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Monday, April 11, 2011

Purple Feather: Offensive in the Extreme



I am stunned by the embedded video produced by Purple Feather, a UK based company. Stunned. Shocked. Offended. Take your pick all would describe my reaction. I rarely post anything about disability rights outside of the United States. I stick with matters as they pertain to the United States because disability is perceived differently in other countries. Sure I am familiar with issues abroad, especially as they relate to Canada and the U.K., but I prefer to keep a focus on this country. We clearly have enough problems of our own. Yet I do from time to time comment about issues abroad. When I do so it is because i have a very strong reaction to a gross injustice that has taken place. The embedded video fits into this category.

I know nothing about the company Purple Feather, an online content specialist. This company writes online and offline content for websites, magazines, books, newsletters, marketing campaigns etc. I suppose they are good at what they do. Portraying people with a disability in a negative way is something i have railed against in the past. It is nothing new. This video however sets an all time new low. While I rail against ads that portray people who use a wheelchair as dependent, this video takes it even further. No pretense is made about the fact a blind man is begging. Ho hum, an every day event I suppose. Shockingly, from an international perspective it is common--the most common world wide "job" for a person with a disability according the the UN is begging. This man is dehumanized in the extreme. The poor bastard cannot not even write a sign worthy of a beggar. This is left to an able bodied woman. You know those all powerful people that can walk, hear, and see. No thought, none, is given to why people with a disability may be forced onto the street to beg. No thought is given to how a blind person can do the ordinary--you know like enjoy a beautiful sunny day. If you are blind you could not appreciate such a day. If you are blind you are reduced to begging on the street. If you are blind you are helpless, dependent upon others. Enter soaring music and pulling at the heart strings of people that know nothing about disability. Judging by the comments posted on You Tube the vast majority of people that saw the video loved it. Yes, it was "moving", "inspirational", "touching" etc.And how many people saw this so called "moving" video. Almost one million! Of those that took the time to press "like" they numbered a staggering 6,621. People such as myself that pressed "dislike" numbered a meager 67. Now I try to ignore comments such as like versus dislike but this made my blood pressure soar! Worse yet, I think it represents the depth of knowledge people have about disability. Here I would put that knowledge close to nil. I do not think people are stupid but rather uneducated. We simply choose not to teach people about disability. We choose not to think disability rights and civil rights are comparable. We choose not to include memoirs written by people with a disability in secondary school curriculums. We do not have disability studies department at every major university. We choose to ignore the ADA whenever possible in the USA. We choose not to employ people with a disability. We choose to provide sub standard education for people with a disability. It is no wonder we rarely see those pesky people with a disability out in public. When we do see them what do we expect to see? According to this film, on the street begging with a shitty sign. But despair not! A good hearted woman will edit that sign and her fellow exemplars of civilization will drop a few coins in the man's tin jar. Is this 1911 or 2011?

Okay, it is obvious I am mad--very mad. And to borrow the classic film line "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!" Here is what I want readers to do. Send Purple Feather a very angry email. Go to You Tube and mark this film as offensive content. I for one am offended. This is what I did and I swear if this was a US based company I would call up the CEO and complain vociferously.

78 comments:

Ruth Madison said...

I hate feeling silenced by things like this! You speak against it and your displeasure reaches just your own audience. As you point out, the numbers on the video are much more positive than negative.

How are all those uneducated people ever going to understand why this is so, so wrong?

Sometimes...a lot of times...it feels like no one is listening. That most AB people have no desire to learn, happy to just feel good about themselves for tossing a quarter at someone.

Ruth Madison said...

I went and rated it as offensive and suggested that if people want to know why anyone would dislike it, they should read this post. Hope it helps... :(

william Peace said...

Ruth, Yes, I am reaching an audience that is already informed. This is a huge problem. I would like to think that if all people with a disability asserted their civil rights along with their friends and loved ones the world would be a better place. This just does not happen. Glad you too rated the film offensive. I would hope organizations associated with blindness would condemn the film as well.

Feisty Kitten said...

