Braille Monitor                                                 February 2012

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The Politics of Blindness: From Charity to Parity

Reviewed by Elizabeth Lalonde

From the Editor: Elizabeth Lalonde is president of the Canadian Federation of the Blind. She offers the following brief review of a book that details the situation faced by blind Canadians as they seek to bridge the gap socially and economically that separates them from other citizens. This is what she says:

In his groundbreaking book, The Politics of Blindness: From Charity to Parity, author and activist Graeme McCreath brings clarity to the struggles of blind Canadians and describes the obstacles that plague their journey to dignity and equality. He explains how Canada arrived at its present situation of a 75 percent unemployment rate for blind Canadians; a staggeringly high level of poverty (average annual income of $15,000); a severe shortage of proper education and training for blind people; and a disgraceful lack of knowledge or concern for the plight of blind Canadians on the part of government, the public, and organizations that are supposed to help. Blind people in Canada, unlike in other developed countries, have no government publicly funded training or rehabilitation. Only token training in cane mobility, Braille, adaptive technology, and life skills is available at all, and that is by a private charity.

McCreath discusses the need for effective organized, intensive training and rehabilitation for blind people as well as the need for choice in the acquisition of these services. He also talks about the need for a proper non-means-tested living allowance to cover the costs of blindness.

After reading this book, no Canadians, blind or sighted, can stand aside, turn away, and ignore the existence of this shameful and far-reaching problem in our society. The Politics of Blindness stands as a monument of history, a testament to the unrecognized blind citizens of our country, and a guide to motivate positive change for blind Canadians now and in the future.

As Mr. McCreath says in the final pages of his book, "Let's make it r.e.a.l."

“Blind Canadians must achieve respect, equality, assimilation/integration into society, and liberty. Only with these achievements can we hope to attain first-class citizenship and equal status with the sighted."

For more information about this book visit <www.thepoliticsofblindness.com>. The Politics of Blindness can be purchased online, in print or Braille, as an e-book, digital audio book, or audio book read by John Stonehouse.

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