Challenging Assumptions

Perkins student, Bronwen, submitted this post as part of her work for her English class.

More often than not, people are uncomfortable interacting with blind people. Sometimes, they are overly sensitive by being very literal, or they just ignore us altogether. They also assume that we cannot do day-to-day activities. As someone who is blind, these notions are unnecessary and offensive.

If you notice a blind person is lost, do not grab them!  Ask them if they need assistance and if they do, give them directions such as to the left or to the right. If not, just carry on with your day. Even when assisting, never grab them. Offer them your arm or let them follow beside you.

If you see a blind person sitting alone, just sit down and start a conversation. There is really nothing else to explain, just have a regular conversation with us.  No need to yell, we are blind, not deaf! Never assume, either. Do not hesitate to ask questions.  Once someone was beginning to ask me what kind of shows I watch, then apologized profusely saying, “That’s right, you can’t see, you don’t watch TV.” WRONG! I love Investigation Discovery and Family Feud. My point here is not what shows I watch, but that I see almost nothing and enjoy my favorite shows. I knew a blind guy who owns a Porsche and thought, he’s blind, what does he do with it? With the way I have been looked at as a blind person, I cut out that bias thinking immediately.  Later when I gave it more thought, I came up with a way to approach him without being bias or offensive.  He told me that he always wanted a Porsche, and I think that’s great! I believe that blind people can do what they want to do, especially if it is above society’s expectations. It demonstrates confidence and the message that we have been trying to convey. We are just like anyone else, blindness does not define us!

Collage of challenging assumptions