I flagged it before I even read your post. Its disgusting, and it infuriates me. I can't believe how ignorant people are, and how accepting they seem to be of the idea that there is nothing wrong with a blind man begging on the street. To them, it seems perfectly acceptable. Of the blind people I know, not a single ONE of them is a beggar. In fact, they're college educated and live extremely active, vibrant lives. I think the makers of this video need a serious crash course in discrimination and essentially what is a hate video.

Becs said...

I made my first visit to London in 1974. I was on the tube and an elderly man pushed over to me and showed me a sign that he was disabled in the war. (Assumed WWII.)

I later found out that one of the "benefits" disabled soldiers received in Britain was having exclusive rights to beg on public transportation.

Yeah, that's inspiring, too.

Ruth Madison said...

I don't understand why people won't learn about this stuff!

Disability rights is relevant to every single person on the planet.

I try to tell people, learn about it now so that if you ever are in a position where you or someone you love becomes disabled, you won't be starting from scratch with no idea of what life will look like.

No one seems to care, though.

william Peace said...

Ruth, I have been thinking about disability since I was 18 years old. Why people are resistant to learning remains a mystery to me. I have many theories as to why but none satisfy me. It is as you point out in everyone's best interest.

The Untoward Lady said...

Oh look! Insult on top of injury: It's not captioned!

Adelaide Dupont said...

William, you said:

"Shockingly, from an international perspective it is common--the most common world wide "job" for a person with a disability according the the UN is begging."

Yes.

And it seems to exclude almost nobody. On the other hand, poverty is disabling.

Have read and thought so much about begging, from Paul Aterios to Harlan Lane quoting a Deaf teacher who discouraged his students from putting up a sign, and also Leah Hagen Cohen, who talked about the "finger alphabet" cards which people used to carry.

It would be well to write to the director and to the company. A personal letter. And to the members of the creative team.

"From one creative to another, please consider..."

"We choose not to think disability rights and civil rights are comparable. We choose not to include memoirs written by people with a disability in secondary school curriculums. We do not have disability studies department at every major university. We choose to ignore the ADA whenever possible in the USA. We choose not to employ people with a disability. We choose to provide sub standard education for people with a disability. It is no wonder we rarely see those pesky people with a disability out in public."

It would be good to make a counter-ad with those words and the tagline: "Is it 1911 or 2011?"

Cait the Wild Guitar said...

Well, after becoming apoplectic with rage, I told my boss at the Wild Guitar Company how offensive that ad is, and that we should boycott this company immediately. I made sure that I added them to our boycott list, so they'll never see a cent from us! My boss was was also quite offended after I briefed him on the matter, & he's going to tell people he knows to boycott them. I'm in the process of telling everyone I know to boycott them, & I have friends in London! I also recommended to my boss that he tell marketing & PR to write this company a snarky note explaining why they've lost any hope of doing business with us.
My friends who are blind are competent, successful professionals. One of them is a computer programmer & software designer, & the other is one of my professors at the University of Iowa, who's a full professor & a famous writer.
I'll bet Prof. Kuusisto is having a herd about this ad at this very moment. People at the U of Iowa are always protesting stuff; it shouldn't be that hard to get a protest going & get students to boycott them. Bill, you & I should talk to Prof. Kuusisto & see if we can get him to give a speech on this issue- I'll bet we could get a few hundred people to protest, especially now that the weather's nice. We'd probably get some coverage from the Daily Iowan as well. We could really focus a lot of attention on issues faced by people with disabilities and bring awareness of those issues to the student body, and then many more students could become interested in disability studies, which has been a fascinating eye-opener for me. I'm sure many other students would feel the same way if they could hear someone as eloquent & charismatic as Prof. Kuusisto leading a protest. Now that would get people's attention.

Rachel said...

Hi Bill,

I read your piece some time ago, and I agreed with it completely. Today, I found occasion to come back to it. My husband was sent a link to the video from a friend, who considers himself quite progressive, and who felt that it was very beautiful and moving. My husband forwarded it to me and said, "another example of the 'typical world' taking charge of a non-typical person's attempt to self-advocate."

Indeed.

