Power of Discrimination Exposed in Call It Blindness
The fear of the unknown causes people to inflict pain and hatred rather than try to understand. They discriminate or prejudge others on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex or handicap. This treatment often results in victims being ostracized from society. It is assumed that such hardship can make people bitter and full of resentment. However, Georgina Kleege disproves this in her essay "Call It Blindness." She shows that her personal struggle against discrimination has made her better, because it pushes her to open people's narrow-minded views, break down societal stereotypes, and inspire those with similar challenges.
As a handicap, there are extra struggles that Kleege must face while trying to broaden the narrow-mindedness of people in today's society. When people have a handicap, they are seen as weak and inferior. The blind must try to escape the negative stereotypes that are often associated with them. Kleege acknowledges that people believe, "Blind means darkness, dependence, destitution, despair. Blind means the beggar in the subway station" (395). She tries to help others understand that her condition is not one of despair but one of hope, as "blindness does not in itself constitute helplessness. You will be as resourceful, capable, and intelligent as you ever were" (403). Kleege tries to make clear to others that her condition is not the end of her life, but the start of one with more difficulty. There are also stereotypes of uncleanliness and unawareness of those without vision, as well as an idea that the blind are less intelligent. Even though there are many who do fall into the stereotype, there are also individuals as Kleege who have had a disability and who have triumphed as "Homer, Milton, and Joyce, the sight-impaired literary luminaries" (392). To change the view of a majority is a great task but only would such a strong individual, who has gone through a struggle with blindness, be on the path to doing so.
Stereotypical images give people justification to mistreat and harass people like Kleege. However, Kleege realizes that stereotypes and labels do not define her as a person. They are inaccurate descriptions that are at most a mere fraction of her being. Her constant recognition to others of her disability she feels is "an irrelevant fact they did not need to know about me, like my religion or political affiliation" (391). Just because a person is blind does not remove him/her from sadness, happiness, talent or dreams. Kleege exemplifies this perfectly by showing that she can live a normal life even with a handicap. By being a successful teacher, she...