. Where does this fall and why?

Thanks for your feedback,

Jesse
messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

From: Mary Stores
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 9:34AM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

Hello,

I try and use people-first language, and have always thought that the
NFB and ACB are a Federation or Council, and "the blind" referred to
both people and issues related to blindness.

*shrugs* This is something to think about. I am also blind, so I hadn't
really put that much thought into the whole "the blind" issue before.

Jesse, you asked about a scale. Would 1 to offensive be 5. Would 3 be I
dont' really care? lol I'm definitely not offended.

Mary

Quoting John E Brandt < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >:

> I have noticed this too - and for a number of "disability groups." I am not
> sure if it reflects a change in what people view as "politically correct" or
> a general change in culture. I know that I often choose my words carefully
> (or try to), but sometimes feel I have being over concerned.
>
> "The Blind" and "The Deaf" are the two groups where this change has been
> most noticeable. But I am now also hearing "The Dyslexic" and "The Autistic"
> used fairly frequently.
>
> I have my own theories about why this is happening, but it is interesting to
> watch these changes over time.
>
> ~j
>
> John E. Brandt
> www.jebswebs.com
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> 207-622-7937
> Augusta, Maine, USA
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Jesse Hausler
> Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:07 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] A question on political correctness...
>
> I've been in the accessibility/disability field for probably 10 years now
> and I've always wondered about the term, "the blind".
>
> My 4 years in an occupational therapy setting always taught me to lead with
> "people" first, as in "people who are blind", person with a disability, etc.
> And I agree with and have always followed that practice.
>
> But then there are organizations such as the NFB, AFB, and others who have
> "the blind" in their names, charters, etc.
>
> The reason I ask is that I'm putting together a session proposal for South
> by Southwest. The premise is about how using tips and techniques from the
> accessibility field will lead to products that are more universal, future
> friendly, and of course accessible.
>
> Given that SXSW sessions are chosen by popular Internet vote, they recommend
> that titles are catchy, yet informative. A few ideas that came up include:
>
> Taking Notes from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Mainstreaming Accessibility for Everyone!
>
> And so on...
>
> So I ask, on a scale of 1 to Offensive. Where does this fall and why?
>
> Thanks for your feedback,
>
> Jesse
>

From: Poore-Pariseau, Cindy
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 9:55AM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

I always used "person first language" as well until a person on my dissertation committee "enlightened" me. I now put the following along with anything I am teaching that is disability related.

While “person first” (i.e. "students with disabilities") language has been popularized in recent years, many professionals argue that, although a person may possess a particular characteristic such as blindness, the label of ”disabled” is socially constructed and has been imposed by society (Bowker, & Tuffin, 2007). For the purpose of this unit, the term “disabled student” will be utilized to signify that the lack of accessibility has caused the learning barrier rather than the impairment itself. (In other words, a person with an impairment would not be “disabled” in an environment that is accessible)

Bowker, N., & Tuffin, K. (2007, July). Understanding positive subjectivities made possible online for disabled people. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 36(2), 63-71. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.


"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow" ~John Dewey
Cindy Poore-Pariseau, Ph. D.
Bristol Community College
Coordinator of Disability Services
Office of Disability Services, L115
1

1 Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
c Phone: (508) 678-2811 x 2470
 Fax: (508) 508-730-3297

From: Barry Hill
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 2:32PM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi all

I feel that, although the idea is sound and the argument holds merit, person
first is unfamiliar to the majority of visual impaired people, and so has
the effect of highlighting the issue.

In the UK, the PC term that was blind and partially sighted went through the
transformation of visually impaired and is now sight impaired and severely
sight impaired. However, this latter terminology seems only to be used in
official documents and is unfamiliar amongst the population of blind and
partially sighted.

Still, if the term 'visually impaired' hadn't been proper gated, then the
collective term might still be 'the blind'.

Cheers

Barry

-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Poore-Pariseau,
Cindy
Sent: 20 July 2012 4:55 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] A question on political correctness...

I always used "person first language" as well until a person on my
dissertation committee "enlightened" me. I now put the following along with
anything I am teaching that is disability related.

While “person first” (i.e. "students with disabilities") language has been
popularized in recent years, many professionals argue that, although a
person may possess a particular characteristic such as blindness, the label
of ”disabled” is socially constructed and has been imposed by society
(Bowker, & Tuffin, 2007). For the purpose of this unit, the term “disabled
student” will be utilized to signify that the lack of accessibility has
caused the learning barrier rather than the impairment itself. (In other
words, a person with an impairment would not be “disabled” in an environment
that is accessible)

Bowker, N., & Tuffin, K. (2007, July). Understanding positive subjectivities
made possible online for disabled people. New Zealand Journal of Psychology,
36(2), 63-71. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.


"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow"
~John Dewey Cindy Poore-Pariseau, Ph. D.
Bristol Community College
Coordinator of Disability Services
Office of Disability Services, L115
1

1 Email: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
c Phone: (508) 678-2811 x 2470
Ê Fax: (508) 508-730-3297





-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Mary Stores
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2012 11:34 AM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] A question on political correctness...

Hello,

I try and use people-first language, and have always thought that the NFB
and ACB are a Federation or Council, and "the blind" referred to both people
and issues related to blindness.

*shrugs* This is something to think about. I am also blind, so I hadn't
really put that much thought into the whole "the blind" issue before.

Jesse, you asked about a scale. Would 1 to offensive be 5. Would 3 be I
dont' really care? lol I'm definitely not offended.

