Wednesday, September 06, 2006

MY RESPONSE TO COMMENTS MADE BY CNN’S GLEN BECK


This morning I wrote a letter to the Glenn Beck Show. He made some very inappropriate comments about blind people. You can view the clip at: http://mediamatters.org/items/200608250004

The letter I wrote is as follows.


I'm writing in response to some extremely interesting comments made by Glenn Beck on the August 24 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck Show. The comments that were made that forced me to stop, think, and respond were as follows.

ECK: OK. I have one. I have one. I'm going to get to some of the questions that have already been asked, but I've got one that drives me out of my mind.
I work at Radio City in midtown Manhattan, and up by the doors, you know, like where the -- you know -- the office kitchen is, in Braille, on the wall, it says "kitchen." You'd have to -- a blind person would have to be feeling all of the walls to find "kitchen." Just to piss them off, I'm going to put in Braille on the coffee pot -- I'm going to put, "Pot is hot." Ow!

The guest on the show that particular day writes a column, Dare to Ask. Since the staff of the Glenn Beck show already knows the premise of that particular column, I won't explain. Interestingly, when Mr. Beck expressed his feelings about braille signs on doors, he didn't pose it as a question. He just blurted out his disdain for such signs. Instead of him asking the question, "How could those braille signs be helpful to someone that can't see that they are there?", which would have actually been a great question, he sprayed his ignorance all over the television camera. What a mess!

Just so that Mr. Beck would know, I'll try to explain. The braille signs are helpful to a blind person that is already somewhat oriented to the environment that they are in. The signs help further navigate a person that is blind through the building or to the desired destination. Of course, a person that is blind and coming into a building for the first time would not know the signs are there. But for the person that actually travels on the inside of the building in question, but maybe needs reassurance that they are in the right or wrong place, the signs are a necessity. Well, let me not say a necessity...They are helpful.

I am totally blind. I was a guest in the Hyatt in Jacksonville this summer. After staying in the hotel and traveling throughout the hotel for a couple of days, a sighted person pointed out and made me aware of the braille signs on the inside and outside of the elevators, on the guest and meeting rooms, and on the vending machines.

I wondered what was the point in placing braille signs for someone that's blind, if no one pointed out to the blind person that they were there. But once
I was made aware, my life, at least for that week, was a little less stressful. I was able to travel independently and no if I was at the right or wrong room for the meetings I was expected to attend. If I got a little turned around and showed up at room 720, instead of 725, I didn't have to wait for someone to pass by to ask them was I at the right room. I didn't have to open the door, interrupt a meeting that was already going on, plus embarrass myself.

Ignorance is sometimes excused. But refusing to be educated about things that you are clearly uneducated about would be stupid. Stupidity is never okay.
I hope that you decide to erase your ignorance regarding this matter. Hopefully, you already have.

I don't want to be presumptuous; but I would assume that you are not close friends with anyone that is blind. Maybe you should take the time to get to know someone that is blind. Some blind people are offended when people ask questions. But most of us are willing to erase the public's misconceptions and/or ignorance about blind matters.

I hope you have a great day. I also hope that you take the time to find the answers to the questions you dare to ask.

2 comments:

Heber said...

I am so proud of you and your boldness to confront Beck on his comments. Thanks for uploading the letter here.

Art Hooker said...

You go girl. Great blogging Ann. YOu can find my blog under arthooker.blogspot.com. I'll check back for more of your work soon.