It seems difficult for nondisabled people to write about disability without reflexively imagining what disabled people are missing or how difficult their lives must be. Rod Michalko, a sociologist who is blind, writes that sighted people typically conceive of “blindness in terms of ‘lack’-lack of sight. But this conception does not really help us understand what blindness itself is. It does not generate any curiosity about what blind people ‘see,’ since it defines reality in terms of the physical sense of sight …. Sighted people seldom question these preconceptions.” Stephen Kuusisto, a blind writer, tells of the expressions of pity he encounters so often on the street: “I want to take strangers by the hand and tell them there is no abyss.” Similarly, deaf people are relentlessly depicted in popular film as pining away their days regretting their inability to enjoy music (usually classical music, which one would think from these movies has a central place in most American households).
– Douglas Baynton, Review: Laura Bridgman and the History of Disability, Source: Reviews in American History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 227-235.