23 June 2010

A Fair Go

It would be very nice to have a fair go. By that I don't mean going to a funfair. A fair go means that fairness should be the basis of fun, and life, and everything. Would you agree?

If you have ever been teased, bullied, harassed, insulted, discriminated against, deemed as unworthy, under-recognised, and/or your needs have been ignored in other ways, then perhaps you know what it is like not to receive a fair go.

How do you know if you always give a fair go to others?

Prejudice is a very interesting topic. I have a genetic visual impairment. It means that I have required corrective lenses in front of my eyes since about the age of twelve. My severe myopia has become gradually worse over the years but at least I am no longer teased about wearing spectacles, especially the hideous but cheap ones that were my only option when I first became a teenager.

One of my first investments, in my late teens, was to buy contact lenses. They cost me many weeks of hard-earned money from low paying jobs, and many hours of frustration and sore eyes to adapt to wearing them. My investment certainly boosted my confidence and self-esteem, but why did I need them boosting in the first place? Was there anything particularly wrong with wearing glasses?

If you have perfect vision, perhaps you are unaware of the struggles of people whose eyes are not as co-operative as your own. I know that I am fortunate that corrective lenses mean that I am able to see perfectly well with their assistance, with the right prescription. I know that I never take the ability to see for granted. I see the world with great appreciation for the details I could not see in my middle childhood, when I thought an out-of-focus world was the real one.

My education suffered as a consequence of my eye troubles but once I started wearing glasses, most people seemed to assume I was intelligent. It appeared to me that as soon as I put on a pair of spectacles, everybody thought I had a higher IQ than before. Even the teachers at school began to expect more of me in an academic sense. Why did that happen?

A picture of me in
prescription sunglasses

The pressure to perform to other people's standards has always been stressful for me. I have high enough standards of my own. Other people's expectations often do not consider my abilities, disabilities and/or personality. I have also met people who have been surprised that they like me because they "do not usually like people who wear glasses". How is that for prejudice!

I do not know what my IQ might be but I do know that people are often afraid that intelligent people may point out faults in their thinking. Perhaps they believe that those of us who wear glasses are more perceptive of faulty reasoning than most other people, and are more likely to point out such errors in thinking. All I ask is for a fair go, for everyone.

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