How We Use Our Words

“Where there is No Vision, There is no Hope” –George Washington Carver

When viewed from the perspective of an ocularcentric world, this quote is thought-provoking. If we do not have an eye toward the future, we tend to have no future, which makes for a grim outlook on life. Considering the world is sight-oriented, saying one can have no hope without vision becomes problematic to those who do not understand the subtleties of connotation
and denotation. Once I did, I began a campaign against using the term “without vision” to mean “without sight”.

I first read Carver’s words when in elementary school. As a visually impaired child in a sea of sighted kids, this line made me uncomfortable. I didn’t understand the subtleties of connotation and denotation as yet; therefore, I believed he was saying blind people couldn’t have hope.

Unfortunately, as I grew into understanding the differences between sight and dreams. I also grew to understand that much of the population believed as I had as a child—no sight, no aspirations.

The solution to this dilemma is simple: People on the blindness spectrum are able to change how they describe their condition. Instead of saying we are “low vision” or “without vision”, we can say we are “visually impaired” or “without sight”. The differences are subtle, as language can be subtle, yet it can make the world of difference in how the blind or partially
sighted person is viewed by the world.

Carver is correct: without a vision, a view to the future, hope is difficult, to impossible to hold. For this very reason, using terms like “I’m without vision” or, as I’m beginning to see “low vision” meaning one is without sight, should be avoided. Those with not a pinprick of sight can have enough vision to change the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.