[nfb-talk] The Word Blind

Michael Bullis mabullis at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 23 09:47:08 UTC 2009

I certainly endorse what Peggy said.  My comments were meant to describe the
two very different challenges we face.  The first is the challenge of
helping blind people with some vision to realize that they are truly blind,
not as a fiction or some legal distinction, but as an actual fact of life,
requiring that they learn the alternative, and more competitive, techniques
of a blind person.  The second, and perhaps more daunting challenge, is the
general public's use of the word blind.  That word fills a niche of lingual
understanding that we will be hard-pressed to change.  Blind dates, duck
blinds, blind prejudice, blindfold, politically blind, double blind study,
blind taste test.  I seriously doubt we will have much effect on this word
in these contexts.  Much like the lawyer who understands the word finding as
a legal term, we understand the word blind, when applied to actual blind
people, far differently than the public does.
Even if the public comes to understand that the term blind doesn't mean
totally blind when applied to people losing vision, I doubt that they will
change their usage of the word when thinking about being blind-sided or
blind prejudice.  
Mike Bullis

-----Original Message-----
From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of RyanO
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 12:17 AM
To: NFB Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] The Word Blind

Well said, Elliott.

I would add that this very topic was addressed by Dr. Jernigan in his 1993
article, "The Pitfalls of Political Correctness." When we begin to soften
language in the name of emotional sensitivity, we often lose focus. Words
mean things. I submit that if we alter our wording, we will inevitably alter
the fundamental concepts that have afforded us cohesion as an organization.


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