One of the most common questions random strangers at bus stops, cab drivers, airport staff, and anyone else in my presence long enough to make the absence of small talk slightly awkward will ask me as a blind person is: “so there’s nothing they can do?” There are some very interesting assumptions built into this question.
This question assumes that, if “they” could do something, then I wouldn’t be blind. It assumes that I want them to do something. It assumes that it is someone else that needs to do something, and because the “they” refers to doctors and/or scientists, the question assumes that the “thing” that needs doing relates to treatment and/or cure.
I’ve been thinking about this more lately because of a couple of emails sent to my inbox in the last two days. The first was forwarded to me by a family member. It was originally sent out by “the Foundation Fighting Blindness”, and the second was a CTV News story sent to a blind-related listserv I subscribe to.