Over the weekend, people on Twitter and probably other places I don’t frequent started getting all up in arms about this RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) fundraising ad. Yes, that acronym looks weird to me, too.
“It makes blindness out to be pathetic,” they said! “This commercial is garbage!” “Makes us seem like little more than tragedies to be pittied!”
Sure it does…if you want to completely miss the damn point.
Ro did a nice job of taking this notion apart, so instead of me explaining what’s wrong here, I’ll let you read what she said. Keep in mind that this is essentially an older version of Emma, so her words carry quite a bit of weight.
And ok, since I wasn’t letting this one pass without saying my piece, here’s what I think. this is the comment I left on her post.
Correction: People who have been blind since birth or for a long time who can’t see outside of their own little bubble won’t relate to Emma. I’ve been blind since the day I was born, and I totally get it. You kind of have to be a fool not to get it. Going blind later in life is generally more traumatic and difficult to adjust to than being born this way is. Hello, this isn’t exactly rocket surgery here. All you have to do is meet a few people, observe and listen to them. Some of the struggles are the same because of the nature of the disability, but many of them are different. Even our similarities are kind of different, because things I take for granted are entirely new to Emma here. There’s quite a bit more to come to terms with than there is for a guy like me, because being blind is the only thing I’ve ever known. You can’t miss something you don’t have. I got to learn things my way right away. Gives me a bit of an advantage, no? If you were to give me eyes that work tomorrow, I’d have no idea what I was doing and would, believe it or not, be just as lost as the guy next to me who just went blind.
I’m a pretty independent person. Can do a lot on my own. But I didn’t just wake up and figure it all out by myself. Organizations helped me and my family out when I was young, and this didn’t happen for free. Ok, so for me it happened for free, but why do you suppose that was possible? It was possible because of donations and funding, which is exactly what the RNIB is after. There are some truly bad fundraising campaigns, but this isn’t one of them. It’s a completely realistic story, one that I’ve seen play out for people far more than once.