I sent back a link to your post to the person who had thought the video was so great. Hopefully, it will make some difference. In any case, I want you to know that, in this case at least, your words are extending somewhat beyond those of us who already get it.

tarmanntarmann said...

hi . i am not disabled, and i'd like to agree that the video is offensive, certainly in the way you point out, but also that it comes from an ad agency, who have successfully used the "touching" story to promote their own business. asymmetrical marketing? something like that. the nice yuppie woman, not disabled, uses her
marketing expertise to increase the clueless blind guy's
begging income. oh what a nice parable. HELLO WORLD. AN AD agency made this! it's an ad for an ad agency showing an advertising person as the heroine of the story. jeezus, get a clue the rest of you that were so touched by this heartwarming scam.

mduboulay said...

Thank you so much for what you wrote about this, you summed up my feelings 100%!!! It is so hurtful that AB culture has absolutely NO CLUE what is offensive to us, and then has the gull to get angry at people with disabilities for feeling offended about OUR oppression!! Because they don't get it, that's our problem. I'd love a sad-music video about how we are stereotyped and marginalized by society, daily - and often for their own personal gain (ie, advertising). Now THAT would be okay ;) Keep up the great blogging; reading this helped lower my blood pressure over lunch and allowed me to regain my appitite :) Thank you again.

dskohli said...

The comments here are all very interesting. However, the reality is that in many instances, handicapped people have no option but to beg.

If they have no choice about begging, is it better to rail against the injustice that forces them to beg, or to help them improve their return on begging? Is what the lady in the video did not better than either ignoring the blind man, or just tossing him another coin?

Feisty Kitten said...

You're obviously ignorant. The majority of the homeless have mental conditions. NOT physical. We have lives, fairly normal ones at that. Why would we beg? The government helps substitute income we are not capable of earning, and some of us work even still. Know what you're talking about before you speak.

Krystal Sundstrom said...

FYI, this video was actually a rip-off of a short film that won the 2008 Cannes Short Story Award, for what it's worth.

More info here: http://dannybrown.me/2011/04/16/immitation-or-inspiration/

Elizabeth said...

dskohli, you're as ignorant as you are offensive. The majority of the homeless and the destitute in this country have MENTAL illness. Not physical disabilities. Know what you're talking about before you speak so stupidly.

william Peace said...

dskohli, As others have pointed out the vast majority of homeless people in urban areas that beg have some form of mental illness. Sadly, the most common job for people with a disability world wide is indeed begging. This is degrading at every level. I cannot justify this in any way shape or form.

Malby said...

Hi, as I did some research on the PurpleFeather video I came across this blog. I notice that there’s a lot of emotion being expressed and I’m genuinely trying to work out exactly what’s driving it. Please don’t get angry at me. I’m just perplexed. Here are some questions that I have:

Is it required that all fictional narrative represent the disadvantaged in such a way that their weakness is compensated for?

Is it wrong to portray any crippled or disadvantaged person having kindness shown to them in a way where their disempowerment is exposed / highlighted?

If the answer is yes to the above, then must all authors work with uniformly gifted characters?

Certainly it was wrong to rip off the idea from Alonso Alvarez Barreda of Wama Films.

Fathi Ben Daly said...

To all those who went against this video: in my country (Tunisia) , if you are blind, you often have to beg and still live in misery. This video moved me. I am educated and I believe there is nothing wrong to show the world that the way you communicate affects deeply your life. It is true that Purple Feather did this video to promote its business. So what? Nothing wrong; at all.

Jaahda Jinnah said...

I wish they'd make a public retraction via n original, purlefeather concieved message that also goes viral!!!
I too noted how few ppl pressed that dislike button.
i came across ur blog via google research looking for criticisms of their extremely offensive ad.

Jaahda Jinnah said...

PS - why don't ppl email here hello@purplefeather.co.uk to demonstrate their disdain?
perhaps some 'form designed protest email' could be comprised and linked also here?
their ad, to my mind represents the worst form of capitalism.

PS - have u had any apology/acknowledgement etc regarding the offensiveness of this ad from purplefeather?

Jaahda Jinnah said...

i've started a Facebook Page called "Purplefeather Advertising should Apologise'.
May I invivte you's all over there to contribute and join me in signing the petition.
https://www.facebook.com/PurpleFeatherAdvertisingShouldApologise
Cheers

william Peace said...

Jaahda, I sent the company an email as did many I know. They did not have the courtesy to respond.

Truth Caustic said...

I'll respond. You are an insensitive idiot, pretending to be sensitive.

william Peace said...

