Iowa blind advocates (Steve being one of them) disagree over court ruling on paper money

Advocates Disagree…(click for complete article)

Updated May 20. 2008 6:04PM
By Diane Heldt
The Gazette
diane.heldt@gazettecommunications.com    

A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that paper money — indistinguishable by touch — is discriminatory to blind people was hailed by some advocates as a long-awaited step forward, while others said a change is unnecessary and plays into negative stereotypes about the blind.

Blind people have adapted and often fold money to distinguish the bills, but no longer would have to rely on others to help them if the Treasury Department makes bills of different sizes or prints them with raised markings, supporters of a change said.

"What’s at issue here is the ability to identify money without other people helping you," University of Iowa English Professor Steve Kuusisto, who is blind, said. "My view is, the most accommodations possible help the most people. To be opposed to accommodations that help people is narrow."

The American Council of the Blind sued for such changes, but the government has been fighting the case for about six years. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruling could force the Treasury Department to alter money, though the ruling is subject to appeal.

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