Unfortunately, this is the truth, all of us do it. We like to put people in boxes and classify them according to our assumptions. You may discover that Most of the time those assumptions are really wrong if you give yourself the opportunity to know the real nature of the other person a bit better before you judge. We sometimes like to play dumb either because we don’t actually care, or we are happy with those built assumptions. If this is somehow applicable for everybody, it is 100% true to the blind person.
Let me share with you some of those assumptions
We should speak so loud to a blind person. So that he / she hears us.
Those people forget that this person is only blind not necessarily deaf. Yes that’s true, there are hard hearing -blind cases but you may need to ask if that person needs you to talk a bit louder or not instead of building the assumption.
People sometimes think that you cannot walk because you are blind.
You notice this in airports when the employee or the assistant tries to force you to sit on this wheel chair even if you don’t want to. Of course I understand that it is a very important thing to have the wheel chair in all the airports for old and people with disability to make life easier, but I believe it should still be an option to take it or leave it. Another related assumption is that in a subway station, a blind person should always go through the emergency gate or use the elevator. It is more convenient and easier for him / her. In fact, it may not be necessarily the case because most blind people can use the turnstile and the stairs efficiently. In a city like New York, the sound of the subway emergency gate may be even disturbing for the blind person who uses his / her ears to figure out his / her surroundings.
Blind people are moody, sensitive, and aggressive; we should better stay away from them.
Didn’t you ever meet a normal sensitive, aggressive, moody but sighted person in your life?Believe me, Blind people still belong to the human being, so among them, you may find the sensitive, the moody, the attractive, the smart, the silly, the introvert, the extrovert, etc, it actually has nothing to do with being blind, it is just the human nature.
You talk to the blind assistant or friend instead of the blind person himself / herself.
I don’t want to generalize but at least the majority of the blind people can speak and express themselves clearly and fluently. It is so offensive to ignore them in conversation or think that they are not equivalent to you.. So you may find the sighted person says to your assistant things like: “ask her if she needs this, ask him what he wants.” I am wondering why do you put this barrier between you as a sighted person and the other blind one? why do you want to convey a message to him / her that he or she is a mystery or a puzzle that you can’t solve?
A blind person always : helpless, poor thing, can’t help his / her relatives or friends.
One day, I went with a friend to the tax office to file her annual taxes, everybody in the office thought that she came to assist me to file mine. They couldn’t think that I was just accompanying her as any two friends.
Another day, I went to the farmer’s market to buy some stuff for myself, a friend of mine asked me to buy something for her because she was so busy at work on that day and she couldn’t go with me. At the farmer’s market, I met the guy from whom I should by my friend’s stuff,. because he already knows me and her, he asked in an angry manner “how come she let you come to buy her stuff, why did she send you?” I said “it is OK, she is already busy and I am coming anyway.” It was like a fight with him, and I really hated this attitude.
I don’t say that we don’t need the help of the sighted people., of course we need it from time to time. What I want to say that we are not only receivers, we can be generous givers, kind hearted, empowered.. we have a lot to offer specially for our loved ones.
blind person may lack the sexual ability.
Crazy, Huh? I don’t know why people sometimes think that you are deprived from all your capabilities if you are blind. I can’t forget a story when a blind friend of mine, a PhD holder and a professor in one of the top universities, told me that a lady asked him one day, “are you guys able to make love and have sex?” he strongly replied, “do you want to try it?” In fact, this answer is a normal reaction to such type of questions that may drive you crazy sometimes.
I also remember that story I heard that a father rejected a blind guy proposing his daughter only for a similar reason.
These are only some of the assumptions that I can remember now and of course you can share more with me. Try to put yourself in the blinds’ shoes to know how those assumptions can really affect their social, psychological, and professional life.
So What should we do? I think the best thing we can do is to spread out this spirit that a blind person is just a normal human being. How can we deal with a blind person then? I came across this nice article talking about The Basics of Interacting with people with Disabilities and I believe it is great. Please try to read it, it may be help you understand better the blind person before just building wrong assumptions