Hello, my Treasures, and welcome back to another blog post. In this instance, I filmed and uploaded a YouTube video before sitting down to write this entry, so much of what I say here has already been said in that medium. I know videos are not for all, however, so I will share my thoughts here as well. I am going to try and keep this entry as concise as possible, since this topic has a lot of room for rambling.
The Bird Box challenge. So much to say, only ten fingers to keep up with my racing thoughts on the subject. If you have not seen the video linked above, I suggest you watch at least the first few minutes in order to see the movie trailer, so you’ll have more of an idea of what I’m speaking of if you yourself haven’t watched the film.
Here’s a brief summary anyway.
Sandra Bullock stars as the main character, an emotionally withdrawn and rather unhappy woman who is pregnant and really does not want to be. She calls it a “condition” at one point.
Earth has been invaded by an alien presence most people cannot look at; if they look, they are shown their greatest fears. These fears are devastating enough to cause every single person who experiences them to almost immediately commit suicide. If their first suicide attempt fails, they will find another method, and they will die.
What this results in throughout the movie are the characters doing all they can to survive, which includes wearing blindfolds whenever they must venture outdoors. It is this that people across the internet have latched onto, and this that has become something so much bigger than it should be.
Individuals, or groups of individuals are blindfolding themselves before attempting daily tasks from lighting candles to driving. Many are getting hurt, and many of the videos include at least one mocking or degrading comment against the blind community.
If you are sighted and you choose to cut yourself off from the sense that grants you ninety percent of your feedback about the world around you, and then you fail in putting on your shoes, it does not mean we as blind people will do the same. We have trained for years to be able to navigate and interact with the world around us without sight. You cannot tie on a blindfold and expect to be competent, and your failures are not our norm.
Even though the blind community knows this is true, the sighted community does not. When you fail at the most basic of tasks without sight, it only reinforces the negative stereotypes and stigmas a large part of the sighted world believes about blindness.
This is not a game for us. At the end of the day, you can take off your blindfold, but we are left to live with the consequences of your game as you confirm the belief that without sight, a person is useless. Blind people. No, we do not have sight, but that does not define who we are. We have hobbies and dreams, we fall in love and have families, we marry and start businesses, some work mainstream jobs and others choose to go to school. We enjoy reading, writing, spending time with friends and loved ones, rock climbing, hiking, tandem biking, swimming and doing all sorts of things sighted people do. We are not useless. We are not damaged. We are just different.
So when you tie on a blindfold and fail epically before a camera, try to remember that you are not merely entertaining an audience. You are erecting barriers in the paths of people who have spent our lives climbing over hurdles just like this. Blindness is not a game. It is not a show you can put on for entertainment purposes. For many, it is our life.
Please respect that, and cease the challenge that diminishes us as people, and casts ridicule on our capabilities. We are not you under a blindfold. We are competent in the sightless worlds we walk through every day.
We would actually survive that alien invasion.
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Until next time, my \Treasures, I bid you a fond adieu.