The white cane

white-cane-day

The white cane is the symbol for blind or visually impaired people. It is commonly known that a person walking with a white cane is visually impaired.
This post will be about the psychologic effect of the white cane on the environment, more specifically on me and you.

Whenever I see someone walking with a white cane, I automatically pay more attention to that person. For example, I will make sure that he has enough space to pass by. When a visually impaired person without a white a cane would accidentally bump into me, I would probably scold him. But if I know that he is blind, by using the white cane, I would not mind it. I probably would even excuse myself for getting in their way.
Another example is when a visually impaired person would come up to me in the supermarket and asks me to read the description of some food for him. If I don’t know that he is blind, I would probably polity read it but thinking what kind of weird person it is.

How would you react when you are in these situations? What do you think about using the white cane as a visual guide for the environment? With all these new technology, do you think it is still needed for visually impaired people to show they are visually impaired. Will people be less intolerant towards them when they don’t know they are visually impaired?

Heleen

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3 responses to “The white cane

  1. I think you can also see it the other way around. By eliminating these distinctive elements, that point out you have a disability, your way of approaching ‘disabled people’ will change. The white cane is an real eyecatcher. If I was blind, I would’nt like the fact that when I walk around in Leuven, everyone who sees me walking knows I’m blind and tries to help me. So if I (fictive blind me) bumps in on someone, I would like them to react the same as if a random person bumped in him. I think that when you have a inability, you don’t want to point it out to the whole world and you sertainlly don’t want a special treatment.

    • I understand that people with disabilities do not want special treatments, but does that mean they need to get scold at for things that they can’t prevent? Wouldn’t that make his life harder?
      In my opinion it is not about the person with disability but about how the society works. The blind person does not use the white cane to shout to the world ‘watch out, I’m blind so help me with everything and give me special treatments’. It is the society that puts that sticker on it. Do you think this should be a reason to give up their walking stick as an aid, so that people would not pity them?

  2. No absolutely not, as long as it has a functional purpose. When it become only something to mark them, I think that blind people will stop using them immediately.

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