Substitutions for the Word Blind

By Ethel Siegel


Recently, I have become aware of groups using other words for the word blind. ACB and PCB use phrases such as “vision loss,” “sight loss,” etc. When I asked about this, I was told that many people, especially elderly people, don’t like the word blind; it has been used to denote incompetence, ignorance, and helplessness, as in “blind alley,” “blind faith,” and “blind love.” I have noticed that NFB always uses the word blind.


When I was growing up, the words “visually handicapped” and “partially sighted” were used for people who had some useable vision. Now it’s “visually impaired,” as in Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.


At our last PCB Convention, Jonathon Mosen discussed blindness, and said that he was proud of being blind and saw no reason to stop using the word. It is my hope that we can eliminate, or at least reduce, the negative meanings that society associates with blindness and that the word blind, meaning lack of vision, is not dropped from the language.


I hope that readers of The PCB Advocate will comment on this matter in a future issue.

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