Blogger Ashley Bernard smiles for the camera

Let’s face it, the world will end someday.

Zombies and nuclear energy compete for the top method of human demise – but Netflix’s Bird Box has other ideas.

In a world overrun by creatures that cause insanity upon first glimpse, it’s only natural that whoever hasn’t seen these beings would attempt to survive by using their vision as little as possible.

The story follows one woman as she survives against all odds in order to get herself and her children to safety, training the kids to listen for danger and teaching herself to see with her other senses as she navigates this new and treacherous world blindfolded. She and a group of surviving housemates find a box of birds which they leave outside to alert them of danger, hence the name “Bird Box.”

It sounds like the perfect opportunity to teach people about blindness, but society has turned it into quite the opposite. Viewers across the world are now slapping on blindfolds for the #BirdBoxChallenge to attempt driving, crossing streets, lighting candles and beyond while “blind.”

People come away injured or, at the very least, with the notion that being blind is scary and dangerous.

What they should be taking away from this movie is that blind people are perfectly capable of succeeding, as the main protagonist does. After all, she didn’t learn how to live life blindfolded overnight – and you won’t either.

With my lifetime of experience as a blind person, I can cross a street and light a candle, but none of that came naturally.

While I’m all about a good suspense film and furthering the discussion on blindness, there is such thing as bad press – and the Bird Box challenge is exactly that.

By popularizing this notion that being blind is frightening, society is taking all of its subscribers and throwing them into their own bird box; caging themselves in with their misconceptions screaming “Danger, danger!” until someone sets them free.

Do you want to be the bird in the box? I think not.

So here’s what you could do. Watch the movie and read the book. No really, all this aside, it’s a pretty great plot.

Challenge yourself not to the #BirdBoxChallenge, but to a challenge which will allow for learning about blindness in a positive way.

Maybe learn how to use the computer without the screen, or teach yourself braille. Volunteer at an organization such as your local school for the blind, or at the very least, start reading more blogs like this one to better understand what our experience is really like.

You’ll probably find that not being able to see is not so daunting once you get the hang of things. Maybe we can’t drive like they do in the movie, but we could certainly cross streets, light candles, cook, work, and plenty of other things some people only dream they could do.

Don’t be the bird in the box. Don’t close yourself off from the world based on misinformation. For goodness sake don’t do the Bird Box challenge. Challenge yourself to stay accurately informed.

If the end of the world does result in being blind for survival, you’ll have the upper hand. There’ll be plenty of blind people around to guide you if you get stuck. Remember, we’re always willing to answer questions.

 

For more insight from Ashley, follow her on Twitter at @ShortShadyBlog.

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