Unpopular opinion. This is for those of us who can not meet this unrealistic expectation. Open to conversation, yet, I ask that you listen and absorb.
I’ve seen it all to many times through various job listings that a driver’s license is required to ensure that the candidate has reliable transportation. Okay, on the surface, this is harmless. Yet, are we not putting into consideration all of the other modes of transit that exist within metro populations?
City bus, para transit, ride-share, taxy services, walking, subways, you fill in the blank.
As someone with a visual impairment who can not drive, ever, this leads to a potential problem. There is already a severe stigma and precursor towards people with blindness and I think we’re not having conversations that we need to be. In order for societal shifts to even occur within our lifetime, more advocacy, more posting, more uncomfortable conversations, more questions being asked, and less of the nonsensical assuming. Less of the presumptuous activity before even having a conversation with a person with a disability. You have no right to even presume that person’s skills or abilities when you haven’t even spoken with them.
Now. I have a career. I am already employed and make a great living. So, why do I bring this up? Community. That’s why. 70+ percent of all visually impaired individuals in this country are without a job. Social security is the primary source of income. I once was there. Let me tell you. It’s degrading and completely stomps out a sense of dignity.
I speak with a very hefty tongue on this because, I care. I stride each day to change the lives of blind youth and adults. Being in these shoes for all of my life. Facing the prejudice. Facing the task of telling someone I do not need help, and suddenly becoming the problem because I denied someone the ability to do something nice, where, in that moment, I DO NOT WANT TO BE TOUCHED.
So many children are brought up to be quiet when they become curious about a guide-dog, a cane, or braille. Being told that it is rude to ask questions. False. I’ve seen amazing things happen when these conversations are had. It’s called, perspective. Once we know, we’re less likely to assume and make a complete ass out of ourselves or the others involved.
So, this all started with a driver’s license. I know… My point is this.
Just because someone does something differently, does not mean it’s wrong. It’s called adapting. It’s science. A part of ecology. Adapting to one’s environment and finding newer avenues to find a sense of self worth.
I am not sad, I am not angry with myself, don’t wish things were different, nor do I want my sight back. I love the man I have become and would not change a single ounce of it. We’re tasked to grow. Not shrink.