Episode 4 – Within The Grace of God – Featuring Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek is not well known to most of us. However, among the ranks of blind people he is known as the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, a deep thinker and the creator of the most progressive philosophy about blindness seen by humanity. In every way you can imagine, he was unstoppable throughout his life. Over his lifetime he had many opportunities to choose more famous paths, but every time he was offered positions such as becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California, he stuck to his commitment to teach and enhance the lives of students at UC Berkley. Even more important, he wanted to work at his first love, growing the National Federation of the Blind and grounding it in a philosophy that said that “the blind have the right to live in the world”.
Perhaps his most memorable speech was delivered at the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in San Francisco in 1956. This talk was entitled “Within The Grace Of God”. I offer it here to help you not only think differently about blindness as you may now perceive it, but I present it to show you an unstoppable man in action.
Some directories do not show full show notes. For the complete transcription please visit https://michaelhingson.com/podcast
About Dr. Jacobus tenBroek
Dr. tenBroek was both a national and international leader of the blind civil rights movement. After founding the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) in 1940, he was its president until his resignation in 1961. He was re-elected president in 1966 and remained in that office until his death in 1968. Dr. tenBroek was also president of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, an education and charitable foundation now known as the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, from 1945 until his death. On the international front, in 1964 Dr. tenBroek co-founded the International Federation of the Blind, now known as the World Blind Union, and served as its president until his death. Dr. tenBroek was also a delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind.
As president of the NFB Dr. tenBroek directed efforts to require sheltered workshops to pay workers a minimum wage, reform the Social Security Act to provide full disability insurance benefits to blind people, and force the United States Civil Service Commission to certify qualified blind people as eligible for civil service jobs.
Bio taken from The National Federation of the Blind website. See the full bio at https://nfb.org//sites/default/files/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm06/bm0605/bm060503.htm
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast we’re inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Thanks for being with us. This week, I want to feature a speech that has become one of my favorites. This is not a speech that I gave, but rather it was delivered by the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. Dr. tenBroek, as you will see in the biography that accompanies this show, was a constitutional law scholar. He didn’t start out that way. However, he was interested in the law and went to the University of California at Berkeley where he obtained as I recall a degree in psychology and then wanted to go on and do an advanced degree and get a doctorate in jurisprudence and the law. Berkeley professors told him that that was not something that a blind person can do. And so he was forced to take a PhD in psychology instead, Dr. tenBroek, then went on to teach at Berkeley, and while there he was invited to chair the speech department. Well, Dr. tenBroek, in his inimitable way, said that he was willing to do so. But that he wanted to chair it his way which they agreed to do the professors and establishment at Berkeley, when Dr. tenBroek took over the department, one of the things that he did was to announce to the campus to all the professors that he was inviting them to join the department. But if they were going to be part of his department, they needed to enter into studying a discipline other than what their normal discipline of study was. So for example, physicists began to study biology, which became very relevant after world war two to deal with nuclear medicine and so on. And biologists, by the way, studied physics and chemistry and other sciences for the same reason. And there were a lot of other professors that took on disciplines outside their normal field of study. What do you think the Dr. tenBroek did? That’s right, he decided that he was going to study constitutional law, and became one of the foremost constitutional law scholars in the 1940s and 50s. And into the 60s, well, he continued to work with and participate actively in the National Federation of the Blind as its president, and a very active member, the speech that you’re going to hear now is, I believe, the speech that summarizes best not only his feelings about the philosophy of blindness, but I believe that it is really the foundation stone, the cornerstone of the philosophy of many blind people then and now, and I hope that you will see that it is a philosophy that you should adopt as well. Rather than explaining it. I’m going to let you hear Dr. tenBroek, delivering his speech at the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. In 1956, the speech entitled within the grace of God.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 04:29
It is a privilege of a very special order, and one to which I have long looked forward to address you here tonight in the unique and wonderful city of San Francisco. We’re all of us who are native Californians, which means that you all know that we moved here at least six months ago from Iowa or Oklahoma. This occasion marks the fulfillment of a cherished ambition. We feel something of the pardonable pride of hosts, who know that their hospitality has been as graciously accepted as it has been warmly given. But there is something else that is special about the present location. our city and our state are blessed this year of grace with not one but two history making convention, each of which is appearing on the local stage for the first time, our own and that of the Republican Party.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 05:48
