Posts Tagged ‘You Don’t Look Blind’

You Don’t Look Blind

July 15, 2011

Often when I am walking my guide dog Nash, someone will come up to me and ask, “Are you training him?” or “Is he a retired guiode dog?” Not sure why the third question is always, “Are you blind,” but the questions always seem to come in the same order. I guess it is comparable to the days when I walked with a white cane, and people would constantly say to me, “if you’re blind why are you wearing glasses?” Whether I was walking with a white cane, or now my guide dog all of these questions always seem to lead to the same statement, “You don’t look blind.” After getting this statement today for what seemed like the thousandth time, it got me thinking, why does society not consider the statement You Don’t Look Blind offensive? You wouldn’t say to someone in a wheelchair, you don’t look disabled or you don’t look like your legs don’t work. You wouldn’t say to a deaf person you don’t seem deaf! You wouldn’t say to a black person, you don’t look black, and you wouldn’t say to someone who is gay, really you don’t look gay. So why is ok to say to a blind person you don’t look blind? This statement doesn’t offend me, but I am curious to know why the blind seems to be the one group of people that don’t get the same courtesies as different races, other disabilities, and different sexual orientations. I guess it comes down to the fact that the blind pretty much has a non-existient lobby. We the blind do have a lot of organizations out there that are doing a lot of good work on our behalf. For example, here in New York we have the Commission For the Blind who makes it possible for us to receive government sponsored services. Everything ranging from mobility training to career counseling to advice. Some of the great organizations that I have worked with include The Lighthouse, Visions, Helen Keller Center For the Blind, Baruch College, and The Jewish Guild For the Blind to name a few. There are also several organizations out there doing a lot of great work in the field of research, and of course there is Guiding Eyes For the Blind the amazing guide dog school which partnered me with my guide dog Nash. However, the one thing we the blind seem to be missing is a lobby group of any kind. There are some organizations who have done a very commendable job on making sure the U.S. Treasury Department begins to make changes in our forms of money so that the blind will be able to recognize different denominations, but what group is following up on this to make sure that it actually happens? Several months ago I recall reading an article that companies will have to make all future products mainly technological devices accessible to the blind, but again who is following up on this ruling? For the most part the blind seem to be one part of society that is often neglected, and with more and more people developing visual problems, this has got to change. Wouldn’t it be nice one day for people to realize that saying “Well, you don’t look blind,” is socially incorrect. Then again mayne I am just living in a fantasy world, but hey I can dream.