Blind people are planning protests outside movie theaters in three Iowa cities on Friday, upset over the new film called "Blindness." Michael Barber, president of the Iowa chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, says the movie perpetuates society’s fears and misconceptions about blindness.
Barber says: "It portrays blindness in such a way that it makes blind people look incompetent. It makes us look helpless. It makes us look immoral. It makes us look filthy. It shows everything about blindness that’s bad." The film reinforces common stereotypes and myths, he says, and the demonstrations are an effort to set the record straight.
Barber says protests are planned outside theaters in Sioux City and Ames, while he’ll be with a group outside a theater in metro Des Moines. "There’ll probably be 20 or 30 of us there protesting," Barber says. "We have various signs with different slogans. One of the signs says, ‘I’m not an actor but I do play a blind person in real life.’ We’re not going to stop people from seeing the movie, but we just want them to understand that what they see in there is myth. It is not real."
In the storyline of the Miramax movie, the inhabitants of an unnamed city suddenly go blind and chaos quickly reigns. He says the film makes it appear that blind people are unable to carry out even the simplest tasks, like taking care of personal hygiene, finding their way to the bathroom, bathing or even dressing themselves.
"Real blind people in life are successful attorneys, parents, community leaders, mechanics, college professors, whatever. We’re just like sighted people," Barber says. Protests are planned outside nearly 100 theatres nationwide this weekend. For more information, visit the National Federation of the Blind website .