There can be no question. I can be no question of course, which is the more important than far reaching in its consequences. But let us admit that the Republicans to have an objective of some scope.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 06:15
During our regular convention sessions today, we have had a fairly full review of the work of the National Federation of the Blind. We have seen the accelerated growth of the organization marked by the expression of nine state affiliates in the years since our last national convention. Lifting us from a beginning of seven states in 1940. Do a grand total of 42 states today and with a clear view of affiliates in 48. states in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 07:00
We have seen an organization with purposes as irrepressible as the aspiration of men to be free, with far flung activities and accomplishments with a solid adherence and participation of rank and file members. And with the selfless devotion of an ever increasing array of able and distinguished leaders. We have seen the action and the forces of action. We have also seen the reaction and the forces of reaction. There is perhaps no stronger testimony to our developing prestige and influence as the nationwide movement and organization of the blind. Then the scope and intensity of the attacks upon us. These attacks are not new, they have resisted from the very beginning. They have ranged from unspeakable whispering campaigns against the character and integrity of the leaders of the Federation to public disparagement of its goals and structure. Now however, the attacks have taken on a new bitterness and a new violence. They include open vowels as you heard today, I have a determination to wipe several of our affiliates out of existence and every step possible has been taken to bring about this result. Now, whence come these attacks? What is the motivation behind them? Are they personal? Are they institutional? are they based on policy differences as to ns as well as mean? What is the pattern of action and reaction for the future? Is such conflict unavoidable? To what degree is reconciliation possible? It is to an analysis of these problems. And to an answer to these questions that I should like to direct your attention tonight. Let me begin by giving you a purely hypothetical and very fanciful situation. Imagine that somewhere in the world, there exists a civilization in which the people without hair that is the bald are looked down upon and rigidly set apart from everyone else by virtue of their distinguishing physical characteristic. If you can accept this fantasy for a moment, it is clear that at least two kinds of organizations would come into being dedicated to serve the interests of these unfortunate folk. First, I suggest that there would appear a group of non bald persons drawn together out of sympathy for the sorry condition of this rejected minority In short, a benevolent society with a charitable purpose and a protective role. At first, all of the members of this society would be volunteers doing the work on their free time and out of the goodness of their heart. Later, paid employees would be added who would earn their livelihood out of the work and who would gradually assume a position of dominance. This society would, I believe, have the field pretty much to itself for a rather long time. In the course of years, it would doubtless virtually eliminate cruel and unusual punishment of the ball, furnish them many services, and finally create enclaves and retreats within which the hairless might escape the embarrassing contact with normal society. And even find a measure of satisfaction and spiritual reward in the performance of simple tasks, not seriously competitive with the ordinary pursuits of the larger community. The consequence of this good work would, I’d venture to say, be a regular flow of contributions by the community and acceptance by the community of the charitable foundation as the authentic interpreter of the needs of those unfortunate and inarticulate souls afflicted with baldness,
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 11:30
and increasing veneration for the charitable foundation and a general endorsement of its principles and gradually, but irresistibly the growth of a humanitarian awareness that the balls suffer their condition through no fault of their own, and accordingly, they should be sponsored, protected, tolerated, and permitted to practice under suitable supervision and control of course, what what few uncomplicated trades patient training may reveal them able to perform.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 12:11
Eventually, a great number of charitable organizations would be established in the field of work for the ball. They are some of them would join together in a common Association, which might well be entitled the American Association for workers for the ball,
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 12:41
step by step upon the published proceedings of their annual meetings, carefully edited to eliminate the views of the outspoken bald, they would aspire to climb to professional status. As a part of their self Assigned Roles of interpreters and protectors of the bald. They are some of them would sooner or later undertake to lay down criteria and standards for all service programs for the bald to be a manual of guidance for those responsible for operating such programs. These then, would be the assumptions and the ends to which the charitable organizations for the ball would tirelessly and successfully exert themselves. They would petition the community through both public and private enterprise to support these purposes. And their appeals would dramatize them through a subtle invocation of the sympathetic and compassionate traits of human nature. Sooner or later, some of them in order to drive competitors out of business, it will be sad, or to garner favor with the public and to give color of legitimacy to their own methods. What issue what they would unabashedly call a code of fundraising ethics.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 14:08
