Words That Hurt: “Blind”

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“Blind”

Think about the lyrics to one of your favorite songs. Maybe it’s a love ballad, or a power jam that gets you through a work week. Do those lyrics ever reference a disability? For example, the 18th century and widely known hymn, Amazing Grace, refers to blindness, a common theme in lyrics: “Was blind, but now I see.” This is not an isolated occurance. Lyrics often refer to a past state of “blindness” to illustrate that the singer went through a difficult experience or a bad experience and came out on top. Another use is in lovesick songs where the singer croons about their past mistakes, ones they were “blind” to. Using blind in this way continues a cycle of oppression that people with disabilities struggle with. Because the connotation of disability with negative experiences is so ingrained in our language and media, it seems almost impossible to escape or eradicate from something as simple as songs. Being blind does not have to be the go-to phrase musicians use to demonstrate a tragic situation.  

Media and songs influence people on a conscious and unconscious level. If the lyrics are associating blindness with bad things, then our minds will start to recognize the disability as a terrible thing. Now, you might not be a musician but you can try to catch the times when song lyrics reference disabilities, educate yourself and others about why it is a problem and maybe one day, the analogy will stop.