Because while Deaf people have their own language, arts, poetry, stories, and so forth... blind people do not.Says who? Isn't this rather an arrogant thing to say? Would it be arrogant and perhaps selfish for a Deaf person to say that? For anybody to say that?
In an old discussion forum from several years ago one person who is blind had this to say about "Blind culture."
Does blindness have a culture? I've asked this question a number of times in various situations and the most common answer is "no". The subject of whether blindness has borne a culture is a topic of debate in many blindness-related forums and meetings.
The existence of a deaf culture is not in dispute. Many people are proud to be counted in that community and consider their inability to hear to be a characteristic and not a disability. Blindness is viewed in almost the opposite light. It's odd.there are many people who would attach certain characteristics and behaviors to all blind, and yet deny that we have a culture of our own.
To admit that blindness was more than a disability, that it was a cultural characteristic of which we could be proud, would be like finally admitting that we are not the pitiful creatures that the media, and some of society, usually portray. To call us a culture would be like recognizing our uniqueness without belittling it. Would it be an accurate term though? Are we truly a culture?
I posit that we are. Many of us use a form of written communication that differs from the mainstream. Braille bears no visual resemblance to the written alphabet and only a person trained to read Braille can do so. And, it is a form of reading and writing unique to the blind. Even (most) visually impaired print readers have to either get their materials from an alternative source, or use technical aides to enhance the print.
The need to do this is unique to the visually impaired. Like some signing deaf people need an aural interpreter, those of us not around our chosen written medium need someone as a print interpreter. We may share the same language as the majority, but the way in which we access printed material differs markedlyAlyssa Hopfe continues and note the bolded words....
Let's review the major points though. I believe we are a culture because: Many of us share a 'written' language, or at the very least, the need to have an alternative method of accessing materials.
We share linguistic traits unique to the blind.
We are a minority symbolically identified as being unique among those around us.
We are linked by the attitudes of those around us and by the problems we face.
A number of us live in similar economic conditions.
We form groups to further the aims of the whole.
We share some methods of understanding our world and we sometimes share mannerisms.
We share internal conflicts alien to the larger community.
We are intrinsically linked by the concerns that we have.
Now for the benefits of recognizing our status as a culture rather than just a group or community. People would begin to see blindness as a characteristic rather than a problem to be solved. People wouldn't automatically assume that we are hopeless or that we'd sell our souls for sight. Whatever divisions within, discrimination would be met with a powerful response. Our unique ways of gathering information would be seen as cultural traits.
We would develop more pride in ourselves with the knowledge that we were a culture and that our "mannerisms" (some of us have them) were a norm. People would be less apt to say "So and so succeeded DESPITE his blindness" and may even start to see blindness as a component of the success.
Organizations and corporations would be forced to accommodate us as they have the deaf (closed captioning for them, audio description for us).
Readers would be bound by an official code of ethics. Complete integration or "normalization" wouldn't be one of the goals considered when educating the blind. Medical breakthroughs wouldn't be heralded as "the only true road to equality" and they wouldn't be what we supposedly pine for the most. One of the largest pluses would be that blind people would be hired to work with other blind people as a matter of course and respect for a unique culture. No longer would a sighted person be considered an optimum teacher for a blind person. American Sign Language (ASL) is considered by many to be a complex and beautiful language, whereas Braille is seen as a last resort. This double standard MUST end.
In order to gain respect, and for blindness to be seen in it's proper light, I believe that we need to recognize our special status as a culture and act accordingly. We should hold our heads up and be proud of what we are! Yes, proud.blindness and all. We should call ourselves what we truly are, by virtue of bonds formed by language, experiences and concerns.we are a culture. For those of you who disagree with my stance, I ask that you at least consider the possibility that what I say has merit.To deny or not recognize blind people as having a Blind culture would be the same as not recognizing Deaf people of their own culture as well. Doing so would be an act of arrogance.