Moderated Re: Working with people at disability help desk

Leedy Diane Bomar

The message appearing at the end is, no doubt, a careless mistake on my part. I am usually very careful about that, but somehow it has happened twice, lately.

As far as the white on white, I had no clue how to do that, and hope that I have rectified that problem. I hope that you will let me know.

Though, I must say, considering the topic and your status as a sighted user, I possibly would have done that on purpose, if I had known how. Ironic, isn't it? I had no problem reading it, and anyone using speech or braille output would not have had a problem. But, you, a light and contrast dependent person, had to do the kind of calisthenics we go through each day at many times!

What if you had to have a blind person read it for you? If you didn't know about accessibility, and only a blind person could read it, you would have been up a creek without a blind 24/7 companion.

So, I apologize for that weirdness, and promise you that I did not do it on purpose, but, I have learned a lot of information because of the problem. I swear that I did not do anything with my keyboard or touch screen, that should have caused that problem. But, I have grimlins in my house with a wicked sense of humor!

I called Apple, talked to a sighted accessibility specialist who insisted that what happened was impossible. She wouldn't believe it until we did a screen sharing session, and she could SEE it herself. So typical, seeing is believing, after all. Though I add to that that "vision is deceiving". She had to put me on hold for a long time to find out how that was possible, then insisted that I had to have gone into the text formatting section and changed the color. I did not do that. To make it more weird, email I typed, while she was watching my screen, came out fine! My text formatting color was set to white, and my screen was black, even when checking the screen appearance under settings.

I think that most people are missing the point of my complaint, which has nothing to do with expecting a sighted tech support person to know how a blind person uses computers. It is strictly the assumption that there must be a sighted person available to whom they can speak, without even trying to explain how to do something. This applies to pushing buttons on my Roomba, a setting on a router, using a blender with many buttons, etc. I expect tech support to have people that have been trained in all aspects of their product's capabilities, even if it means transferring the customer to someone with specialty knowledge.

Please don't lecture me on capitalistic principles. It is condescending of you to do that. I am not a stupid child, with no education or understanding of economics. The point is that a niche market is a narrow-minded approach, as all families have someone with some type of "disability". In addition, all of us are a nanosecond away of contracting a disabling condition. The point is that full inclusion is a societal issue, and is much less expensive to provide in a design than having to rewrite, renovate, or kluge a solution. Far too long, have I heard that argument, which says "we are allowing you to be here, but don't expect equality." If you want to distract by calling it "a chip on my shoulder" that is your prerogative, but does not diminish the reality of the issue. Because I am not a typical blind person that readily accepts my lot in society, that accepts that I must have sighted assistance, that I am less important than anyone else, is not a part of my mentality. We have to have goals, and, though, I don't expect the equality and full inclusion to happen in my lifetime, I will do everything I can to advocate for that eventuality. As a child, I owned very few books that I could read, now I have access to more than I could read in several lifetimes! Could I have expected that, but, did I dream and want it, YES! If I and others had accepted that the immediate access to information was reserved solely for people with sight, we would not be included, now.

 Diane Bomar

On Mar 6, 2021, at 20:47, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:


Something weird is going on with your email.  This last message on-group, like your private message to me, is not only bottom posted beneath the quotation of multiple messages, but is in white text on white background.  I doubt very much that either is by intent.

This is likely far less an issue to a screen reader user, since a screen reader cares not one whit about foreground and background colors, but since I know we have a couple of regulars who are visually impaired, rather than totally blind, I am going to quote what you had in your last message directly below:

When speech output was relatively new, I worked as a systems analyst at a local utility company. The VP of that department, I suspect hired me just for the excuse of buying a talking IBM terminal. I was expected to be prepared, without notice, to make it read the pledge of allegiance to anyone he brought to my office. They did not like it as much if I turned off the screen.


We must educate society, and insist on full inclusion. What really gets to me is the seeming assumption that I have to have a sighted person readily available, and that if that is the case I would not have already asked for their assistance if eyes would solve the problem. I need to know how to solve issues, by myself, for future problems of that nature.


Amazon Kindle tech support should know, for instance, how one turns speech output on/off. Two years ago, they insisted that I had to have "sighted assistance" which, of course, is untrue. I went round and round with them for over an hour before figuring it out for myself.

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