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

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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).

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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.

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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 (addendum) 

I also have my own personal beef with this one: the one lesson the guy does seem to have come away with is "bright lighting is bad" and I'm like noooo!

I might be in a minority among partially sighted people, I realize it is painful for some people, but he was at a place that already has really diffuse daylight and one of the reasons I hate it so much is that there are no shadows so I can't tell how far away anything is (because I have no depth perception)!

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Lost benefits due to marriage. 

@bright_helpings . yes, this happened to me. My spouse and I got gay married in Canada when she was in grad school there. This was when gay marriage wasn't legal in my state in the US. Then, a few years later gay marriage passed. I was ecstatic, of course, but I was also dropped from food stamps and state medicaid and that really hurt us financially. Like going hungry hurting. It's paternalistic as hell and puts disabled people and poor people in a double bind.

@riotmuffin you've come to the right masto account then because I feel like I'm always in disability wrath month :)

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!

Disability wrath month 

@bright_helpings I'm literally on an urban planning degree and couldn't agree more - the city planners of the future, at least based on my one degree cohort in the UK, are overwhelmingly white, male, able-bodied, neurotypical, middle-class, cis and privileged in so many ways

If we carry on as we are, we won't move on from cities as primarily stores of wealth rather than primarily places for humans

Disability wrath month 

@bright_helpings eek, this sounds bad. I wouldn't throw a motorist on a road bike and ask them to go 10 miles on streets to get them to understand my issues, even as shock treatment. they'd just hide in their car even more after!

Disability wrath month 

@t54r4n1 Exactly. This is such a great analogy, because this is what people do after they pretend to be disabled: they might remember one thing (like in this case I'm talking about "oh! lighting is important!" like something really vague and general like that) and everything else in their brains is "aahhh! panic! I'm glad that's over!" and, like you say, them just being so glad for their car and hiding there forever.

@io Disabled people are hugely financially penalized if they get married, here's one link about it but there's tons of stories, including ekay's reply to my toot if you want to have a look at that too.

advocacymonitor.com/marriage-e

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A community centered on the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and their surrounding region. Predominantly queer with a focus on urban and social justice issues.