Friday, November 21, 2008


A few days ago, a friend of mine called me to clarify something that he knew to be certain regarding me. Before asking me the question, he prefaced it by stating that he had to ask me something that may appear to be a little strange. Because I know that this brotha is not the type to say or ask anything off the wall, I told him to shoot, never considering that bracing myself for an odd response was necessary. Because he was certain that he already knew the answer, he asked me the question with silent confidence.

"Do you still blink your eyes now that you can't see?"

"Um, yes... Why did you ask me that?"

Well, he begin to explain to me that his professor at the seminary he attends told the class that blind people don't blink. He said that the professor said that once the person is blind, the nerves in the eye are dead, and the involuntary reaction to blink the eye ceases.

Because my friend knew that bit of info that the professor was giving to the class was not true for all people, he raised his hand and told the professor that the blanket statement that the professor was trying to wrap around all blind people was not true. The professor asked my friend how did he know. My friend said that he knew that some blind people blink because one of his closest friends is blind.

I thought it was hilarious that the professor really thought that people who are blind do not blink their eyes. First of all, blinking has nothing to do with sight. Secondly, blinking is not something that we control or desire to do. We do it because it is an involuntary function of the eye lid, not the eye ball.

I'm going to take it a little bit further. I had my left eye removed a few years ago. I now have a prosthetic eye placed in the socket for cosmetic purposes. Well, the eye lids still blinks over that "fake eye" every couple of seconds, much like it would if that eye was real and could see.

Oh well... I heard worse stereotypes about the blind...


Babz Rawls Ivy said...

This is why you are here blogging and stomping these myths and urban legends about being blind and blindness to the ground!

Blinking in solidarity, Baby!

P.T. said...

Hmm! That's off the chain! Ignorance being taught as truth!

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hi Angela. I could swear I left a comment on this. Hmmmm. Well, I'll do again. I knew that and was blown he didn't.

Otherwise hope you've had a nice Thanksgiving, and if not, that Christmas will be great.

Just curious, and don't know if you'd ever want to do a post on this, but I would guess that gifts that stimulate the other four senses are preferred by the majority of blind people, ie, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. If I were to give a sweater to someone blind, I'd choose something very soft, like angora if they aren't allergic.

My brother is considerably older than me, in his late 60s. He's been losing his hearing for a long time and resisted getting a hearing aid, but recently his vision is failing. Something about a torn or damaged retina in one eye and now in the other, and he says he's high risk for losing his sight. He's otherwise quite healthy and still works part time as a doctor. It's a damn shame. I hope he can hang onto his vision.

Well, take care.

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

Hey Babz! It's always nice when you stop by and visit me. Yes, even th ough I get tired of blogging, I know that my presence is needed on the web. And I guess if I shatter ignorance and stereotypical thinking for one person, I've done my job.
Bless you, my dear. I pray that you have a great week!

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

PT: Thanks for stopping by. You're welcomed around these parts again if you feel so inclined.
Yes, "ignorance passed off as truth" is truly a mess. I hate when people truth stamp stuff they don't know to be accurate and then pass it to impressionable folks and/or people who are expected to take your word for it, such as students and/or church members.
Peace and power to you, my brotha.

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

KIT: Yeah, I really enjoy my other senses. I love to touch soft things. But I'mnot quite sure if I like it because I'm blind. However, I do think that I notice how things feel now more than I would've have if I had never lost my sight.
I will take some time to post about my other senses. Good idea...

Your brother is losing his sight? **sigh** I'll be wishing the best for him. I pray that he doesn't lose more of it. But if he does, he's going to need as much family support as possible in the beginning.
If you need some insight, let me know. I don't have all the answers. But I don't mind sharing what I can.
Have a great week! And thanks for passing some web traffic my way. Not because I'm trying to be an internet/blogging star... But because I'm trying to educate and enlighten about disability, mainly blindness...
Peace and prosperity to you.