[bct] Re: Jake's wonderful e-mail about blindness

  • From: "Angie Matney" <armatney@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 19:13:34 -0500

I wanted to add some thoughts to this thread.

First, I think it would be great if we could say that blindness were a physical 
nuissance. I think that until relatively 
recently, we could say that it could be reduced to that level for a number of 
people. I think that, if things in our society 
had developed in a different way, we could still say that. But nowadays, we 
have to deal with things like quiet hybrid 
cars; variable-length traffic lights; captchas and graphical verification 
codes; touch-screen ATM's; and a host of other 
consumer products that are no longer guaranteed to be accessible. I remember 
trying to buy a Walkman about a year 
ago. Yeah, that's right--a genuine cassette-playing Walkman. <grin> At first, I 
thought, "Isn't it great that I can use the 
net for this, since I don't have anyone sighted to go to the store with me?" 
But as I did my research, I began to worry that 
I wouldn't even be able to find a cassette player that was accessible. I did 
find one (though it is not perfect). This was at 
the time when I was living in a dorm during the first year of my second grad 
school program. (And, BTW, moving back 
into a dorm after years of...*not* living in a dorm is a really strange 
experience.) I couldn't even use many of the laundry 
facilities in that dorm because they used touch screens.

So, anyway, I think that certain things conspire to make being blind more 
complex than it inherently has to be. My 
perspective is naturally colored by my experience. I have always been blind, 
and if I could drive (and I believe that *will* 
happen eventually due to technical advances), I'd probably never think about 
being able to see. I like the part of the 
"nuissance" philosophy that inspires me to realize that blindness doesn't have 
to define me. It is a characteristic, and it 
does cause some unique problems. But I'm still capable of a lot, and I can and 
should set the same types of expectations 
for myself that I would set if I could see. But on the other hand, nothing is 
that simple.

These are just my opinions--no offense is intended.


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