Mary

Quoting John E Brandt < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >>:

> I have noticed this too - and for a number of "disability groups." I
> am not sure if it reflects a change in what people view as
> "politically correct" or a general change in culture. I know that I
> often choose my words carefully (or try to), but sometimes feel I have
being over concerned.
>
> "The Blind" and "The Deaf" are the two groups where this change has
> been most noticeable. But I am now also hearing "The Dyslexic" and "The
Autistic"
> used fairly frequently.
>
> I have my own theories about why this is happening, but it is
> interesting to watch these changes over time.
>
> ~j
>
> John E. Brandt
> www.jebswebs.com<;http://www.jebswebs.com>;
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> 207-622-7937
> Augusta, Maine, USA
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto:webaim-forum-bounces@list.
> webaim.org> [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of
> Jesse Hausler
> Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:07 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] A question on political correctness...
>
> I've been in the accessibility/disability field for probably 10 years
> now and I've always wondered about the term, "the blind".
>
> My 4 years in an occupational therapy setting always taught me to lead
> with "people" first, as in "people who are blind", person with a
disability, etc.
> And I agree with and have always followed that practice.
>
> But then there are organizations such as the NFB, AFB, and others who
> have "the blind" in their names, charters, etc.
>
> The reason I ask is that I'm putting together a session proposal for
> South by Southwest. The premise is about how using tips and techniques
> from the accessibility field will lead to products that are more
> universal, future friendly, and of course accessible.
>
> Given that SXSW sessions are chosen by popular Internet vote, they
> recommend that titles are catchy, yet informative. A few ideas that came
up include:
>
> Taking Notes from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Make it Universal, not Accessible!
> Stealing from the Blind - Mainstreaming Accessibility for Everyone!
>
> And so on...
>
> So I ask, on a scale of 1 to Offensive. Where does this fall and why?
>
> Thanks for your feedback,
>
> Jesse
>

messages to
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >

messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

From: Elle
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 3:49PM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

*On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM, Poore-Pariseau, Cindy <
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
*
>
> *I always used "person first language" as well until a person on my
> dissertation committee "enlightened" me. I now put the following along
> with anything I am teaching that is disability related.
>
> While “person first” (i.e. "students with disabilities") language has been
> popularized in recent years, many professionals argue that, although a
> person may possess a particular characteristic such as blindness, the label
> of ”disabled” is socially constructed and has been imposed by society
> (Bowker, & Tuffin, 2007). For the purpose of this unit, the term “disabled
> student” will be utilized to signify that the lack of accessibility has
> caused the learning barrier rather than the impairment itself. (In other
> words, a person with an impairment would not be “disabled” in an
> environment that is accessible)
>
> Bowker, N., & Tuffin, K. (2007, July). Understanding positive
> subjectivities made possible online for disabled people. New Zealand
> Journal of Psychology, 36(2), 63-71. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier
> database.
> *


Cindy:

What a fantastic contribution to this discussion, thank you. I just
finished watching Audism Unveiled <http://www.dawnsign.com/audism>; with my
daughter last night (thanks to a recommendation by Glenda Sims), and I'm
learning a lot about the liberating or disabling power of language this
week.

Much appreciated,
Elle

From: Len Burns
Date: Fri, Jul 20 2012 5:11PM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

All,

There is another aspect to this that I believe must be considered. I
respect the research, but it fails to address how groups of people are
currently asserting certain terms and manners of self-description with
the end of reclaiming ownership.
Many people are asserting pride as a blind, or deaf person. I might
well be proud to be dlind, and if I am, referring to me as a "blind
person" I view as a positive.
Another good example is an organization called GimpGirl Community:
http://www.gimpgirl.com/
Many a careful thinking person has been rather horrified by the name of
this organization. In fact, it was begun by a woman with a disability
who is proud of who she is and far prefers people call things what they
are rather than talk around them.

From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Mon, Jul 23 2012 6:52AM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | Next message →

I have found that just about every term you can use related to disability can offend someone. No matter how innocuous or respectful you think the term is, there is some group of people that may take offense to it.

However, it is not the words that are the problem, but the meanings behind the words.

I don't particularly like the term "the blind", but that is really because the contexts I have seen the word used in have reflected a lack of respect or dignity.

This conversation started with a question about whether or not the term was offensive for a title of a session at SSW. I didn't find it offensive because I know it was being used in a positive way.

That doesn't mean that someone else won't find it offensive. However, if they do, it is most likely because they don't understand the intent behind the words. Typically, in those kinds of situations, I either try to explain my meaning to the person or I change the words I use to communicate better with that person. After all, the words are just the means of communication and not the communication itself. less important than what I want to communicate.

From: Morin, Gary (NIH/OD) [E]
Date: Mon, Jul 23 2012 8:18AM
Subject: Re: A question on political correctness...
← Previous message | No next message

And just yesterday, I learned of the "999 Eyes Freak Show<http://www.999eyes.com/>;" (http://www.999eyes.com/), which is by and about persons with "genetic human anomalies as the starts of the show." There's a promo video on its site, but unfortunately it's neither captioned nor audio-described, as far as I can tell.

From its bio page:
"The 999 Eyes Freakshow & Surreal Sideshow is the last genuine traveling freakshow of its kind in the United States. True to the variety show style of yesteryear, The 999 Eyes consists of many human oddities and a host of sideshow performers, all accompanied by the vaudevillian circus band, THAT Damned Band. The current show was written by an authentic freak, The Black Scorpion, who both performs and serves as the Creative Director for this project." http://www.999eyes.com/biopage.html


I also find http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ouch and http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ouch/ to be very direct self-depictions and worth reading and following as websites/resources.

Gary M.