Wow. Every time I think I’ve seen the depths of misguided ableism, I’m amazed by a new low. This latest one–#HowEyeSeeIt–really? Seriously??? You have to be effing kidding me. You think that blundering around for a minute with a blindfold on is like the reality my son and other B/VI people live every day? Are you effing serious??? Blind people ARE NOT INCOMPETENT. Blind people are CAPABLE. Blind people are able to do just about anything you can do sighted WHILE BLIND. For effs sake, my son flew a flipping AIRPLANE last weekend, and he’s SEVEN. Lack of eyesight certainly isn’t holding him back. Why on earth would you have a campaign to end blindness that fundamentally insults those who are blind and visually impaired, not to mention their friends and loved ones?
Before I lose all ability to form rational thought and descend into a frenzy of rage, I’m going to sign off and hand it over to the NFB–wise words from a wise organization follow below.
From the mailbag:
Dear Fellow Federationists,
This past weekend an organization released a social media campaign with the hashtag HowEyeSeeIt. The people using this hashtag are making videos of themselves attempting to do everyday tasks under blindfold with the misguided view that this experience will help them know what it is like to be blind. The motivation for the campaign is to raise funds to eliminate blindness. We in the National Federation of the Blind know that blindness doesn’t hold us back. We also know that living with blindness requires learning the techniques blind people use to do everyday tasks without vision. We are not opposed to medical research, but the way to generate interest in medical research is not by further spreading the fear of blindness and strengthening misconceptions about the lived experience of blind people.
The current videos being circulated with the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign are perpetuating the idea that blindness is something to be feared and that blind people adhere to low expectations. Some of the tasks people are encouraged to do in this campaign are having a friend give them an unidentified amount of cash and then, under blindfold, attempting to pay for a meal with this money. Another particularly outrageous example is people are asked to attempt to take care of their child for one minute while blindfolded. At a time when we have launched new efforts for blind parents who have their children taken away because of misconceptions about blindness, this is dangerous and offensive. These examples and the dozens of others used in the campaign rely on the notion that vision is a requirement for success, but we know the truth—blindness does not define us or our future.
We’ve published a blog, “Challenging the Fear of Blindness,” that I encourage you to share. See below for some related critical actions.
Critical Actions This Week:
Challenging the Fear of Blindness – #HowEyeSeeIt: It is critical that we now join together to combat this harmful campaign. I urge all Federation leaders to lead by example and to encourage the members of the Federation in your state to join with me in changing the perception that blindness is something to be feared and something that significantly limits our lives. Now is the time to turn our fear into power and that power into action. We have the opportunity to demonstrate how we live the lives we want as blind people in a commanding way. All you have to do is:
- Make a video of yourself accomplishing an everyday task as a blind person. For example, show how you dance, sing, exercise, care for your children, go to school or work, play sports, manage your finances, travel, participate in social events, enjoy your hobbies—in short, take a video of yourself living the life you want.
- At the end of your video, say that you’re a proud member of the National Federation of the Blind, and tag three friends or family members to keep the trend going. You can also urge your audience to make a donation to the NFB.
- Upload your video to social media using the hashtag #HowEyeSeeIt. Make sure to link to our website, www.nfb.org, and tag the NFB in your Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram post. If the people you mentioned in your video are on social media, be sure to tag them, too.