[Logo: Ampers radio station, with tagline that reads, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities.]
[Photo: John Lee Clark]
Speaker: We DeafBlind folks may be lucky in one respect as compared with other people with disabilities. We don’t see people staring at us. This means we’re less burdened by what’s called the “Abled Gaze.”
[Logo: Ampers radio station, with taglines that read, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and Keep Moving Forward.]
Host: This is Keep Moving Forward.
[Photo: President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. Photo courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library.]
George H.W. Bush: Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.
[Logos: Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990-2015, and Disability Rights Are Civil Rights. Logos courtesy of the ADA National Network.]
Host: Exploring the legacy and promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
[Photos: John Lee Clark]
Speaker: I’m speaking on behalf of John Lee Clark, who is a second generation DeafBlind man who’s also a poet, a Braille instructor and a family man with a wife and three boys. These are his words.
I interact with hearing and sighted people all the time. Most of them are awesome and respond well when I do tactile gestures to communicate, but some are like deer caught in the headlights – they freeze.
People with disabilities who are sighted are more aware of this. The Abled Gaze is most of the time invisible to me, but when you notice it, it can get into your head. For instance, I sometimes get unwanted “help,” like when someone thinks I must be lost because I’m walking along a wall instead of down the middle of a corridor. They don’t know how to behave, except to try and correct what seems out of place. Abled people are so unacquainted with real people with disabilities. And yet we make up nearly a quarter of the total population.
[Logos: the Minnesota Council on Disability, the Minnesota Humanities Center, the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, and the Ampers radio station.]
Host: Keep Moving Forward is supported by the Minnesota Council on Disability, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, online at Ampers.org.