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Pity Factor Makes Me Cringe


I just finished reading a blog that was reblogged by a good friend of mine. I was supposed to be moved at the beauty behind the blog but to me it read like a cliché. It had the feel of a chain letter to it. I guess it’s the cynic in me that is winning instead of the optimistic, cheery feel good lady.

Maybe it was the fact that it featured a blind boy in it sitting on a step with a hat and a sign stating the obvious “I am blind, please help”.  A kind stranger stops puts a few coins in the hat and changes the sign. After this kind stranger leaves, the hat begins to fill up with change. The stranger returns later in the afternoon. The boy recognizes the stranger’s footsteps and asks what the stranger wrote to find out that he had written  “Today is a beautiful day but I can not see it.”

The cynic in me is screaming: firstly most blind people who I know don’t go begging. They might be buskers but they don’t beg. Most blind beggars aren’t really blind. True blind people want to be paid for their talent not because they can’t see. Secondly, why would the boy let this person take his sign without querying about what the stranger was doing. I can’t suspend my disbelief that this boy would recognize the strangers footsteps. Contrary to the misconception that blind people’s hearing are acutely better than sighted people, it is not true. Just think about all the people you are introduced to and you can see their face but you may not recall their name. It’s exactly like that for a blind person who hears things because they might be introduced to people but if they have only spoken to them a few times and a person comes up and say hello remember me? Do you honestly think they are going to respond oh yes you are Dick. No, I don’t think so!

I get so tired and sick of people taking pity on people with disabilities. I even get angry with Agencies for the disabled that are trying to target the able-bodied to feel pity for the other people who are disabled because they want money. Instead of showing how funding the agency helps the person with disability, they try to play the pity card which is usually an utter failure to me because it just gets my ire up. The recent campaign that Guide Dogs NSW paid for didn’t make any sense to me, but they were trying to use the pity card to the sighted people. I can think  of a few different ways they could show how they help but showing a man with his guide dog walking down the street after a guy gets on the bus just doesn’t cut it with me. I even showed the advert to my sister in the states and she couldn’t get it.

People who are blind want to be treated equally just like people who are deaf, or confined to a wheelchair. People who are disabled who have something that isn’t so apparent want to be treated equally too. We all desire to be valued not pitied. People who have a disability are just as capable as any able-bodied person. They have to do things different ways and can even teach able-bodied persons valuable lessons if they are willing to be open to learning a different way.

Maybe I am too sensitive to the blind because I have good friends and loved ones who are blind. I just wish we could think outside the box at times when we are trying to give a moral story or trying to open our eyes to injustices in the world. I know that was the true meaning of the story that was reblogged but it really got me fired up and not in the best ways.

 

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Is Love Blind?


I use to be a chat room junkie right after I had split with my ex-husband. It was in a chat room that I came across a fellow who was using an application which enlarged the print on his screen. The application was called Zoom-text. I knew about it and private messaged him asking him how difficult it was to follow the conversation. He was a nice enough fellow and asked me why I was so interested. I responded back because I am working as a teacher’s aide/driver for the itinerant low vision teacher in the parish where I lived. From there our friendship blossomed and we would chat in the chat room or through some sort of instant messenger. I won’t name this fellow but he revealed quite a few things to me in our discussions which I still can’t believe he did. The one thing that he did share with me was that he had been in a previous relationship with a girl who was also low vision or blind. He vowed that he was never going to put himself in that situation again. What he wanted in a relationship was a sighted girl who could drive him here, there, and where ever he wanted to go. He was not going to get in a relationship with another girl who was blind or vision impaired because he didn’t want to have to do things for them both. He had enough trouble getting things done on his own so why should he have to help someone else.

I was flabbergasted when I read that. I just couldn’t believe how narrow-minded he could be. I tried not to judge him but in the back of my mind I was just reeling. I can’t remember if I had confronted him about what he had revealed to me but I know I was thinking, how would you like it if a girl you really cared about thought that way about you because of your low vision. I would have thought that if you had some one who understood where you were or your own sort of disability you would be able to help each other cope.

I don’t recall what exactly happened between us but we drifted apart. I am not sure if he ever found that certain lady who would be his perfect match. I am glad that it was not me. I couldn’t be with some one who was so selfish.

Another person that I have come across was in Australia with a similar sort of outlook. She was a friend of my present husband. We had travelled to Melbourne which is the place his friend lives. She invited us over to get together for dinner. She wanted to show off her cooking skills and he wanted to show off me! During our visit, conversation turned to relationships. She had broken up with her boyfriend who was vision impaired. She revealed to us that being involved in a relationship with some one who is blind or vision impaired may make it hard to plan vacations due to logistics. She expressed she wanted to be in relationship with a sighted person and didn’t think it was very likely for her to be with a fellow blind person or vision impaired person.

I know of many couples that are either both blind or one is partially sighted and the other is blind but they make it work. I admire them and think that’s it wonderful that they have found strength in each other and if they encounter problems because of logistics they solve the problem and don’t dwell on it.

I know that discrimination is rampant. It comes in many forms. I hadn’t expected it though to be blind person against another blind person. I guess I was being my optimistic self thinking that it wasn’t like that but I know now that it can be even between blind people. I guess it’s human nature. There is nothing wrong with wanting better for oneself.

I have had discussions with a few of the students that I worked with about relationships. For the most part, they too sort of ran the spectrum of the two people I gave example of earlier. They would like to have sighted partners but if they came across someone with a disability they felt they were compatible with I think they would give them a chance. Luckily blindness is in a minority and so in all likelihood they will find a partner who is sighted.

They say love is blind but I guess that sometimes even the blind can be blind to love.