All this presumably would take much time. But before too many generations had passed. I expect that most, if not all of these objectives would have come to fruition, and there would appear to be an end to the problems of the ball. Unfortunately, however, there seem always to be those who persist in questioning established institutions and revered tradition. And then my improbable fable. At some point well along in the story, there would appear a small band of irascible individuals, a little group of willful men bent on exposing and tearing down the whole laborious and impressive structure of humanitarianism and progress. Incredibly and ironically, these malcontents with emerged from the very ranks of the balls themselves.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 15:12
At first, I suspect that they would pass on heard and almost unnoticed, but eventually their numbers would increase in their discontent become too insistent to be easily ignored. What they would be saying as I make it out, would be something like this. Quote, you have said that we are different because we are ball and that is that this difference marks us as inferior. But we do not agree with certain biblical parable that possession of hair is an index of strength. Certainly not that it is a measure of either virtue or ability or into your prejudice and perhaps to your guilt because you do not like to look upon us. You have barred us from the normal affairs of the community, and shunned others aside, as if we were pariahs. But we carry no contagion and present no danger except as you define our condition as unclean and make up our physical defect the stigma in your misguided benevolence you have taken us off the streets and provided shelters, where we might avoid the peerless gaze of the non ball, and the embarrassment of their contact. But what we wish chiefly, is to be back on the streets with access to all the avenues of ordinary commerce and activity. We do not want your pity, since there is no need or occasion for it. And it is not we who suffer embarrassment and company with those whom we deem our fellows and are equal. You have been kind to us. And if we were animals, we should perhaps be content with that. But our road to hell has been paved with your good intentions.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 17:13
One of the leaders of the ball, probably a college professor, doubtless who would rise to say quote, we do not want compassion, we want understanding, we do not want tolerance, we want acceptance, we do not want charity, we want opportunity. We do not want dependency, we want independence and interdependence, you have given us much, but you have withheld more, you have withheld those values which we prize above all well, exactly as you do. Personal Liberty, dignity, privacy, opportunity, and most of all, equality. But if it is not in your power, or consistent with your premises, to see these things as our goals, be assured that it is within our power and consistent with ourselves knowledge to demand them and to press for their attainment.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 18:30
Or we know by heart experience what you do not know or have not wish to recognize that given the opportunity, we are your equal. And as a group, we are no better and no worse than you being in fact a random sample of yourselves. We are your doubles whether the yardstick be intellectual, or physical or psychological or occupational. Our goals in short, are the we wish to be liberated, not out of society, but into it. We covet independence, not in order to be distinct, but in order to be equal. We are aware that these goals like the humane objectives you have labored so long to accomplish will require much time and effort and wisdom to bring into being but the painful truth must be proclaimed. That your purposes are not our purposes. We do not share our cherished assumptions, your cherished assumptions of the nature of baldness, and will not endure the handicap which you have placed upon it.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 19:45
And so we have formed our own organization in order to speak for ourselves from the experience which we alone have known and can interpret. We bear no malice and seek no favors beyond the right and the opportunity to do Join society as equal partners and members in good standing of the great enterprise of our nation and our common cause. And the quotation and the fable. Is this fable simply a fanciful story? Or is it a parable? Some will say, I have no doubt that I have not presented the case of the blind, that there is no parallel and therefore no Powerball, for one thing, is not surely ridiculous to imagine that any civilized society could so boldly misinterpret the character of those who are not blessed with hair on their head. It may be, but civilized society has always so misinterpreted the character of those who lack sight in their eyes.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 21:14
On a basis of that misinterpretation, civilized society has created the handicap of blindness. You and I know that blind people are simply people who cannot see, society believes that they are people shoring up the capacity to live normal, useful, productive lives. And that belief has largely tended to make them so for another thing, did the fable accurately portray the attitudes of at least some of the agencies for the blind? Are their goals really so different from the goals of the blind themselves? Do they actually arrogate to themselves the rules of interpreter and protector, ascribing to their clients characteristics of abnormality and dependency? To answer these questions, and to demonstrate the bona fides of the parable, I shall let some agency leaders speak for themselves in the form of seven recent quotations quotation number one other the by an agency psychiatrist. Quote, all visible deformities require special study. blindness is a visible deformity. And all blind persons follow a pattern of dependency, close quote. That one hardly requires any elucidation to make its meaning plain. quotation number two, authored by the author of a well known volume upon the blind, for which the American Association of workers for the blind conferred upon him a well known award. Quote, with many persons, there was an expectation that in the establishment of the early schools, that the blind in general