Things Not to Say to a Blind Person

Avoid saying these and be more mindful when you interact with a blind person
July 30, 2019

In our day-to-day interaction with colleagues, friends, family, we say things that are not necessarily well thought out. We might have used terms such as, 'he is retarded', 'are you blind?', and so on. We might not mean to offend anyone but it always makes a difference if we think before we speak and are mindful about people around us.

Today, we are going to list out some things that can be simply annoying, rude or insensitive to say to or ask a blind person. The idea of this post is to educate people and not shame or offend anyone.

Things You Should Not Say to a Blind Person:


1. You don't look blind

Well, it is fairly impolite to expect someone to look like a businessman or look stupid or look deaf or blind. The point is, how one looks does not define his character or role or ability or otherwise. While a lot of them might think of this as a compliment, it definitely is not taken as one.

2. Are you deaf too?

People don't necessarily ask this but assume that people who are blind are also deaf. A lot of them begin to speak slowly and louder than usual. Shed this assumption of yours and speak them as you would with anyone else.

3. Is there a cure?

The concern is appreciated but it is an unintelligent question. If you've thought about this, wouldn't they have pondered over it as well? You might also want to consider the possibility that not all visually impaired people want a cure.

4. I can't imagine your life

This is an outright mean thing to say to anyone and especially to a blind person. Sadly, if you cannot imagine it does not mean that their reality is terrible. A lot of them who are visually impaired from birth are used to a certain way of life and are extremely comfortable with their situation.

5. I'm surprised you have a real job

This shows that you've been living in a bubble. Yes, people who are blind are effectively contributing to the workforce. You must check out this post to know about some extremely interesting individuals who are making a huge difference to the society.

6. It is over there

It is a fairly common and unintended mistake that a lot of us make. If you've to help someone with a visual impairment grab his/her jacket from the hanger, direct him/her to the cafeteria or the toilet, remember to not use only hand gesture and say, 'oh, it is over there'. You will have to be more descriptive.

7. You're inspiring

Are you saying this when someone is doing a simple, everyday task? Then, you shouldn't be. This only alienates them further and reminds them of their disability. You wouldn't appreciate an average person for performing a day-to-day task, treat them the same way.

8. Inquisitive about their condition

Don't talk to them only about their visual impairment. They are normal people who have friends, social life, hobbies, food-allergies, etc. You may also interact with them about all these things other than buzzing them with questions pertaining to their ability to see.

9. I'm so sorry for you

To be empathetic is one thing but to exhibit sympathy or pity is a complete no-no. Respect them and understand that they can lead a normal life like all of us.

10. Don't ignore them

If a blind person is accompanied by someone, you can directly talk to the person too. You needn't speak through his/her friend.

We believe small things go a long way in making things better for everyone. Next time you interact with a blind or visually impaired person, try not to say these things. Do you have something more that can be added to the list? Write to us.

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