About Blindness

Most people consider blindness to be synonymous with helplessness, witlessness and hopelessness. Paradoxically, the blind are also often imagined to possess special gifts, powers, talents or capacities that somehow compensate them for their "affliction". In either case, the blind are placed in a class apart from the rest of humanity.

It is the experience of the members of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) that these notions of blindness are false and damaging to the quest of the blind to take their rightful place in society. Accordingly, it is the aim of the National Federation of the Blind to do nothing less than to eradicate society's false notions and negative stereotypes of blindness and the blind and to replace them with the knowledge and expectation that the blind are simply normal people who cannot see and that with training and opportunity, the blind can compete on terms of equality with everyone else and can live normal, happy, productive lives.

The tenets of NFB's philosophy of blindness may be summarized as follows:

  • The real problem of blindness is not the lack of eyesight; it is the misconceptions about blindness held by society.
  • The blind are neither especially cursed nor especially blessed; they are normal people who cannot see.
  • With training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance or inconvenience.
  • With training and opportunity, the average blind person can perform the average job in the average workplace as well as can his/her sighted colleagues.
  • The blind are a minority within society and virtually all of the problems of blindness are those experienced by other minorities within society, e.g., discriminatory treatment and lack of acceptance as persons of equal standing with the rest of society.

In essence, NFB's philosophy of blindness amounts to the knowledge that it is respectable to be blind.

Additionally, we of the NFB believe that we, the blind, can adapt to the world, requiring few modifications to function effectively in the world as it is.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can have the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Below are links to articles further elucidating this NFB philosophy of blindness. Some of these links take you away from this site. If your browser supports multiple windows (browsers for braille note-takers may not), such "external" links will open in a new window.