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Dispatch from Paris: Beware of the Blind!

Era of the blind? Hmm.

Disability Remix Blog

By: Catherine Kudlick

A street sign on a pole reads "AVEUGLES", the French word for the blind. The triangle-shaped sign is filled to capacity with a truly giant exclamation point. Warning sign reads “THE BLIND” in French. Photo Credit: Cecile Puretz

Walking through the lobby of the Association Valentin Haüy, France’s leading organization for helping blind people, I experienced a kind of whiplash. Paternalism looms so large that it’s almost funny, until you realize that real people live and work with this every day. The second you walk in the door, you feel something sad and forgotten, people shuffling around as sighted helpers offer vague rays of hope to the afflicted. Right in front is a street sign that says it all: “beware of the blind!” Indeed!

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