braille bucks?

this could be a bumpy ride…


has anybody seen the movie ray? in it there’s a scene where jamie foxx (playing ray charles) insists on being paid in singles so he can count the money and know he’s not being shorted. it never occured to me until then that blind people can’t distinguish between a hundred and a one. sure, chris rock does a routine on it (discussing stevie wonder) but reach into your pocket without looking and see if YOU can do it.

that’s what i thought.

it used to freak me out that they had a blind guy making change at a deli near the state capital in austin, texas. he was dead on accurate – don’t ask me how. you didn’t even have to tell him what bill you handed him and he’d nail it every time. “i gave you a hundred”, i once said, trying to stump him. “very funny”, i got back in a dry response.

i suppose the sightless can be humorless, too.

in the past the blind folk (which by the way, i like the fact they will still call themselves “blind” rather than “visually impaired” and feel no shame about it) would use an electronic currency reader, which apparently isn’t cheap and has issues with some of the newer bills. or they’d ask the clerks at stores what bills were what and fold them a certain way.

but a recent court ruling concluded that saying money shouldn’t be distinguishable to the blind is like saying there’s “no need to make buildings accessible to wheelchairs because handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask passers-by for help”.

i think that’s a bit dramatic, but there is a point to this, i suppose.

they’re stipulating that money must be redesigned either in varying sizes or with raised features so it can be distinguished. i don’t know about all this. the ramp issue is an issue of being able to go where you please – but with physical limitations come certain other limitations. in today’s check card society you can conduct your commerce pretty much anywhere, save for strip clubs (where visual impairment takes away almost all the magic, anyway) with a card and keypad. sure, there may be SOME limitations with cash, but they also have limitations at movies and, of course, driving. are we gonna create tollways for them with cushioned sides next?

i’m just saying…