Prejudice, Elections and Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping on conversations can be rewarding and annoying in equal measure.. here’s my metaphorical take on some of them, and on some of the more irritating leaflets we’ve had through the door lately.

“So it seems like we’ve got new neighbours. Well, to be honest I’d only seen the removal van until last week, but I got a note from the couple inviting us round for their housewarming barbecue on Saturday, which was nice. Yes, I know, it is unusual, isn’t it? But I thought it was a nice gesture, if a bit over the top. But that’s not the problem.

The thing is that they’re short-sighted.  Now, you know me, I’m not sightist in the least – but I got the shock of my life when I saw both of them wearing glasses! It’s certainly going to take a lot of getting used to and I’m not really sure about going to this barbecue now. By all accounts, they socialise with other short-sighteds and a lot of them wear glasses too – I’m beginning to feel like a minority. It feels odd to think I might be the only person with 20/20 vision in my street, now that the Wilsons are thinking of downsizing, and we’re getting more and more short-sighteds looking around the houses. Some of them like to put large numbers on the door as well, you know, as a sort of adaptation thing? The neighbourhood won’t look the same at all.

I’m a bit worried about the effect on the schools, to be honest. Of course I work with a few short-sighteds,  but they’re very discreet about it in the workplace – most of them wear contact lenses so you’d never know, they’re more like us in that respect. I don’t mind short-sighteds with contact lenses at all, but with all the laser eye surgery available, there’s just no need for glasses any more, is there? It’s a bit medieval if you ask me. And they even make their children wear these things! Poor mites, it’s not their fault. But I think the parents really need to take a look at themselves, making their kiddies wear those heavy things on their little faces like that. Take a look at themselves! See what I did there! Ha ha!

Oh dear, I shouldn’t laugh. Naughty me. Anyway, there’s the adaptation – the short-sighteds have to sit near the front in class, PE lessons are a minefield because they have to consider the short-sighteds and their glasses all the time, and I’ve heard that some of them need specially adapted books with bigger letters, eye checks at schools and the like, which is another expense that the taxpayer doesn’t need. I’ve heard that in some parts of the country, they have really hardcore bespectacled people who claim that laser surgery doesn’t work for them – do they call themselves astigmatics or something like that? I lose track. I don’t know much about it but it doesn’t sound like it really has a place here, does it? I mean, did Queen Victoria wear glasses?  No. I’m just not comfortable with it all.

Of course I’m not prejudiced. I have to say that the short-sighteds I work with have been really pleasant, but they’re discreet – they’re not really the same as short-sighteds with the glasses, are they? They say that short-sighteds tend to be better at working with screens, and the programming jobs are filling up with short-sighteds, but you can’t deny that it’s taking jobs away from the ordinary sighted people. Funny how there just seem to be more of them these days: there are parts of London that are practically short-sighted ghettos, with those big glasses everywhere. I went through one of those areas once: it was horrible, like being in a town full of owls. I remember there was only one short-sighted in my school – poor lad, he got beaten up all the time for being a four-eyes, it was a shame. Not that you can say that these days, the PC brigade would be on you like a shot.

I don’t agree with the BSP, Clear Vision For Britain and the sightists, of course, that they should be forced to have laser eye surgery or deported. Of course that’s a bit extreme, but I do think USEE talk a lot of sense.  We’re not asking them to leave, just to pay the extra taxes it takes to keep them. Let them have their own specially adapted schools that can really deal with the children with glasses properly – and give jobs to the specialist short-sighted teachers – rather than having this invasion into the mainstream schools. Yes, you can have your glasses, but no tax breaks, and keep the opticians to specialist short-sighted areas where they’re most needed – we don’t need them on our high streets, do we? And I don’t think it’s wrong when employers put their foot down and say – nobody wants to see glasses, or outward signs of short-sightedness, it’s contact lenses – which are an option – or you go into a specialist, short-sighted industry. I mean they have laws about that in other countries, don’t they? I don’t really think we should be so accommodating towards the glasses-wearers – it’s not about tolerance, it’s about saying no to extremism, isn’t it? No, I really do think I’ll be voting for USEE, this time round. It’s not that I don’t think the short-sighteds down the road are lovely people; I just worry about how things are going these days. I think normally sighted people have been overlooked for too long – it’s time we were really seen properly for a change.

Oops, did it again, didn’t I? Naughty me!”

brioche in glasses

It’s a sad fact that prejudice is alive and well, however silly it may be – and around election time there are plenty of people trying to prey on fears of ‘otherness’ to gain votes. Fortunately there are a lot of people and organisations who try to challenge this. Here are a few:

European Network Against Racism

IMADR (worldwide)

International Disability Alliance

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

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