[Missouri-l] Sighted MCB Executive Director
KCAgape at aol.com
KCAgape at aol.com
Sat Apr 4 09:39:09 CDT 2009
I thought about being silent, but.....
I too applied for the position of Executive Director for the Missouri
Council of the Blind. Please understand before I make comments, it is not my
intention here to whine or campaign to get the position now or in the future
because I do not play little, political games like this, but I do believe I want
you to know where I am coming from. (I wish to make it clear I hope my
comments does not jeopardize my standing with MCB, especially since I am in the
running for the MCB ED position still.) The fact is: I am extremely passionate
about the happiness and welfare of members of Missouri's blind community
because I am affected, too.
I must confess I was "amped" (encouraged) the MCB Board of Directors
eliminated the requirement of being Braille literate for the position. You know how
I thought that was really an asinine requirement.
Please believe me I am all for equality, fairness, tolerance and "thinking
outside the box" in terms of hiring a so-called "sighted" ED. In fact,
because I have a degree of vision, I might be construed as being sighted as well.
However, I contend even though I have some eyesight, my issues are parallel
to you who are totally blind, and believe we are all in this together because
of the very nature of our visual disabilities. After some objective
introspection, I agree it would send a confusing if not an inappropriate message to
the general public and the blind community to hire a sighted ED. Furthermore,
a sighted ED might know of our issues, but it is a far cry by knowing and
understanding our concerns than experiencing them firsthand, regardless of
other credentials, per se.
I would like to cite a few challenges that we, as members of the blind
community encounter, and would a sighted ED have a genuine (empathetic) clue what
I am writing about? Does someone who is sighted truly understand what it is
to face discrimination when employed much less looking for a significant job?
Does a sighted person comprehend the hassles involved with securing
reliable transportation or acquiring affordable assistive technology or a manager's
refusal to have you and your service animal admitted in a restaurant? Does a
sighted individual know the heartache we experience as members of the blind
community when we encounter those who are either too paternalistic, pitying,
condescending or treat us as second-class citizens only because we cannot see
or see as well they?
Furthermore, will a sighted ED have a history with the American Council of
the Blind or MCB or a similar consumer-driven organization, so they have a
handle of disability culture, particularly the blind and those with low vision,
is all about? I do not mean knowing every, single issue, but enough
knowledge beyond than a superficial understanding. Could a sighted ED be persuasive
not only to find potential funding streams and speak to governmental
officials of our needs, but also convince others as well as the MCB constituency they
have a profound, sincere interest of us and the challenges we encounter? I
believe this ought to be a fundamental criterion for the MCB ED position.
I believe the NAACP does not have a non-African American in its leadership
position nor the National Organization for Women does not have a male in
charge. I could be wrong. It is not a matter of reverse discrimination not to
have a sighted ED, but the practicality of improving our lives as members of
the blind community, to be fully integrated and accepted by someone who knows
the score intimately because she or he lives it!
Thank you for reading.
Scott D. Vroegindewey
**************Feeling the pinch at the grocery store? Make dinner for $10 or
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