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June 25: She's in!
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ChastMastr



Joined: 15 Jul 2012
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Location: Tampa Bay, Florida, US

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(I also say the above as a big fan of what some people (usually before they're about to say something racist, sexist, etc.) call "political correctness"--i.e., trying to be polite and avoid using words which exclude people or mistreat them. I am personally thrilled--and enjoying the Schadenfreude--with the news that the football team in Washington can't keep their patent on a word which is taken as an offensive racial slur by many people of Native American Indian ancestry. The question is perhaps where should the line be, context, etc. I certainly think that calling someone behaving foolishly "retarded" is horrible, for instance, so it is not that disabilities are on the other side of the line from, say, ethnicity.)
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It honestly isn't the best metaphor. Its historical usage only points to the fact that very few people in history have actually cared about how blind people experience life.

Overwhelmed by guilt is a decent alternative to 'paralysed with guilt' - because that's what you are trying to say. My understanding is that most or many blind people don't care if you use 'see' in everyday conversation, and often use it themselves.

The only real argument I'm hearing against not considering alternatives to harmful language is, "But I don't want to," "But people have been doing it for a long time," "But there are so many groups that could potentially need changes to feel comfortable, so we had best not even begin."

For that last one - many people certainly haven't had a say in how they have been fitted into a mold so people can use them as decorative flair for their conversations. Since many more people are able to share their experiences and say, "This is actually really inaccurate and it hurts me. Could you stop?" you're going to hear it more.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChastMastr, why do you think calling people 'retarded' is bad? Please tell me how you came to that conclusion.
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Ronald



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ennis wrote:
I am of the opinion that Tange's codename should be Tiger, and Lil'E's should be Angel.


Those are kind of obvious, though, aren't they? The ideal "codename" would be one that makes it nearly impossible for an outsider to guess who is being referred to.
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
Overwhelmed by guilt is a decent alternative to 'paralysed with guilt' - because that's what you are trying to say. My understanding is that most or many blind people don't care if you use 'see' in everyday conversation, and often use it themselves.


Ah! Hmmm... so then... if one were to say, rather than "The Sisterhood's zealousness could make them blind to doing X," "The Sisterhood's zealousness could make then unable to see that doing X is bad"--would that work better? Is it the words "blind" and "blindness," rather than the metaphor of sight or lack of sight?

So far I think (thank God!) no one seems to be using "Yeah, you're developmentally disabled!" as a playground taunt. (Which, by the way, is why I understand "retarded" to be a word to avoid--because it's been used as hurtful, and people with that mental difficulty have been really and consistently hurt by it.)

(Consistently is perhaps a factor too. If there had been one person with severe learning disabilities who was hurt by the R-word, rather than many, it might not be the same issue in terms of how a common language is used. If there *are* many blind people who perceive "blind" in the metaphorical sense to be hurtful, then I do think it needs to be addressed, but I don't know how many there are.)
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Been poking around since my last post to try to find something from blind people's point of view about the usage of such words with very little luck--can you post some links?)
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it would. The issue is using blindness as a metaphor, specifically for something bad - and this being a constant thing.

I don't have any really good links handy. Here is one from a quick search:
http://brilliantmindbrokenbody.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/i-am-not-your-metaphor/
I'll try finding others, although I don't know if I'll get to that tonight.

My education on the subject came from reading "Walking Alone and Marching Together: A History of the Organized Blind Movement." It was fascinating, but extremely long. Calling it a brick does not do justice. This appears to be a link to the book online, but I don't know if it's complete:
https://nfb.org/Images/nfb/Publications/books/books1/wamtc.htm

A friend of mine used to be the head of the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) here, and also taught me a personal course on the organized blind movement. I've also had a brief opportunity to meet with the local American Council of the Blind. (I wanted to become a braille transcriber, and went there to find some transcribers to talk to - but discovered that it's a very closed community that doesn't want new members. And then I realized that braille transcribing too much for my brain.)

So I had the opportunity to talk a lot with my friend and hear about her experiences as a very educated and smart person, growing up as a blind person in different parts of the US, and also what it was like in the NFB schools for the blind. And then I also got to see the assholery she experienced day to day, which was astounding.

