In my writing and day-to-day conversations, I’m trying to be more conscious of the language I use. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called ‘Frozen’. I decided to change the original title ‘Paralysed’ because I thought it was quite ignorant.
I first remember having a similar conversation with my girlfriend after listening to the song ‘Cocoon’ by Catfish and the Bottlemen. It has a line in the chorus that goes:
‘I’d rather go blind than let you down’
We spoke about the metaphors we use every day without thinking. I don’t think this song was written maliciously, trying to exclude people who are blind. But it just goes to show how easily we can insult, offend or just be ignorant without thinking about the language we use.
I wrote a poem about Blindness a while ago now, but I’ve been afraid to publish it for fear of offending someone who is blind. I was worried to share the poem in case it was seen as using the blindness metaphor ignorantly and negatively. (Then again, my blog is not accessible to a person who is blind, so I’m thinking about getting an audio description feature).
I don’t want to be ignorant. I know many people suffer from illnesses, mental and physical, that are trivialised or used as poetic language. It’s important to be aware of what we say, but it’s often our opinions and assumptions about someone or a certain community that are most damaging.
The best thing to do would be to reach out to those people because only they can truly share their experiences of what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
That’s why I’m opening up the comments for this blog post because I would be really interested to hear what you the readers think about this and your experiences of what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, I don’t personally know anyone in the blind community, so I would be very grateful if you would share this and comment if there’s anyone you know who could help me with this and share what you think.
I would be very interested to hear what you, the readers, have to say, particularly if you know someone who is blind, for example, who could help me. Please put them in touch with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @ThisIsPhilsBlog.
What do you think about this?