Being Tone-deaf About Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness, an organization that raises money to fund blindness-related research, has recently started a campaign to bring awareness to how having no sight can affect every day activities. They are doing this through "The blindfold challenge" ( #HowEyeSeeIt), which asks people to blindfold themselves and perform an everyday activity. The point of the exercise is to show people how everyday things are different and sometimes significantly harder when you do not have sight. On the surface, as a tool to raise awareness and money for an important issue, this campaign seems reasonable.

What they fail to mention on any of their web pages, is that thousands of blind people successfully do these activities, and many more, every single day. Without pointing out the success of blind people, due to training, technology, and perseverance, this campaign comes off as less "think about what blind people overcome as they achieve success" but more "look how bad blind people have it, poor blind people."

This campaign as it is currently presented only heightens the misconception that some people have about blind people, mainly that they deserve pity since they are at such a large disadvantage. As your typical person attempts this blindfold challenge, the only consideration that they are left with is "wow, that was so difficult, I can't imagine doing anything if I were blind." Without also pointing out the success of blind people with these everyday activities, Foundation Fighting Blindness is doing a large disservice to blind people everywhere.

Sean