Singer/actress Beyoncé recently received much media attention for writing an open letter to a fan of hers who happens to be blind, sparking The Urban Daily‘s Shamika Sanders to note “What a lovely gesture, but we wonder…how is Timmy supposed to read it? He’s blind!” I believe this comment stresses the importance behind disability awareness.
Before I delve into the disability awareness issue, let me recap the full story. According to Hip Hop Blog, Beyoncé first met Timmy backstage at the Grammys in 2007. Timmy lives with cerebral palsy and is blind. At the time he met Beyoncé he was 13 years old. The meeting obviously left a lasting impression on the celebrity who wrote her open letter to congratulate Timmy on graduating high school.
Now the average person probably shares Shamika Sanders’ curiosity,”How is Timmy supposed to read it? He’s blind!” Disability awareness explains through educating. Braille offers a blind person one method for reading. Perhaps Beyoncé appointed someone to write her letter in braille so she could present the letter to Timmy. If not, at the very least someone could read the letter to Timmy. While not considered traditional reading, Timmy still receives Beyoncé’s sentiments.
Ultimately, what is reading but communication? When you view reading simply as communication, the notion “How is Timmy supposed to read it? He’s blind!” becomes frivolous. After all, Timmy can’t see but he can touch (how braille works) and hear.