My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and I hope to squash misconceptions about blindness and low vision. Today’s post may be a bit of a rant but I just want society to stop belittling people with disabilities.
Yes, Helen Keller was real and she accomplished much more than learning to write, read, and use sign language. Yes, she was deaf and blind but she was much more than that. Last May #HelenKellerWasntReal started trending when many began to call her a fraud and question her accomplishments. This article in Slate magazine explains the full story.
I do not want to focus on Helen Keller’s accomplishments but there is enough evidence showing that she was in fact a writer and a public speaker. I want to focus on why people would even question her accomplishments.
I would think that in 2020 and 2021 society would be educated enough to know that a person who is blind or has low vision or is deaf is capable of doing almost anything that a sighted or hearing person can do. It is sad that in our society a person is almost immediately written off when they have a disability. They are seen as less than everyone else just because they do things in a different way.
When you learn to problem solve you can find a way to accomplish almost anything. A person that is blind can read and write using braille. Aperson who is deaf can communicate using sign language. I think that the issue here is the wrong assumptions about people with disabilities that get passed down from generation to generation. This is the assumption that people with disabilities are not smart and that they are not a valuable part of society. The lack of representation of people with disabilities in the media and even in daily life such as employment has only helped to further these misconceptions.
I am writing all of these posts in this series to have a small part in ending these misconceptions because it will take time and we are not close to the goal but every step counts. Every new person that i can educate on these issues brings me and the rest of the disability community closer to this goal. Thank you for reading this post.