would thereby be rendered capable of running their own support. A view that even at the present is shared in some quarters. It would have been much better if such a hope had never been entertained, or if it had existed in a greatly modified form. A limited acquaintance of a practical nature with the blind as a whole and their capabilities, as usually been sufficient to demonstrate the weakness of this conception, close quote. That one also speaks adequately for itself. quotation number three, uttered by a well known blind agency head quote, after he is once trained and placed, the average disabled person can fend for himself. In the case of the blind, however, it has been found necessary to set up a special State service agency, which will supply them not only rehabilitation training, but other services for the rest of their lives. The agencies keep in constant contact with them as long as they live, close quote. So the blind are unique among the handicapped in that no matter how well adjusted, trained and placed, they require lifelong supervision by the agencies. quotation number four, authored by another well known blind agency head, quote, the operation of the vending Stan program, we feel necessitates maintaining a close control by the federal government through the licensing agency with respect to both the equipment and stock as well as the actual supervision of the operation of each individual stand. It is therefore our belief that the program would fail. If the blind Stan managers were permitted to operate without control, close quote. This is, of course, just the specific application of the general doctrine of the incompetence of the blind expressed in the previous quotation. Blind businessmen are incapable of operating an independent business, the agencies must supervise and control the stock the equipment and the business operation itself.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 25:49
quotation number five, first sentence of the code of ethics so called of the American Association of workers for the blind, quote, the operations of all agencies for the blind, in tail a a high degree of responsibility, because of the element of public trusteeship, and protection of the blind, involved in services to the blind, close quote. The use of the word protection makes it plain that the trusteeship here referred to is of the same kind as that existing under the United Nations trusteeship Council, that is, custody and control of underprivileged backward and dependent peoples. quotation number six, honored by still another blind agency had, quote, to dance and sing to play an Act to swim ball and roller skate, to work creatively in clay, wood, aluminum or tin, to make dresses to join in group readings or discussions, to have entertainments and parties to engage in many other activities of one’s choice. This is to fill the life of anyone with the things that make life worth living, close quote. Are these the things that make life worth living for you? The benevolent keeper of an asylum is the only man who could have made this remark.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 27:30
Only a person who views blindness as a tragedy, which can be somewhat mitigated by little touches of kindness and service to help pass the idle hours, but which cannot be overcome. Some of these things may be suitable accessories to a life well filled with other things with Branson’s home a job and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. quotation number seven. And this will top all the others uttered by still another head of a blind agency, quote, a job a home and the right to be a citizen. A job a home and the right to be a citizen, will come to the blind in that generation. When each and every blind person is a living advertisement of his ability and capacity to accept the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Then we professional will have no problem of interpretation, because the blind will no longer need us to speak for them. And we, like primitive segregation will die away as an instrument which society will include only in its historical record, close quote, a job a home and the right to be a citizen, are not now either the possessions or the rights of the blind. They will only come to the blind in a future generation a generation Moreover, which will never come to the sighted since it is one in which each and every blind person will live up to some golden rule far beyond the human potential. And that never to be expected age, the leaders of the agencies for the blind will no longer discharge their present function of interpretation, because the blind will then be able to speak for themselves. Whatever else can be said about these quotations, no one can say that the agency leaders lack candor.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 29:53
They have stated their views with the utmost explicit them. Moreover, these are not isolated instances of a disappearing attitude, a best digital remainder of a forgotten era. Such expressions are not confined to those here quoted, many other statements of the same force and character could be produced. And the evidence that the deed has been suited to the word is abundant at long last, we now know that we must finally lay at rest the pious platitudes and the hopeful conjecture that the blind themselves and the agencies for the blind are really all working towards the same objectives and differ only as a means for achieving them.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 30:48
