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La Shawn Barber has an interesting post on the topic of what blacks owe themselves.
She quotes from a black cop who entered the police force out of concern for the black community, specifically because the elder generation is forgotten, the current generation is lost, and the community is fallen.
Both the police officer and Barber point out that they, as members of the black community, choose to take the high road and own their failings when necessary, instead of blaming others for them.
I believe that this is a view that could benefit people of all races.
None of us has the right to blame other people, or other races for our failings.
The first step in correcting those failings is admitting we have them.
I’d like to see some of this soul searching going on in the blind community.
For instance, let’s take the seventy percent unemployment rate.
While things like job market prejudice are indeed factors in that high rate, there’s also a huge problem in the blind community when it comes to being able to integrate into the job market, and sighted society as a whole.
I know a lot of blind people who have no idea how to prepare for a job interview, and this says nothing about the huge lack of interest in keeping up physical appearances.
I’m by no means saying that blind people need to be concerned about their physical appearance to the exclusion of everything else.
But blind people need to realize, and more importantly, today’s blind youth needs to be taught, that appearance does matter, and can impact the jobs available.
We live in a sighted world, and we need to realize that people are going to be looking at us, and expecting that we maintain the same professional standards they do.
Furthermore, most sighted people who have met or dealt with blind people usually only deal with one or two, and they apply the impressions they take away from their encounters with those members of the blind community to everyone in the blind community.
I don’t like being a defacto representative of the blind community to my peers in the sighted world and work force any more than anyone else does.
But facts are facts, and that state of affairs isn’t going to change any time soon.
I believe it’s absolutely necessary that blind youth are prepared adequately to function in the sighted world we live in, for their benefit.
Not preparing them for that worl is a serious disservice.
The blind community as a whole needs to take some responsibility for the stereotypes employed against it.
I’m not saying that these stereotypes are necessarily deserved, but all stereotypes have a grain of truth, or at least enough of them do that the ones that possess no truth end up being exceptions to the rule.
We, as a community, need to do everything in our power to destroy these myths.
Admittedly, that’s not an easy task, and we have a long way to go.
But we are the only ones who can correct the problem.

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