I've been meaning to figure out some way to explain that blindness as a metaphor is not good, but most people don't have any context for it, so I just haven't really brought it up anywhere. But I recently decided I'd try the next time it came up.
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, to be fair, blindness (as blindness, not as a metaphor) is something bad. It's a disability.
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not blind, though I'm horribly nearsighted (the world becomes a blur about a foot away from my face), and I don't find (as one of the people on the "I am not your metaphor" page does) words like "shortsighted" or for that matter "myopic" to be offensive.

Looking at the other link, I desperately wish it had a "search" function. Sad
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, being blind is not actually bad.

Kinda like how being left handed is not bad, even though being left handed in a right handed world is unnecessarily difficult. Except you have to raise the degree of fucked upness a whole bunch.

Edit: I am also nearsighted, and I also am not bothered when people use the phrase 'nearsighted' to mean something bad. But I haven't been smothered with it. I never experienced being called 'four eyes' or having people beat the shit out of me for wearing glasses. It was never a thing. That doesn't mean it's okay that people do use 'short sighted' to mean someone who can't think or plan far ahead. That just means that I haven't been overtly affected by anti-nearsightedness bias.


Here's a joke my friend gave me:
"What happens when the blind lead the blind?
They get where they're going."
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drat. Dug and dug through that book but I think it's not all on the link. The Index had "�Language and the Future of the Blind,� 702 ff." but near as I can tell it's just not there. Sad

This *may* be it (I <3 Google), but (1) it's old--1989!--and (2) it doesn't really address the metaphorical use of words like "blind" or "blindness" per se.

https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/convent/banque89.htm
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ChastMastr



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
No, being blind is not actually bad.


I'm sorry, but I have to strongly, firmly, on every level possible, disagree with this. It's a serious physical defect for an organism (with the exception of species which just don't have eyes or eyespots) to have. I do not at all think it's analogous to right- or left-handedness. One might find ways around it or to adapt to it, perhaps in incredible ways that show ingenuity to the degree of genius; one might develop insights which one would never have found otherwise; but, all other things being equal, lacking sight is a bad thing. I'm not even sure I can attach "I believe" to this one--I believe it is self-evident. If a dolphin or bat lost or lacked sonar, that, too, would be a bad thing. Again, they might find ways around it, but that doesn't mean that the lack is not a bad thing.

For goodness' sake, Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant people on Earth, but his paralytic condition, as a condition, is a bad thing.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And we all live in the wild, surviving only by our wits.
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Cley Faye



Joined: 27 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PebbleInTheSky wrote:
Besides, as if hypocrisy wouldn't have been a better choice of words? It's hardy some dusty, unknown, obscure alternative, actually describes "doing something you're morally opposed to other people doing" much better. It's practically the definition of hypocrisy, actually, and Cley Faye could have easily used that instead.

It's not a matter of not having anything better. There is always a perfectly fine substitute. It's a matter of people not giving enough of a damn to reach for a better word to use.


Well, excuse me for trying to use english even though I can't spend hours on reading dictionnaries and ethymologists research paper to make sure that every single word I use is the most perfect choice... >_<

If you consider that the word "blindness", used in a way that is not 100% related to an actual physical disability, constitute an insult, then I'm sorry, that wasn't my intention at all. I just tend to write like I speak, and in non formal context, I believe that these kind of metaphors/image/bad choices of words are usually understood. But, again, this is a public forum, and I should not make such assumptions.

Now, I won't elaborate more on this point (I simply don't have enough understanding of this issue). But, about the idea I wanted to convey, hypocrisy is not what I meant. Of course, from an outsider, having a behavior that is in contradiction with your belief *is* hypocrisy, but in this case it is something that one do unconsciously, kinda like in the spur of the moment, without realizing it. The fact that the sisterhood have a good history of non-violence doesn't mean that a slip couldn't happen. But there's only one way to know where this is going...
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't have to pore over dictionaries. A visit to thesaurus.com provides plenty of alternatives, organized by the different meanings associated with the word:

http://thesaurus.com/browse/blindness

It can't not be related to the actual disability. I can't say, "You are so like Cley Faye!" to someone who is being an asshole without saying something about you too.

I am also amazed that anyone who thinks it's too damned hard or not worth thinking of other words than blind to use, that you all can then also say, "But retarded is a terrible word to use!" Do you really think that you would not have learned not to use the word retarded if people hadn't fought to get the notion out there that using it is a bad thing?
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