Disability wrath month 

I do want to talk about disability pride, but today I'm feeling more wrathful because I saw the results of something I narrowly avoided in participating in, one of the things I most detest as a partially sighted person: the Blindfolded Walk.

This is where a sighted person is either literally blindfolded or given some means of simulating a particular sight condition and then goes through a building if they're an architect or try to get on a bus if they're a bus driver, etc

Disability wrath month 

Doesn't sound so bad, does it? This is a favorite strategy of some big blindie organizations and no doubt some actual blind people. And I appreciate the desire to fix our pervasive frustration -- I share it! -- that sighted people don't understand our lives or our problems. It's easy to think/hope that firsthand experience will teach these sighted people empathy and that they'll carry this forward into whatever positions of power they have (desgining better buildings, etc).

Disability wrath month 

There are two big problems.

1. It doesn't work. Non-disabled people don't come away from simulated disability with empathy or insight. They come away with pity, fear and distress.

The guy who did this one called various parts of the blindfolded experience "disorienting" and "difficult." It is! There's a reason people losing their sight get training in orientation and mobility and using a white cane! All he's saying is he hadn't had that. I have. There's no comparison.

Disability wrath month 

2. It shouldn't have to happen. The Venn diagram circles of "building designers" or "public transport managers" and of disabled people barely overlap. They should.

It's so frustrating! Disabled people are chronically unemployed or underemployed. And /there are jobs we should be doing/ but aren't. These workers shouldn't have to simulate disability because it shouldn't only be abled people doing those jobs.

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Disability wrath month 

@bright_helpings Great thread! Thanks for sharing these thoughts. The blindfold walk reminds me of those tent city nights colleges do to simulate homelessness. It's like you can't simulate the complexities of another's experience!

Disability wrath month 

@rusty And it risks the worst kind of voluntourism smugness in these people afterwards, who think there's nothing beyond their pity and distress and fear and bone-deep relief when they get to go home again!

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