It’s Getting Worse

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?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Absolutely true! though it’s about personal opinion but, sometimes atitudes are getting worse particularly for guide dog users. I know i probably mentioned this on your previous website mj but there are still taxi drivers who still refuse to take blind passengers with their guide dogs. One such case ironically enough happened outside the guide dogs training centre in melbourne australia! As to my situation with the cane people’s atitude towards cane users isn’t so bad but there are those who offer to help and i just say thanks but no thanks and go on my way. I was getting ready to fly home from perth recently and the airline crue thought we might be wanting to go onboard first i said i’m no different to anybody else i can wait if i need to. I don’t believe in special treatment because blindness isn’t a disability for me it’s an inconvenience. so mj, next time somebody thinks that you find it difficult to do things because you can’t see, tell them it’s not a disability it’s an inconvenience which it’s all it is!

  2. one thing i forgot to mention, there is a question regarding the disabled permits that are on car dashboards for people with a disability for making it easier to go places when a car parking space is found close by. There are many reasons why people often have a disabled sticker on their car dashboard. and they don’t have to have a disability as such. People who have diabetes or are on kidney dialysis have disabled stickers because they can not walk very far so people who can’t walk far are entitled to a disabled sticker. I wonder though, since i had my kidney transplant just over 2 years ago the question came up as to whether i should still be entitled to a disabled sticker as my health had improved and i said that i still qualify because of my vision impairment as i prefer to find a car park at the front door of the place to which i need to run an erynd as i still won’t cross roads on my own. the only road i can cross by myself successfully is the road out the front of my own house. Now this is way off the topic in the blog but it fits one way or the other

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