Of Blindness, Miami University, and its Happy Trolls…

I read this morning about a blind student at Miami University (in Ohio) who has essentially been forced to file a lawsuit against the college for its use of inaccessible course materials. What does it mean if you’re disabled and you’re forced to file a lawsuit? It means the school or business or “entity” has refused to acknowledge it’s in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Well OK. Any sophomore pre-law student knows this. That administrators at Miami U seem not to understand their obligations is surprising. A cursory online search of the matter should have produced for their middling minions enough information to have assisted them in avoiding bad press and a loser lawsuit.

Two things caught my attention at the bottom of the article. A Miami spokesman is still quoted as saying “we did nothing wrong”—which is rather foolish. Zip it. Zip. Get on with your 21st century obligations, really.

The second thing that grabbed me was a “troll” who wrote: “They have blind colleges, you know.”

I love trolls. Especially ableist ones. “They can go away, you know. They can go back to their asylums, you know. They can return to the attic, you know.” The voice of the ugly laws. “We shouldn’t have to see them, you know.”

The troll in question is perfect. He makes the requisite pro-forma trollish assertion, the necessary one, the one that’s never factual, but which establishes trollish dominance: “There are blind colleges, you know.”

There are no blind colleges.

And the ADA is designed to integrate our public sphere.

Troll drinks milk and iodine and farts a frog.

Troll has never met a blind person.

Troll thinks books and course materials should be reserved for sighted people.

Even Stalin didn’t believe that.

In general, the idea that the blind couldn’t be taught to read went out of fashion in the early 18th century.

Shame on Miami U, not just for a violation of the ADA, but for giving a sub-Cartesian idiot room to clatter around in.