Truth Caustic, Calling me an "insensitive idiot" does not exactly add much to the discussion. What do you base your assessment on? More specifically, do you work for the company Purple Feather or are you expressing your own opinion? I cannot imagine how any reasonable person can conclude the short film is anything other than offensive.

Hannah Thompson said...

I think this is a great blog post (and blog generally). I've also written a post on this video. You can read it here:
http://hannah-thompson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/offensive-portrayal-of-blind-goes-viral.html

I've given you a little shout-out at the end!

william Peace said...

Hannah, What a great post about the video. Loved your mention of undermining autonomy. I spent some time reading your blog. Was very impressed. I especially liked what you wrote about the paralympics. Thanks for your kind words.

Scott Miller said...

Are you aware of what people with a disability have to live on. It's not much. As a matter of fact, I am a person who has AIDS, liver and kidney failure and have had my spine surgically corrected 4 times. I don't know this mans whole story, but if he has to sit on the sidewalk and ask for money than it must be for a good reason. Until you know anything about anyone who has to ask for help, I suggest you volunteer with the physically challenged. Learn about their life. See how they struggle to make ends meet. You referring to him as a "poor bastard" says a lot about you. Referring to ANYONE as a BEGGAR is just disgusting. "The most common job for a person with a disability is begging (according to the UN). You have to be out of your fucking mind. I wish for you that you are incapacitated for the rest of your life (hit by a car, burned in a fire, shot in the spine or since you mentioned that this made your blood pressure soar, perhaps a stroke) and then I'd love to see you begging on the street. I'd give you money and a very long speech on KARMA. Good luck to you. I hope you get that heart transplant that you desperately need. You're not a fucking idiot. You are cruel. You wouldn't give him money, or a sandwich or anything else. You'd probably spit on him out of disgust. When you actually learn what it's like to live with a disability then you should comment on these types of videos. Until that time. you should keep your thoughts to yourself. p.s. What if you had a child that was born disabled. Would you still be as ignorant?

william Peace said...

Scott, I am sorry my post made you so furious. I am not sure how to respond. The point I tried to make was the portrayal of this man who is blind in the video reinforced stereotypes about people with a disability. I referred to him as a "poor bastard" because that is what the video makers wanted you to feel. If you had read posts I put up in the Fall of 2010 you would know that I was forced to ask for help-lots of help. You should also know I have been paralyzed for 35+ years and have spent much of my time defending the rights of all people with a disability. Given this I know all too well what people with a disability live on. I am indeed disgusted. I am disgusted any human being would be forced to beg. I am disgusted people needlessly suffer. I am sorry that you have such rage and totally misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I am also shocked by your misplaced animosity. I wish you nothing but the best and hope your health improves.

Erin Salguero said...

I have traveled to some of the poorest countries and I can tell you that begging is all people with disabilities have left when they do not have family support. Mental or physical disabilities it is the same. It is not a stereotype. It is an injustice that plays out daily in our world.

There are many countries who do not have unemployment or sickness benefits and education and services are not easily obtained so they are forced to beg in the streets to survive. I have photographed this in Mexico. IT was heartbreaking.

My husbands family were angered at my photos and said I went looking for these pictures to paint a negative image of their country and where did I find all these people. I explained they were all in the center of the city. On every corner and church steps. Every bus stop. It highlighted that as humans we have become numb to the needs of others and the immediate world around us.

Countries like Mexico, India etc have huge populations and if you have a disability then you are unemployable. In Mexico children of poor families are left selling candies and washing car windows at traffic lights instead of being in school getting an education.

We are lucky to live in developed societies where everyone is afforded the same rights to education and employment. That our governments provide funding and support.

Even though this is an advertisement for their business, if it brings some compassion and humanity to people and make them more aware of the plight of people in our world then that is a good thing. We need more positive messages. People helping people. Acts of kindness. There is enough angry rants and abuse going on in this world. There are enough people suffering.

william Peace said...

Erin, I truly wish I could take exception to your comment. In many nations, not just Third World countries, begging is indeed the only option for people with a disability. You discussed Mexico but could easily have written about Japan. I am not surprised your family reacted with anger. Too many people do not want to acknowledge the gross social inequities associated with disability. To be forced to beg on the streets is a shocking social failure.

