[nfbwatlk] What people look like

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sat Feb 27 09:14:46 CST 2010

A very wise message, Paul. Thank you for sharing.

In fact, all the messages on this topic on this list have been enlightening.

I will only add that I think part of the problem lies in the usual raft of 
misinformation and erroneous assumptions harbored by the sighted about the 
blind. In general, the sighted have a thing about faces; they place 
inordinate emphasis on facial characteristics and use faces to recognize 
people for the most part. Where they go wrong is assuming that because 
*they* use faces as a primary means of people recognition and mood 
interpretation, this is the *only* way to obtain such information. It's 
exactly like their assuming that because *they* might not be able to perform 
a task without sight (ignoring the fact that training is available to do 
so), we, the blind ipso facto can't perform said task, either. Same time, 
same station.

Be that as it may, Paul's response below is one of the most nuanced 
responses I've seen in some time.

Mike Freeman

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "PUBLIC RADIO 113" <publicradio113 at gmail.com>
To: <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 5:34 PM
Subject: [nfbwatlk] What people look like

> Ben got it right.  One of the things we are tought, or learn, in radio is
> that when you hold your head level and smile as you face a microphone your
> voice will convey a different message than it will when you look downward
> and speak without smiling.  Is this important to an audience who, for
> communication purposes, is blind?  Absolutely.  Many years ago I 
> interviewed
> a blind  social worker and asked her about body language and her ability 
> to
> interpret what she heard, even felt from her clients.  Breathing rate, 
> pitch
> and tone of voice, etc., were all part of the equasion.
> Some of the most interesting people I know are not necessarily the best
> looking, but they have character.
> When you talk to someone, do you get the feeling that they are actually
> listening?
> Are they evasive when asked direct questions?
> Many times the feeling you get from people can be how they are responding 
> to
> you.
> Despite our best efforts there are still people who are nervous around 
> blind
> people, and part of "educating the public" is showing a great deal of
> patience, often answering silly questions, or questions we think are 
> silly.
> Anyhow, it is an interesting topic and my opinions, as on program, are not
> necessarily those of this station....
> .
> -- 
> Paul Van Dyck
> Sounds of Awareness
> www.soundsofawareness.org
> www.kboo.fm/soundsofawareness
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