I Would that it were so we are not in agreement as to objectives. Although it must also be said that we frequently disagree as to means the frankly of our purposes and the practices of the agencies tend in the direction of continued segregation along vocational and other lines of blind would move vigorously in the direction of increasing integration of orienting counseling and training the blind towards competitive occupations and placing them there in toward a job, a home and a normal community activity and relationship. The agencies by their words and their acts, tend to sanctify and reinforce those semi conscious stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes, which have always plagued the condition of the physically disabled and the socially deprived. We buy our words and acts would weaken these attitudes and gradually block them out altogether. Their statements assert and their operations presuppose a need for continuous hovering surveillance of the sightless in recreation and occupation in congregation, virtually from cradle to grave. we deny that any such need exists, and refuse the premise of necessary dependency and incompetence on which it is based. Their philosophy derives from and still reflects the philanthropic outlook and ethical uplift of those friendly visitors of a previous century, who self appointed mission was to guide their less fortunate neighbors to personal salvation. through a combination of material charity and moral edification. We believe that the problems of the blind are at least as much social as personal, and that a broad frontal attack on public misconceptions and existing program arrangements for the blind, is best calculated to achieve desirable results. We believe, moreover, that it is worthwhile inquiring into the rationale of any activity, which takes as its psychological premise, the double Bell dogma that those derived deprive the side also deprived of judgment and common sense and that therefore, what they need above all else, is to be adjusted to their inferior station through the Why is administration’s of an elite core of neurosis free custodians.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 33:39
The agency leaders say and apparently believe that the blind or not are not entitled to the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship, or to full membership in society be token by such attributes of normal life, as a home and a job. This can only be predicated on the proposition that the blind are not only abnormal and inferior, but that they are so abnormal and inferior that they are not even person. We believe that blind people are precisely as normal as other people are being in fact, they cross section of the rest of the community in every respect, except that they cannot see. But when it’s not so, their abnormality could not strip them of their existence as persons. The Constitution of the United States declares that all persons born in the United States are naturalized are citizens. There is nothing in the constitution or in the glossary on it, which I have ever been able to find which says that this section shall not apply to persons who are blind.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 34:59
If they Born in the United States are naturalized whether before or after blindness. Apparently, blind persons are citizens of the United States now and are now not merely in some future generation possessed have the right to be citizens and share the privileges immunities and responsibilities of that status. Moreover, the bounty of the Constitution extends to all persons, whether citizens or not, rights to freedom, equality and individuality, as citizen fan or as person who happened to be deprived of one of their physical senses. We claim under the broad protection of the Constitution, a right to life, personal freedom, personal security, right to marry and rare children to maintain a home. And the right so far as government can assure to that fair opportunity to earn a livelihood, which will make these other rights possible insignificant. We have the right freely to choose our fields of endeavor unhindered by arbitrary artificial or manmade impediments. All limitations on our opportunity, all restrictions on US based on irrelevant considerations of physical disability, are in conflict with our constitutional right of equality and must be removed. Our access to the main streams of community life, aspirations and achievements of each of us are to be limited only by the skills, energy, talents and abilities we individually bring to the opportunities equally open to all Americans. Finally, we claim as our birthright as our constitutional guarantee, and as our in the best and as an investable aspect of our nature, the fundamental human right of self expression, the right to speak for ourselves, individually and collectively. Am separably inseparably connected with this right is the right of common Association.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 37:43
The principle of self organization means self guidance and self control. You say that the blind can should and do lead the blind is only to say that they are their own counselors that they stand on their own feet, in the control of their own lives, and the responsibility for their own programs, and the organized and consistent pursuit of objectives of their own choosing. And these alone lies the hope of the blind for economic independence, social integration, and emotional security. You may think that what I have said so far exaggerates the error and the danger to be expected from those whose only interest is to serve the welfare of the blind. I think it is not, no one could add. It is true for any more conscientious and devoted public servants than those who serve in the rank and file of the agencies for the blind, public and private. The leaders of many agencies to must be given commendation for enlightened policies and worthwhile program. We have heard some of those agency leaders yesterday at our convention, we’ll hear some more before I convention is over. No one can doubt either, that the agency is when so man then so lad, may be of immense and constructive assistance in a multitude of ways during the onward movement of the blind into full membership in society.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 39:26
As to some of the agencies not headed by leaders of the character just described. Credit, I am told must be given for sincerity and good intention. This however, but serves to raise the question whether in social terms, sincere and upright, folly is better or worse than knavery. This discussion I forbear to ampere what should the posture of the National Federation of the Blind be Amidst these attacks and struggle, as the possessors of power, we must exercise it responsibly impersonally and with self restraint as a people’s movement, we cannot allow others to deflect us from our course. We must apply our power and influence to achieve our legitimate goal. Do this and we must all exert ourselves to the absolute utmost.
