I’m starting to truly realise how much attitudes toward disabled people are getting increasingly negative. On two occasions, within the hour today, I have really had my faith in humanity tested. The first was while walking along a main high street with Bailey who is a thirty-four Kilos worth of Guide Dog, with a high visibility harness upon his back, and a woman walked directly into me and tutted loudly as though I was in the wrong. Bailey was as close to the building line as possible, as we had just come around a jut out and he hadn’t made it to the centre of the path yet. I let this go as I know sighted folk rarely really watch where they are walking.
However, what just happened in my local Asda store makes what just happened to Bailey and I seem so much worse. I was walking down an isle and a guy literally bumped into Bailey, sending him sideways into me. He first of all said sorry, and as I was bending to check bailey was OK and to reassure him he hadn’t done anything wrong, as he is sometimes sensitive to getting things wrong, the guy said, “it’s just a dog”. I was so shocked, I picked Bailey’s harness up and carried on walking.
Several people both whom I know and don’t know, have said that attitudes toward disabled people are getting worse all of the time here in Britain, and today I guess I truly felt the brunt of this attitude change.
Nobody wants to feel like they are invisible. I’ve known for a long time that as a blind person I am often perceived as a second class citizen, whether intentionally or not. But today, I felt invisible and like my feelings, my life had no precedence in their world. I know many VI people hate admitting that it is our world versus their world and I don’t like making that distinction myself but sadly, that is exactly how I feel today. I feel like I’m an intruder on their world and I have no right to be here.
I can hazard a pretty accurate guess why this change has come about but I won’t discuss that here. I don’t expect people to move for me, I don’t expect to be given priority over others because of my sight, but I do expect to receive respect and decency from other people. Am I asking too much?