Tucker Carlson, Other Anti-Woke Crusaders Really Pissed That Microsoft's Aware Blind People Exist
The latest conservative uproar over corporate “wokeness" or more accurately basic consideration for others was all about a Microsoft presentation. In the video, the staffers introduced themselves with a brief visual description and stated their pronouns. The usual suspects freaked out, which reinforces that we live in two separate nations. It's like “suddenly" discovering that people in the UK drive on the left hand side of the road. Calm down. They've been doing this for a while.
We do this for those who are visually impaired that benefit from descriptions. Kind of like how alt text for pictures can be used by screen readers. More info on our D&I and inclusivity initiatives here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/default.aspx\u00a0\u2026https://twitter.com/cwt_news/status/1456313303756681223\u00a0\u2026— Darcy_Lussier (@Darcy_Lussier) 1636088273
A Microsoft employee responded: "We do this for those who are visually impaired that benefit from descriptions. Kind of like how alt text for pictures can be used by screen readers." He included a link to Microsoft's diversity and inclusion initiatives, which are both concepts that conservatives openly resent.
Instead of accepting this simple explanation and maybe feeling a little silly, the anti-wokers went further on the offense. One guy on Twitter said: "Why would Microsoft think blind people care what your race is and what gender you go by?" He apparently believes blind people just connect with others as “Amorphous, Colorless, Genderless Blob No. 1" and “Amorphous, Colorless, Genderless Blob No. 2."
Self-described “angel investor" and “entrepreneur" Balaji Srinivasan shared another Microsoft presentation that he labeled “Woke Capital incarnate," which are definitely three separate words. Senior Program Manager Allison Weins described herself as an “Asian and white female with dark brown hair wearing a red sleeveless top." She also gives a lengthy land acknowledgement, which just recognizes that Native American tribes existed in the Pacific Northwest long before white people showed up and called “shotgun!" on the land before killing them with actual guns.
It seems like part of the rationale for this must be to help the visually impaired. But, whatever the intentions, this makes Microsoft look like the Cirque du Soleil of wokeness.https://twitter.com/balajis/status/1456344147103653889\u00a0\u2026— Sam Harris (@Sam Harris) 1636060226
It seems like part of the rationale for this must be to help the visually impaired. But, whatever the intentions, this makes Microsoft look like the Cirque du Soleil of wokeness.
It would surprise a lot of folks in the Pacific Northwest to learn that anti-wokers are mad about land acknowledgements now, but this is the pattern: The anti-wokers encounter something they don't understand and thus reflexively find offensive. They could choose to ignore it and go on with their lives, but instead they shame and ostracize everyone involved with the express purpose of shutting it down. Hmm, that seems a lot like what conservatives decry as “cancel culture."
Free Speech America, which supposedly "exposes efforts to censor conservatives," tweeted: "Oh Big Tech, we don't care what your preferred pronouns are, we just want privacy and free speech." You know, someone offering their preferred pronouns is actually an expression of free speech.
The Microsoft presentations naturally caught Tucker Carlson's attention. He was predictably ignorant and cruel.
CARLSON: Ok. So we called Microsoft, they're very literal of course, they make bad software for a living, they're not artists. And we asked them what is this? And they said we're doing it to help blind viewers, but of course they're lying because the guy with the mohawk, which is the most interesting thing about him, never even mentioned that he had a mohawk. So they're lying to the blind people.
I consider not broadcasting to the world that you have a mohawk a necessary lie of omission. Carlson proceeds to discuss his extensive experience with the visually impaired.
CARLSON: And by the way, how would someone who can't see know what a red shirt looks like anyway?
OK, there are degrees of visual impairment. Not everyone who's blind was born that way. In fact, early visual experience helps establish spatial concepts and visual memories. Anti-woke crusaders might find this hard to believe, but it's possible people with visual impairments have provided feedback about what would prove useful to them.
CARLSON: Keep in mind, this isn't some eighth-grader going crazy on TikTok, this is a choreographed presentation from one of the most powerful companies in the world. So how long before they make your kids do this?
Carlson thinks you have to force kids to tell you everything about themselves? That would likely be the most fun part of their day. Before Fox News poisons their minds, children enjoy sharing with others.
CARLSON: I know a couple of blind people, I've never heard a blind person complain about anything. In fact, the people I know in my life who are the least likely to complain about anything are visually impaired. I don't know if there's a connection but I've certainly noticed it. There is no lobby of blind people yelling at Microsoft, they're doing this to let you know how great they are.
The cynicism and contempt for humanity is bile-inducing. He's also lying, as usual. The Perkins School for the Blind, which Helen Keller attended, has a “how-to" page on making meetings more accessible for the visually impaired. During the pandemic, efforts were also made to help visually impaired employees fully participate in meetings.
To borrow from “Angel," people like Tucker Carlson, who don't care about anyone or anything, will never understand the people who do. They can only mock them.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."