Op Ed with Bob Branco – Do the Blind Try Harder?

Since I graduated from college, I found myself having to use more of my inner energy throughout my life, especially while competing with the sighted for gainful and productive employment. For every job I applied for, I had to spend many more hours researching accommodations, meeting with my supporting agency about adaptive technology, explaining this technology to my potential boss, arranging rides to and from interviews, etc. In addition, with the constant rejection that we blind people face on a regular basis, we often find ourselves sending out more resumes and making more phone calls than a sighted job seeker.

Even in other aspects of our lives, such as independent living, housing, education and transportation, we feel the need to work twice as hard and spend much more time just to prove that we are entitled to these living situations. The sighted aren’t faced with these types of challenges, and they are not questioned about why they are entitled to life’s practicalities. They just go about their lives doing what they can, hoping for the best. I wish it was that simple for the blind.

While the sighted give 100 percent, the blind often have to give 200 percent.

I have also made an observation in an area where many sighted people take life for granted while we, the blind, continue to depend on our own resources to sustain ourselves. While we try our best to keep our doctors’ appointments and do everything in our power to see to it that we get there on time, I know sighted people who won’t hesitate to cancel their medical appointments the minute their cars break down. I’ve never driven, yet I learned the alternatives at a very young age. We grew accustomed to public transportation, door-to-door service, and the ability to accept all the challenges that go with this. I am not saying that the sighted do not, but many of the sighted are used to a certain life style, and never needed to go into the trenches the way the blind do.

So, are the blind forced to make more of an effort in life in order to compete for first class status? This is a question for the Reader’s Forum.

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