Julie Hutchinson said...

When I started watching the video I was wondering what the good Samaritan was going to do. I thought the good Samaritan was going to pick the guy up off the cold shitty pavement and take him to lunch.
I wasn't surprised the video was generated by someone selling something.

william Peace said...

Julie, It amazes me how this video keeps being viewed and praised. I dislike corporate America. Instead of giving to disability charities why not hire a person with a disability.

Randy Martnez said...

Well, again we see that any one for any reason will have something to say about anything. WHO CARES!!!! if you don't like it then don't watch it! This is an exact reason our country is the way it is. Everyone has a RIGHT to an opinion. Just like everyone has a right to freedom of speech. So like I am expressing myself now, and you by writing your opinion. Oh wait, i have an idea, if they cannot make the video, then you should have no right to comment about it. It is far easier to hold a flash light than a mirror!!! How about spend a little time worrying about YOU and let people be them. You obviously have a following of your like minded group, as with the people who actually thought it was a great video clip. Sure I can see what your issues are, but cant you find something better to do that can help make your day go better??? I think that was the point of the video. It might not be for everyone but leave it at that!!!
GET A LIFE!

william Peace said...

Randy, I have a life thank you very much. I bet you have a life as well. Part of my life, an important part of it, is pointing out deeply ingrained cultural bias against people with a disability. I so doing, I seek to undermine the bigotry and ignorance people with a disability routinely encounter. I for one think this goal is worthy of my time and effort. I have not checked recently but the vast majority of people think the video is moving. To me this highlights disability based bigotry abounds. Next time you are out and about I suggest you consider how a paralyzed man navigates a world designed for bipedal people.

jajjaaj said...

Offended by the video? Pissed off that a blind man is begging? Calling people ignorant because why??? What do you expect people to do in real life? If they see a homeless or disabled person, do you want others to give the man a roof over his head? Provide 3 square meals a day? Take the time to check their subsidies to see if they are getting all they can? Just what would you like someone to do? In this video, the woman was creative and increased his income by changing his sign. Fact of the matter is, would you have done any of those things for someone on the street? I highly doubt it. Don't talk to me about disabilities, I understand the challenges as our family has several members with severe disabilities. What is offensive is that you titled your rant "Bad Cripple", as well, called the blind man a "poor bastard". Yes, those are extremely offensive, and you call others "ignorant"? Chiding and criticizing people for what little they do, or the way they create awareness, or how they produce an AD, to say the least, creates a divide. Your words could actually cause others to refrain from doing or saying anything to be helpful for fear of possibly 'offending' someone. But hey, don't take my word for it, just keep doing what you do and keep using deplorable terms like bastard and cripple. That, I find, is far more despicable than the AD.

william Peace said...

Jajjaaj, I thought about deleting your comment as I haven idea how to reply to your diatribe. Let me try to respond: I called the man a "poor bastard" because the man was begging. To be an effective beggar one needs to be pitied. That is why people give to beggars. The woman reinforces the power structure where people without a disability get to decide on the fate of those with disabilities. You seem to accept the charity model of disability without question. I use the term bad cripple to get people to stop and think. I am bad because I assert my human rights.

Distilled1 said...

you are the problem with the world you are fighting a war that isn't there ! I don't see it as offensive it has nothing to do with disabled people having to beg .. FFS its about changing your words, to make the world a better place!!!!! you divide and put them against us ! I have a disability this AD was great IMHO has nothing to do with Disabilities but with changing your outlook, get off your PC horse PC killed the USA !

william Peace said...

Distilled, I am puzzled by your comment. A war does not exist? I was unaware I was at war. I advocate for my civil rights and the civil rights of all people with a disability. I do not get how this relates to political correctness. Far more is involved than changing mere words. This is a power play. The all power normates to use Rose Marie-Garlends awkward phrase asserting their power. Would the woman in question change the words of a beggar that was not blind? Not a chance. I also did not in any way suggest an us versus them. In fact without the social support of people who do not have a disability the disability right movement will not progress. Finally, the best outlook in the world will never negate disability based discrimination. The only reason ramps, elevators, and a multitude of changes toward inclusion exist was because they were fought for. If this is war to you I guess I am indeed in a battle for equality.

yuliya zabiyaka said...

