Braille Monitor                                                                                May-June 1986


The Price of Equality

by Gary Wunder

(As Federationists know, Gary Wunder is President of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. This article appeared in the February, 1986, Blind Missourian, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri.)

Today I heard a wonderful story I thought the readers of the Blind Missourian might enjoy. It has to do with asking for and getting equal treatment, and then having to pay the price for it. Jim Moynihan, a person usually very timely in his work, found himself typing a college term paper at three in the morning, The paper was done about half past five and was due at eight that same morning. Someone asked Jim if he wanted the paper proofread. Jim, reasoning that he was a good typist, said he did not, and at eight he promptly turned in his hot-off-the-press creation.

Several weeks went by, and one day the instructor complained to his class about the sloppy way in which work was presented. He said that someone in the class paid so little attention to their work that they turned in a paper with one of its pages up side down. Jim found the remark amusing and wondered how anyone could be so foolish. The instructor started around the room, papers in hand. When he came to Jim he didn't even break step. He hit Jim on the shoulder with his paper and said, "That was you, ace. You got an F.."

Jim says he thought of saying something to the instructor but realized he couldn't have it both ways. He was equal or he was not. He had an opportunity to go over his work and passed it up. He said it was only fitting that he take the blame. Hiding behind blindness would have been easy to do. Arguing that content was more important than appearance might have rallied the most hardhearted, but these are not the tactics of people who believe we have both rights and responsibilities. Such would not be fitting for one who wishes to move from second to first-class citizenship.