What Is Up With Meet The Blind Month

is all this anger justified? smoke’s opinion on it all

If you are blind and pay attention to the face book pages and twitter posts of other blind people you have heard something about meet the blind month. Overall there is allot of anger about this, people are upset, and at first glance it seems rightly so. Are blind people animals to put on exhibit for everyone to come look at? Will there be tourist groups touring workplaces where blind people are busy at their jobs? What exactly is this meet the blind month, and why is this even a thing. There is no Equal for other groups of disabled people or ethnic groups. Well,, let’s unpack what exactly this “meet the blind month” is and see what it is all about.

Where did this all start?

Before I get too in depth on this, realize this took almost no time to research and figure out. so those who have been upset and did not fully understand why or how this came about, there really is no excuse.

As far as I can tell, this all comes from two things,, October being world blindness awareness month. Now that isn’t anything so bad,, an entire month dedicated to blindness awareness. It also just so happens in the United States October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Now I have not personally found any sources to confirm this, but in my opinion when you take these 2 things, world blindness awareness month, and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, you could make a nice awareness smoothie. So some group like the NFB for example, the National Federation of the Blind could set up a program to spotlight blind individuals who are working members of their communities. That sounds like a good idea, to show people who have terrible misconceptions about blind people their views may be incorrect, to demonstrate how blind persons across the country are gainfully employed, and how they contribute to society and their communities.

Just about every blind person has run into sighted individuals who don’t think they can do anything. Those people who are amazed they have the ability to do something as simple as walk down the road on their way to the supermarket, pharmacy, or liquor store. This is not thoughts they have based in bias, or Prejudice,, it is just simply because they cannot imagine a life without vision, and how anyone could ever function without it. Sight is how everyone gets around, how they function, socialize, how they enjoy their surroundings, the main way everyone interacts with the world surrounding them. For example, look at this survey I found with a quick google search.

from: www.tellwut.com
2,007 voters participated in this survey
1. Which of your 5 senses would you least want to lose?
Touch
6% 115 votes
Taste
6% 119 votes
Smell
7% 135 votes
Sight
61% 1,226 votes
Hearing
5% 98 votes
n.a
16% 314 votes

This is clearly not some academic web site, but it sums up exactly what I thought it would. I think anyone would have a very hard time to find a survey that said anything different, people are terrified of losing their site, they cannot imagine a life without it. It is my belief that out of this comes people’s thoughts on blindness, and the only way to overcome this collective sighted ethos is through awareness and examples contradicting the preconceived notions. but wait, there is still something terribly wrong, or is there?

So what is the problem?

Well the problem is the words chosen. The NFB is doing this exact thing, trying to bring awareness to blind people through something they are calling “Meet The Blind Month”. Here is what their web site says about the campaign.

Meet the Blind Month is our nationwide campaign to increase awareness of, and support for, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). During October, the members of our affiliates, chapters, and divisions spread the message that blind people can live the lives we want by conducting a variety of outreach activities. These events create opportunities for people to meet the blind of their communities and to recognize that we are vital, contributing members of society…

From: www.nfb.org/meet-blind-month

The most important part of the above is, “These events create opportunities for people to meet the blind of their communities and to recognize that we are vital, contributing members of society.”. Ah yes, let’s all scream an cry now. This is a terrible thing, How dare a group specifically made of blind people to help blind people try to help other blind people. The sarcasm is dripping off that last sentence, and before anyone wigs out in the comments, yes I know what your problem actually is, or at least I sure hope I do. People are angry at the name of it, the fact that it is called “Meet The Blind Month”. The fact that it is trying to do good for allot of people doesn’t matter, the name is unacceptable.
Well can everyone who is outraged take a step back and just think about this.

First, if this outrages you, you really have no real problems and you should just stop and be thankful for a moment. If something being called “meet the blind month” literally causes outrage, then you are living a very blessed life and you should be grateful more than anything else. that is the true meaning of first world problems.

Second, realize the actual intent behind it and don’t go spouting off everywhere someone will listen. People are acting like this is a national month, it is not, it is a campaign by a blind organization to help blind people. If you think their objective in “meet the blind month” is bad, then you have completely displaced anger and there is no hope, refer to the first point right above this one.

third, try to be constructive and base your questions and concerns in a reasonable way. pretending to be outraged, or even worse actually being outraged over this is not going to help anything. Well, in a perfect world someone flipping out over something like this would just be ignored and taken as a grain of salt. but seeing how we live in a world of constant outrage, and catering to those who scream the loudest on social media, they might just change the name anyway. The majority or minority doesn’t actually matter anymore, all that matters is who can be the loudest. Overall if you don’t like it, why not express why, after looking up what it means, and why it is being done. after that if you are outraged, again, refer to the first point.

fourth, sorry, but I really don’t see the word outrage as having any meaning. this is a bit of a side note, but we have completely devalued allot of words over the past 5 years, and this is for sure one of them. thank god I have not seen anyone say it triggers them yet. Me personally, I cannot even think of the last time if ever something outraged me, but then again I’m not the most sensitive person.

So in summary, this is not a bad thing, the problem people seem to have is with the name. Are we living in such a politically correct society that this is offensive to people now? where was all the outrage, the anger, the screaming the other years this was going on? Ah yes,, this is not the first year, only the first year I’ve seen so many people getting angry about it. Nothing else has changed, the only difference is how people feel all of a sudden since they have learned about it. This then makes me wonder, is it not doing its job now that more people know about it? Why not use that to help, instead of trying to complain about something others are doing to make a difference. These questions are all rhetorical, There is no satisfactory answer, it is just annoying more than anything to see people complain about a group trying to help.

This is an opinion piece, it only expresses the thoughts of the author. You can choose to agree or completely disagree with the ideas expressed in this post. If you would like to continue the conversation you can share your thoughts in the comments.

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