William, thank you for educating me. I, to my shame, thought of this video as moving until I read your post. This is indeed disgusting. Can't believe I fell for cheezy music and completely ignored propagating and enforcing stereotypes, humiliation and insensitivity. I am sorry. And thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I also questioned how helpful a few coins could be. In this year of 2013, we need to give lots of money, probably 5$ and 10$.
Also, I the new message struck me as being stupid.
What does this video teach us? That expressing myself differently with different grammar and well put together sentences, or with some happy message and a smiley face, can get me more attention and more empathy, apparently than if I were to simply say please help me.
Wow what a 'message'.
I cant see the beautiful day, because I am blind. What is this, but just a 'hook', a well written, attention grabbing, different message, which goes to show how shallow people are that they cannot concern themselves with a homeless man unless he first writes something we can empathize with!! oh the humanity of it all.

william Peace said...

Yuliya, No need for thanks. Unlike many who left a negative or nasty comment, you took the intellectual leap in logic and saw the demeaning message inherent in the video. I am thrilled you took the time to write.
Anonymous, The line its a beautiful day and I cannot see it is grossly misleading. I know I like to feel a beautiful day and often close my eyes and look up. I enjoy the feel of the day. Sight is not necessary. Emotionally misleading pity mongering.

Mira said...

I am legally blind, and have been for 30 years.
Whether some people like it or not, this video does portray what a lot of blind people worldwide must do in order to make ends meet.
If you find this video offensive, then perhaps you should stop watching it.
Better yet, perhaps you should turn your outrage to those companies who refuse to hire blind people because they don't want to pay for the 'adaptive' equipment that the blind person will need in order to do his/her job, or because they don't want to put their staff through 'sensitivity' training so they will learn how to be empathetic towards the blind employee, or because they think that the blind person will be a liability, or because they don't think the legally blind person who has partial vision isn't really blind and is, therefore, faking it and does no deserve 'special' treatment.
And then go after the Governments who refuse to give blind people a decent Disability pension because they were not blinded on the job, or have a spouse that 'makes too much money'.
Yes, I have experienced all of that, and more. And, believe me, their excuses and justifications go on and on and become progressively more outrageous, bigoted and ridiculous.
Go after *those* people and demand apologies from *them*, and leave this video and its creators alone.

william Peace said...

Mira, I have actively done what you suggest for the last decade or more. I recently was in NY and MA giving expert testimony to this effect. I have also been an activist and scholar for quite some time. I have plaid a heavy price for taking an activist position. From a larger cultural perspective it is important to critique such negative portrayals of the blind such as Purple Feather. This sort of thing resonates among those with no exposure to disability. In short, I will not leave the editors alone or tolerate disability based discrimination.

Anonymous said...

I think you are reading into this ad a bit too much. I get the feeling that you're the type of person that picks at everything that portrays disabled people negatively. Do you complain about TV shows that don't have a disabled person in the cast?

You also say 'Instead of giving to disability charities why not hire a person with a disability.'

I know for a fact, having been in this situation before, that this does not always work. Hiring a disabled person for the sake of equality will damage the business. A company I worked for hired a blind person to do filing. The blind person required a carer to essentially do the job for them. This was paid for by the company. This is in addition to paying the blind employee. This is not smart business sense. Worst case scenario, the business goes bust quicker causing everyone to lose their jobs.

Going back to the video, the thing I don't like about it is the emotional slant they've gone to benefit their business. Happens all the time in advertising. Not just targeted with disabled people but EVERYONE. To leave disabled people out of advertising would be discrimination!

william Peace said...

Anonymous, I never cease to be amazed how people I have never met, an anonymous person no less in the is case, seem to be able to know what sort of person I am. For your edification, I rarely deconstruct such videos as Purple Feathers. I reserve this for the few videos I consider to be inherently destructive.
Did I suggest companies hire blind people that are not competent or capable of doing their job? Do I really need to note a company should hired competent blind people? If I had to do this it would imply people who are blind are not competent. The example based on your experience is way out of the norm in my estimation. 70% unemployment rate exists for people who are blind Surely not all 70% are not competent. There is inherent disability based bias in all hiring practices. No other way to explain why people with a disability remain unemployed in very high numbers as in almost 70% int he USA.

