My Sister's Keeper


My Sister's Keeper

By Guest Author

David Lafleche

      Vito stopped when he noticed J.C. sitting at a desk near the stairwell. “Hey, J.C.! Everybody’s getting together for a pickup game at the ballpark. Wanna come?”

      “No time,” J.C. answered. “I need to stay here.”

      “Hall Monitor?” Vito wondered. “What’s up with that?”

      “You know the rumors,” J.C. explained. “Some girls have complained about guys hanging out too close to their locker room, fooling around. And right now, Rhoda is in there with her friend Mandy. They can’t see if some guy is looking for trouble, so I’m pretty much on guard duty.”

      “What, they can’t spare a girl to do that?”

      “No, they’re too busy. Besides, that’s my sister in there, and I want to make sure nobody hits up on her.”

Just then, Rhoda and Mandy came out of the locker room. Mandy had her dog, Beartrap. Rhoda had her cane. But neither of them could have been prepared for what happened next. As the girls entered the corridor, a string, unseen to anyone, shot across. Having no time to react, Rhoda tripped over it, sprawling on the floor. She was sore, but unharmed. Mandy and Beartrap reacted angrily. Rhoda was confused. “What in the world was that?!” she asked.

      Beartrap barked loudly, and pawed at a nearby door, apparently the source of the string. “I’ll tell you what it was!” J.C. growled as he opened the door. “It was HIM!”

      Brian, a teammate of his on the baseball team, had been in the janitor’s closet, waiting for the right moment for his prank. J.C. grabbed him by the collar, slamming him into the wall.

      “What do you think you’re doing, you punk!” he shouted. “I knew you were behind all those pranks, and now I’ve got proof!”

      “Oh, come on, J.C., lighten up!” Brian pleaded lamely. “I was just having a little fun!”

      “You call that ‘fun’? You could have killed her!”

      “Ah, she’ll get over it. But I suppose this means I’m suspended from the baseball team?”

      “Oh, more than you bargained for, punk! I’m going downtown and pressing assault charges! I’ll need you there, Rhoda. Mandy, do you want to come?”

     “I guess so,” Rhoda replied. “But it will have to wait till school’s over.

      “Dude, aren’t you being a little harsh?” Vito asked.

      “No way,” J.C. insisted. “To pull a stunt like that on a blind person, especially my own sister, is the lowest of the low. This punk needs to get the message.”

      Surprisingly, Mandy also took exception to this, though for her own reasons. “Excuse me, Mister Laval, O hero of the defenseless! Who asked you? Rhoda doesn’t need your help! She can fight her own battles! Tell him, Rhoda!”


e-mail responses to

**1. My neighbor allowed her dog to run anywhere she pleased unsupervised. One day, I came out of my house, WITH MY CANE, and tripped over the dog lying on my door mat. I broke my right wrist, scraped the side of my face and broke my glasses. Since no one witnessed the dog on my property, my neighbor argued that I couldn't prove her dog did the damage. I merely tripped because I am blind.

I wish my brother were there to see it happen. Inconsiderate and cruel people will never learn if they are not corrected swiftly. How much they will complain, however, when someone bullies them.

Some things are just NOT funny and this is one of them. This was a potentially dangerous situation and no amount of "Rhonda didn't get hurt," makes it any less so. What's next, let's trip Rhonda down the stairs, or let Rhonda in an elevator with the car missing? Ho Ho, that is really a hoot. Come on.

What do we want as blind individuals? I can't figure out what we want. We want things to help us make life accessible. We want to hear cars so we can cross the street, use canes, service dogs, adaptable equipment, braille, and anything else that makes life easier and independent for us. If we are tying so hard to gain a foothold in independence, how can we allow a bully to disrespect and undermine what is so hard won? How can all this equipment and ability stop a really cruel person? How does that help a blind person brave a cruel world when so much is against us already?

But then, someone has an issue with a brother who wants to make sure his blind sister isn't BULLIED. Sounds like a good and decent brother to any kind of sister to me. I wonder how this girl would feel if she broke bones, needed medical attention and had to be out of school for awhile all because someone thought it was funny to use string to trip her? This is seriously not amusing to me and Rhonda needs to get a grip. BECAUSE, I have no doubt that if Rhonda got hurt, she'd have no problem taking advantage of a sighted brother to take care of the otherwise independent things some bully screwed her out of.

Someone needs to get our backs now and then or we'd be road kill, on the bottom of the food chain and quite dispensable. Perhaps it is time to realize just how much the blind community needs, uses and requires sighted people in their lives to assist us, not harm us, just as we need to hear car engines and traffic noises. I see nothing wrong with admitting this. It is a bonafide fact.

Virginia Sblendorio Barnegat, NJ

**2. I think, to some extent, it's reasonable for a brother to want to protect his sister, whether she's blind or not. So, I didn't see any problem with him sitting outside the girl's locker room to guard against intruders. But, then the story gets a little odd.

First, it says " As the girls entered the corridor, a string, unseen to anyone, shot across." I'm not sure how a string could "shoot across" and be able to trip someone. The "string" would have to be attached at both ends to cause Rhoda to fall with the force described. Also, if the string was "unseen by anyone", that apparently includes Beartrap. But, nothing happened to Mandy. Beartrap, however, is apparently an extraordinary guide dog. He figured out, in seconds, where the "unseen" string came from; growled loudly and pawed at the door where the perpetrator was hiding. (A little out there, I think).