Dr. Jacobus tenBroek 40:42
Our opponents have history and outmoded concepts on their side, we have democracy and the future on our for the sake of those who are now blind, and for those who who are after will be blind, and for the sake of society itself, we cannot fail. If the National Federation of the Blind continues to be representative in its character, democratic in its procedures, open in its purposes, and loyal in its commitment. so long that is, as the face of the blind does not become blind faith, we have nothing to fear no cause for apology and only achievement to look forward to. We may we may carry our program to the public with confidence and conviction, choosing the means of our expression with proper care but without calculation, and appearing before the jury of all our peers, not as salesman, but as spokesman, not as hucksters. But as petitioners for simple justice, and the redress of unmerited grievances, we will have no need to substitute the advertisement for the article itself, nor to prefer a dramatic act to an undramatic fact, if this is group pressure, it is group pressure in the right direction. If this involves playing politics, it is a game as old as democracy with the stakes as high as human aspiration. In the in the 16th century, john Bradford made a famous remark, which has ever since been held up to us as a model of Christian humility and correct charity. And what you saw reflected in the agency quotations I have presented seeing a beggar in his rags groping along a wall through a flash of lightning and a stormy night, Bradford set but for the grace of God, there go I compassion was shown. Pity was shown charity was shown humility was shown, or was even an acknowledgment that the relative positions of the two persons could and might have been switched. Yet despite the compassion despite the pity, despite the charity despite the humility, how insufferably arrogant there was still an unbridgeable gulf between Bradford and the beggar. They were not one but two, whatever it might have been, Bradford taught himself Bradford and the beggar a beggar one high, the other low one why’s, the other misguided, one strong the other week, one virtuous the other day prayer, we do not, and we cannot take the Bradford approach. It is not just that beggary is the badge of our past, and is still all too often the presence symbol of social attitudes towards us, although it must be admitted that that is at least part of it. But in the broader sense, we are that beggar and he is each of us. We are made in the same image. And out of the same ingredients. We have the same weaknesses and strengths, the same feeling, emotions and drive. And we are the product of the same social, economic and other environmental forces. How much more consistent with the facts of individual and social life are much more a part of a true humanity to say instead they’re within the grace of God.
Michael Hingson 44:51
i think that it would be fair to say that any civil rights organization or any kind of social action organization is started by some One with a vision of visionary. Dr. tenBroek, certainly in the case of blind people was a visionary in so many ways, he set the tone not only for the organization, but for an emerging philosophy about blindness, and an emerging desire on the part of many blind people to be more and be allowed to be more than they were. I think that Dr. tenBroek’s speech, as I said earlier, sets the cornerstone for that philosophy. blindness isn’t the problem. The problem is our own perceptions of what blind people are, what blind people can do, and what blind people will themselves do. It isn’t all just up to sighted people to say, well, we really do buy into the fact that blindness is not a really severe disability in the sense of, of not allowing you to do what you want. But blind people have to buy into that as well. And many people do. It’s a process however, we need to include blind and other persons with disabilities in the conversation, and we need to raise the level of the conversation, not only intellectually, but we need to internalize it in our own minds, and really accept the fact that there are people in this world who are different than we are, and that there is no reason to be afraid of them no matter what the reason for their difference. I hope you enjoyed the speech. We’ll do some others from the National Federation of the Blind and other kinds of presentations as this podcast series go along. I hope that you liked it, as I said, and that you’ll come back again next week and in the future for unstoppable mindset.
Michael Hingson 46:56
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