Anonymous said...

It would be one thing if this company genuinely cared and/or were trying to raise awareness or help in some way, but they are just using emotional blackmail to promote their marketing company. This is worse than misguided; it's condescending and offensive.

Anonymous said...

Good grief! It doesn't matter who was portrayed begging in this video..someone (much like yourself) would have written a response (much like yours) claiming discrimination, ignorance and that someone's rights have been violated. It could have been an immigrant, someone suffering from a mental or emotional disability, someone with a physical disability or a victim of abuse, to name a few. Someone could even point out that beggars (is that a politically correct term that doesn't violate anyone's rights I wonder) could equally get upset that they are usually portrayed as being disabled or marginalised. The ad plays with stereotypes, much like every single advert which exists. They use stereotypes to simplify for wider audiences so that they can get messages across. Instead of focusing on the ad, focus on the governments, local authorities and organisations which perpetuate the myth that those with disabilities need to be felt sorry for, exactly because NOTHING is being done for them. At least this advert is drawing attention to a cause, whether negative or positive.

william Peace said...

Anonymous 1/10/14, I think the person portrayed, in the case of this video a man who is blind, is of great importance because the presumption, stereotype, is he lacks competence. People see what the man connote do but never think about what he can accomplish. The ad is not bringing attention to a cause as you put it but reinforcing an antiquated charity model of disability.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What's more offensive is that PurpleFeather blatantly, and without credit, ripped off this original Spanish film, which won an award in Cannes in 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAjtrm7RWBA

william Peace said...

Anonymous. You are correct. I would call it plagiarism. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Those were my questions exactly! I don't understand how or why this is offensive. I am a disabled person myself and after watching it I felt her gesture sincere and much more empathetic than those who have treated me like I am less than for it.

Anonymous said...

Well stated! My sentiments exactly.

Chris Juricich said...

A perspective I hadn't considered, that the short film would be stereotyping disabled people as incompetent, lacking in options, etc. I guess I agree that the disabled should be treated equally...somehow.

Regardless of my awareness, I still do my best to treat disabled as normally as possible , though I still find that knowing how much help to extend can be difficult. Sometimes the simple offer of assistance is very offensive to disabled folks who bristle at even the slightest hint that I think they a can't do something on their own. I keep trying though, despite occasional defensiveness.

william Peace said...

Chris, Why does it take effort on your part to "treat disabled as normally as possible"? We are no different than anyone else. I would suggest you presume we are competent and capable human beings whose difference is simply more noticeable.

Anonymous said...

If it was not just offensive, but offensive IN THE EXTREME for this able-bodied woman to help out the blind beggar by rewriting his sign more affectingly, then it was also offensive IN THE EXTREME for the passersby to condescend by giving him money. They're just as much flaunting their privilege in his face as she was. (And that he seemed to be grateful apparently cuts no ice.)

So it's offensive IN THE EXTREME to try to be kind and charitable. I'll remember that the next time I see a disabled person on the street asking for money, won't I?

Kid said...

To be honest (as well as frank), I think you're over-reacting. One of the things I hear all the time is that disabled people just want to be treated like everyone else and not given any kind of 'special' treatment - "don't make a fuss", in other words, is what they're saying. So, here you have an example of a disabled person being treated just like everyone else and you take exception to it? As an able-bodied person, am I entitled to take offence at you being insulted by an able-bodied person helping out another human being who just happens to be blind? Incidentally, the film was shot outside the building at the back of The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Such a sight is an extremely common one in the city.

Just out of interest, would you have been so offended if it had just been someone begging because he was poor and not blind? Imagine his sign said 'I am poor and homeless', and the kindly woman wrote him a sign saying 'It's a lovely day, but it'll be a cold night on the street'. I'm sorry that you're disabled (I hope my sympathy doesn't offend you), but I think you're over-reacting in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that the way to change people's minds about the fitness of this video is not by calling them stupid, uneducated, uninformed or ignorant. Those who do so may feel better for having vented, but they won't have accomplished much beyond that. I suspect you've lost the attention and taxed the goodwill of some people you might otherwise have convinced. Your loss, not theirs.

william Peace said...

