Using simple, black and white logic, it may seem odd that blind people are just as capable of making racial assumptions as sighted ones. But there’s more to racism than meets the eye.
ome people claim they don’t “see color”, meaning they don’t use race to distinguish individuals. Some people can’t see at all, and it turns out they’re probably just as capable of distinguishing individuals by race as sighted people are. This is according to a new study by Asia M. Friedman, assistant director of sociology and criminal justice at University of Delaware. The study was small and hasn’t been peer reviewed, but it serves to demonstrate a few fundamentally flawed ideas about racism, namely that it’s all about physical appearance.
The study found that blind people can still make racial assumptions about people, even if “in all cases it takes them longer to categorize people by race and there is more ambiguity.” Faced with an absence of visual cues, participants in the study indicated they may still categorize a person based on their voice and name, even making predictions about their occupation or personality based on this information.
“I think blind people are inculturated into ideas about class and race [just like anybody else]” Friedman said, adding that ideas about race still reach them through family, friends, and the media. These ideas, she contends, can equip blind people with the same subconscious racial biases that affect most people.
Liked this article? Here’s some more content you might enjoy: