The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, Sept. 15, 2007. Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
I have long been impressed with the democratic nature of the American Council of the Blind. But I wonder why the organization would lend credence, by their publication in its national magazine, to the views expressed by Carl Jarvis in his article ("Tilt!," June 2007).
Jarvis begins his article by stating that he thinks the blind are going about it the wrong way by suggesting that they are just as good as the sighted. Such a view is demeaning. But it's also downright dangerous.
He adds further insult with his portrayals of the beautiful young blind woman with the guide dog and the muscular blind man with the cane, which, though they're meant to be tongue-in-cheek, are patently offensive.
Jarvis concludes his piece by stating that the blind don't need a level playing field, they need a separate one. What he's suggesting is the establishment of a separate "blind culture." Such an idea hasn't worked out for the deaf and hearing-impaired community. It won't work for the blind.
Too often, we in the blind community cry out for accommodations. When we get them, (which we generally do) we find we can't use them, either for lack of training in the alternative skills we need to use as blind people, or for any number of other reasons.
Sure, the playing field will not always be level. But it shouldn't stop us from entering it and doing the best we can. Hopefully, our examples would then lead to the changes we desire and often desperately need.
All of us in the blind community could stand some critical self- examination. We probably won't like some of what we see. But I hope the exercise would lead us to strive not just to be better blind people, but better representatives of humanity as a whole.
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