November 30th, 2006


thoughts about paper money and independence in general

It's been a while since I posted one of my advocacy posts. For a little moment, in honor of my success against the spam jam, I'm back to my old tricks.

I've seen a press release circulating from the NFB regarding the recent court decision regarding the need for accessibility in paper money. In light of this, I thought that I would share the following post I wrote to the ACB-L list regarding this issue.

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All this has gotten me thinking about the concept of independence and advocacy in general. Do I have to climb mountains in order for people to understand that I am independent? No. Is it ok for me to accept help? Certainly, and sometimes accepting that help is a calculated social maneuver. There are some people who would say, if I said, "I can do that," that they know I can do it but they just want to help. It's just part of their personality, and they help the next person who comes along with a heavy bag. I've been working on training myself to be more observant of how people relate to each other as well as to me. If I get mad at the server in the restaurant for syruping me and calling me "sweetie," I try to listen and see if she does the same thing at the next table before I confront her on it. A lot of times, she does.

What does all of this mean for my efforts at independence? I'm finding that at least around here, people are becoming more receptive when I explain various options and why something is more preferable because it allows greater autonomy, more choices, etc. I'm hoping that in time, we will at least have a few sighted people in the world who understand blindness (and other disabilities) a little better and know how to think critically about things affecting people with disabilities. What I fear about the organizational standpoints is that they alienate people without disabilities and send a message that communicates that we don't trust you or want you advocating for us because you couldn't possibly know what we think or feel.

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