Getting passed that part, I can understand that J.C. would be angry, because his sister just fell and he didn't know how badly she was hurt. But, beyond that, I believe it's up to Rhoda to speak up for herself and confront Brian about what happened. She's not going to learn to be independent and speak up for herself, much less to protect herself, if her brother does everything for her.

I believe J.C. still has some to learn about the capabilities of blind people, and Rhoda has to learn to deal with people, herself, and not expect her brother to always watch out for her and decide the consequences, should anything happen.

Cindy Handel Willow Street, Pa.

**3. This story reminded me of a friend I met in guide dog training many years ago. She had been perfectly sighted all of her life, but then began having fevers which would result in loss of more and more vision. I remember feeling so terrible when she told me that her family really didn’t believe that she was having trouble with her vision and would set her up just like that with the string across the door to see if she would see it before she hit it. I can remember feeling this was so cruel. Here she was trying to adjust from being an orthopedic nurse, assisting in surgery and driving her car to losing her profession and having to get a guide dog, and her family had to test her. What that led to was her eventual suicide, and she had no JC to defend her honor. She was a perfectly wonderful young woman and even tried to manage on her own away from her family for a while, but they talked her ion to going back to all of that which is what took her from us.

We do have to defend others from time to time when we see a grievous wrong like this, something which doesn’t happen often enough.

Dianne B. Phelps Napa, California

**4. The guest author needs to do some research on his characters. A guide dog (Bear Trap) will not bark in public which has been trained by a reputable school, or owner. Second, a guide will not go scratching at a door as depicted, that sort of behavior is not acceptable. Those are actions of an uncontrolled, untrained pet.

Otherwise, what's wrong with a brother looking out for his sister blind or not?
The question that may need to be asked is if "JC" would do the same if "Rhoda"
was sighted. Since "no one" could see the string this prank could have been pulled on any person, blind or not.

I find it interesting that the title is a twist on the verse from Genesis 4:9 where Cain asks God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain was trying to hide the fact that he'd killed his brother. ... what does the author mean by the implication?

Another weakness in the tale is the author mentions Mandy having her own reasons for not liking JC's actions, but no effort is made to explore, or understand those reasons. Why then are we told this? I would have a stronger affinity if Rhoda told her brother to mind his own business, not her friend. Who cares about her other than she has an unruly guide dog? Sorry, I think you missed the mark with this one.

Randy & Clark who does not bark in public, nor does he go scratching at doors, or leave my side when he is actively guiding.

**5. This story did not ring true. I realize I can't know what goes through a blind person's mind, but I feel Mandy had no business butting in, any more than Vito had in questioning JC, who at least was trying to protect his sister from something that she could not have foreseen. Obviously Rhoda could not fight something she could neither see nor hear. What Brian passed off as "fun" could have had tragic consequences. Mandy was more concerned with Rhoda's independence than her safety, and Vito just didn't get it. Might they both have felt differently had Brian pushed Rhoda into moving traffic, just having fun? While I would not advocate hiding under the bed in fear, there are some things a blind person cannot protect against.

Carolyn Gold Clearwater FL

**6. this thought provoker raises an interesting question, namely, to what extent should we, as blind people, be expected to respond on our own to demeaning actions done to us by others and, related to this, how much help should we want or expect from well-meaning sighted people in responding to such actions. Others have already discussed some of the implausible plot elements in this story--the erratically behaving guide dog, the invisible string that can magically extend across a hallway--so I will not touch upon those here. I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the story is plausible as it stands. Given that, the situation it presents seems relatively straightforward. An older brother catches a bully in the act of playing a potentially injurious prank on his younger sister, who happens to be blind. The brother gets angry with the bully and, among other things, threatens assault charges. The little sister, as far as we know, stands mute, though the story ends with her friend, also blind, laying into her older brother for standing up for her. Thus, we simply do not know how she reacted, either immediately or later on, once she had the chance to collect herself and assess the situation. I do not have any siblings, nor am I entirely sure what the precise legal definition of assault is. However, I have to wonder how many of us, blind or sighted, want friends or relatives who would stand by and do absolutely nothing while someone intentionally caused us to trip and fall for his own sadistic amusement. Do we really want to live in a society in which each of us is entirely on our own to respond to the depredations of mean-spirited, small-minded bullies? The political philosopher Thomas Hobbes aptly describes life in such a society, a war of all against all, as "
solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." So before we happily eviscerate the unfortunate older brother who just saw his sister tripped up by a bully for coming to her aid, let us consider how much fun life would be if we could never rely on the help of others when ambushed and assaulted by someone we could not identify. It is extremely difficult, not to say impossible, to stop this kind of harassment without assistance, which is why a society that lacks basic security for the vast majority of its members is not a society at all. To be sure, we should not be passive bystanders in putting a stop to behavior, whether intentional or not, that directly threatens our security or bodily integrity, but if we often lash out at those who come to our aid in such situations, then we had better be prepared to become gun-toting survivalists who keep the rest of society at a distance. