About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jokes, Mockery, or Marginalization?

I have always had a great sense of humor, even after the loss of my eyesight. As a matter of fact, I believe laughter is good for the soul and helps a person cope with their everyday situation. Within our society, there are several comedy acts and television series that help reach a person’s sense of humor, causing them to laugh for the moment. Throughout the comedy acts and television shows, there are jokes made about a particular event, situation, group, and/or an individual. With this said, there is the need to draw on society’s humorous side. So taking this into consideration, where is the line drawn and when does a joke become something more? I truly believe that when a joke sets out to deliver laughter through the mocking of another person, it can be harmful to the individual and society as a whole.
Many jokes have been played out based upon weight, race, economic class, ability, etc. As a result, more stereotypes can arise about that particular group, causing them to be treated differently within society. When I think of jokes gone wrong, by causing pain to a person, New York Governor Paterson comes to mind.
On the hit late night show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), there was a skit depicting Governor Paterson as he is trying to find a replacement for Senator Clinton. For those of you who don’t know, Governor Paterson is legally blind. The skit mocks his disability in several ways throughout the segment. The actor who plays Governor Paterson, said he has three criteria for finding a replacement for Senator Clinton; economic experience, upstate influence, and someone who has a disability and is unprepared for the job like he is. In my opinion, it is statements like these that contribute to the discrimination, stereotypes, and high unemployment rates for visually impaired individuals. The skit on SNL went on to mock Governor Paterson by having the impersonator talk about an illustrated chart depicting job loss, while the chart was being held upside down. The SNL skit caused a lot of controversy across the nation, sparking discussion around the treatment of the disabled. Some media figures were saying how Governor Paterson has made jokes about himself in the past, what makes this skit different? It is the message behind the joke and how it is used that makes the difference. When Governor Paterson was making jokes about himself, they were not degrading or depicting a particular group to be less competent than another. Another comment that was brought on one of the morning talk shows was that blind/visually impaired individuals are being sensitive to the skit because of the heightened economic strain and there was nothing wrong with the SNL segment. In my opinion, if demanding respect is being sensitive, then I suggest opening up the dictionary and reviewing the definitions of respect, disrespect, mean, and cruel. This whole issue touches home with me because on one of my local radio stations, they were making crude and vulgar jokes about the descriptive videos for the blind. Just to illustrate the crudeness of the comments on the radio show, I was not the only one who took offense; my mom was repulsed as well. Due to the offense that I took after hearing the segment, I wrote a letter to the radio station’s director and received a response back. The director said she read the transcripts and she didn’t see anything offensive about the show. After several e-mails back and forth, I realized that the radio station was not trying to see the situation from my point of view. In addition to my e-mail, several of my friends also wrote and/or called into the station to convey their concerns. As a part of personal choice, I have not listened to the radio station since the
skit. I truly believe that laughter is one component to happiness, but not at the expense of others. It is one thing to make jokes about yourself, but it is another to use them to dehumanize others. It is jokes and comments like these that cause me to have to prove myself every time I step into a classroom or place of employment. These situations are frustrating, but it is important not to give up and remember that what impacts one person is likely to touch others as well. In addition, one person standing up for what is right, can make a world of difference for all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

We Need Our Readers...

Hello! We are adding a Spotlight section to our website that is being developed...in this section we would like to spotlight our readers who are visually impaired and have a story of overcoming obstacles. If you have a story that you would like to share please submit it to beautifullyblind@ymail.com along with a picture if you'd like, how you would like your name to appear ex. Jane Doe, J. Doe, Jane D., or Anonymous and your home State.

Thanks and have a blessed day!

Beautifully Blind Inc.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just Breathe...

I know I'm a slacker lol! It's been a week since Robin's graduated and I'm just now getting around to write about it. I loved being Robin's guide because it was such a great accomplishment, but let me tell you...I was soooo nervous! I felt like I was graduating! It kind of felt good because I didn't walk when I received my bachelor's, so I got to experience it through my sister. Unfortunately I had failed Managerial Accounting and had to go to summer school to make it up...I didn't want to have my family travel all the way to Georgia again to see me walk later so I just picked my degree up from the register's office...such sweet memories HA! Anyway we had to meet with the disabilities offices a couple of hours before the ceremony to figure out where we were going to walk. They made a special aisle for us to walk up...the row was not in the Master of Social Work group, it was in the Masters of Business Administration group, so we had to remember who we were to go after in the MSW group so Robin could fall into place. We ended up sitting next to 2 very nice men who were receiving their MBA's, one of them was graduating with his brother,they had completed the program together. Brian was the other guy, he was very nice and the type of person that you wish all people were like. He was interested in learning about how one functions being blind. Robin enjoyed answering his questions about her disability and how she did her papers and etc. She said she wished everyone with questions approached her as he did instead of assume or just right out ignore her. So anyway, back to the graduation plan, because we were sitting with the wrong group after Robin got her degree we would have to walk around the back and get out of line to go over to where they were taking photos; my plan was to stay in line with the MBA candidates and break off from them when they went to get their degrees and take Robin to get her picture taken. We found out that wasn't going to work because her group received their degrees after the MBA's so we wouldn't have hers to take the picture with. I began to get nervous because we were down on the floor of the auditorium and there were thousands of people in the stands that would see us...messing up! So I'm sitting there trying to figure out how are we going to maneuver this. Luckily all the Marshals were aware of what was going on with Robin's disability and were there to guide us. When it was time for the Master's of Social Work group to go one of the Marshals came to tell us to get ready and was there to help us...I was able to ask him what should we do about the picture and he said he would take care of it...he asked the photographers to stay after so Robin could take her picture. That was perfect because I did not want to be walking around out of order in front of all those people. For some reason I was so nervous...my knees were shaking! LOL! So, now it's getting close to Robin's name being called, I'm looking for the girl that we are supposed to fall in line in front of...as we're walking up the aisle that they made for Robin she's telling me "don't forget to tell me when to step up the stairs, I don't want to fall on the stage!" So I'm getting nervous with all these people and making sure I guide her right, I take her to the stage and then to the Chancellor to get her degree...I turned around and saw all those people so I got nervous and guided Robin off the stage telling her, step, step, step...once we get back to our seats I realized I didn't take her to shake the Professor's and Dean's hand!!! Oh well the good thing is everything else went smoothly..at the end we all walked out and Robin was able to go take her picture and I was finally able to breathe!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


June 5, 2009 was a momentous day for me because it was the graduation ceremony for students receiving a graduate degree. I put on the black cap and gown with pride because I have worked really hard to get to this day. The memorizing, paper writing, late nights cramming, etc. paid off because I reached my academic goal. However, although I put in a lot of work, I cannot take all of the credit because if it was not for my mom, dad, and sister, I would not have been able to fulfill my objectives. My family has offered me continued support through their advocacy and devotion. My family has been embarking on this long hard journey with me, and along the way, they have given me the strength to live out my dream of helping others. Therefore, graduation was a great moment to live out with my family. I was glad my sister was able to be my guide during the ceremony because it meant a lot to have someone sitting next to me, to whom I care a lot about. Plus, it was pretty funny listening to my sister talk about how nervous she was leading me the wrong way.
So, as I began to walk in the processional with my peers and future colleagues, I could not help but remember all of the times that were spent on the campus. In addition to my Master’s, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Denver, as well. In other words, I have been going to school on the same campus for six years. It has been a place where I have met many challenges, but over time, I eventually overcame those obstacles. With this said, along with pride, I felt sorrow because I was saying goodbye to a chapter in my life that has helped me grow so much as a person. Now that my time on my school’s campus is over, I am now entering into another phase in my life, where I am sure I will learn a lot more life lessons.