Kid, Disagree with your entire line of reasoning. I am not over reacting--the images associated with disability are uniformly negative. Disabled or not, the beggar in this video is rendered powerless by dominant society. I am offended to live in a society that reduces any human being to begging,

william Peace said...

Anonymous, I have no interest in the good will of others. I am only interested in equality. Many a disabled person has been harmed by the so called will of others. This is painfully obvious when one reads about the history of disability. Think Willowbrook or Buck v. Bell and the ugly laws.

Kid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
HGW said...

Kid brought this to my attention via a post on his own blog and I agree with him that you may be over reacting but I can kinda understand how the ad is patronising.

Anonymous said...

Advertising usually patronises its intended audience, disabled or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hi HGW, Why has 'Kid Robson' felt it necessary to publish his spin on things on his blog? He calls Mr Peace 'intellectually dishonest' whilst at the same time only putting forward his own point of view and neglecting to link to Mr Peace's blog for interested parties to view the full story.

http://kidr77.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/good-or-bad-you-decide.html

HGW said...

I cannot answer for Kid Robson so why are you asking me? Watching the video again.... It is unsettling. I can see why people would find it offensive. The negative stereotyping of a blind beggar who is shown he's not even smart enough to beg efficiently without the help of an AB person. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Kid Robson explained William Peace's view fairly and adequately without needing to link to it, although it would have been handy. More to the point, why didn't you ask Kid Robson your question over on his blog? HGW, you certainly bend in the wind, don't you? That blind beggar is smart enough to know a woman by the feel of her shoes. That's pretty smart if you ask me. And are you honestly saying there are no blind people in the world who are also stupid? Advertisers portray anyone and everyone in a way that suits their purpose...surely in that way the beggar is being portrayed no differently from anyone else? Or must we patronise the handicapped by only showing them in a positive light all the time. Should non-handicapped people be offended by the suggestion that none of them can ever have an idea that a disabled person couldn't have? That would be just as riduculous as William Peace's stance.

Jim Scott.

HGW said...

A blind man knowing someone is a woman because he felt she was wearing women's shoes isn't a portrayal of high intellect. The fact ...is.... he was shown to be inefficient at begging until someone AB helped him. Now as your obscuring the issue with your own muddled argument I will now leave this debate.

Anonymous said...

Kid Robson is a troll. Ignore.

Anonymous said...

HGW, you're the one obscuring the argument...the blind man didn't just know it was a woman from feeling her shoes, he knew it was a particular woman, so you've entirely missed the point. Best you do leave...you have contributed little of value.

Jim Scott.

william Peace said...

Thanks to kid this comment thread has deteriorated and is embarrassing empty rhetoric. I refuse to participate and will delete all further comments. I will make one final point: all those I know in disability studies share my views. I would suggest those that take exception to my views follow this link. I am hardly alone in taking this video to task.
http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/13/pity-and-the-blind-beggar/

Anonymous said...

Mr Peace,
I know you probably won't publish this but I just wanted you to know that I'm disgusted by the way Kid Robson has misrepresented the argument on his own blog in order to try and humiliate and insult you. Absolutely disgusting.
Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Mr Peace,
I hope you will allow equal time and allow me to express my disgust at someone pursuing a personal grudge using your comments section in order to misrepresent Kid Robson's blog post. Absolutely reprehensible. The man is entitled to express his view even if it's different to yours. Equality surely belongs to everyone.
Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Final word: I am confident that Everyone can see from the link provided earlier that the person holding grudges is 'the Kid', whose blog, between anecdotes about old toys and comic books, is littered with verbose attacks on the numerous people who do not share his personal opinions. It is awful that Mr Peace has now become another one of his targets!!! Stop doing this, Kid, please!!

Wiz

Anonymous said...

I took a look at kid's blog and those verbose attacks as you call them have nothing to do with people not sharing his views. They're his replies to attacks on him. All he's done is show the other side of the coin on this ad yet someone's using it for their own ends. Amazing just how many anon comments the last few have been and how none of them have posted on kid's blog. Most of them are probably by one guy.



Bill C


william Peace said...

The kid debate is over. No further anonymous comments will be accepted. No further discussion here is needed unless it breaks new ground.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.