December 15, 2008

Blind advocacy group slams ‘SNL’ sketch

The National Federation of the Blind is criticizing Saturday Night Live for a comedy sketch the organization describes as an attack on all blind Americans.

The biggest problem faced by blind people is not blindness itself, but the stereotypes held by the general public about blindness and blind people, Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, said in a statement Monday. The idea that blind people are incapable of the simplest tasks and are perpetually disoriented and befuddled is absolutely wrong. This misconception contributes to an unemployment rate among blind people that stubbornly remains at 70 percent.

Danielson said the organization is disappointed Saturday Night Live depicted New York Gov. Paterson in a comedy routine that focused almost exclusively on his blindness.

Attacking the governor because he is blind is an attack on all blind Americans -- blind children, blind adults, blind seniors, and newly blinded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Danielson said. The National Federation of the Blind urges the producers of 'Saturday Night Live' to consider the serious negative impact that misinformation and stereotypes have on blind people before continuing in this unfortunate vein of humor.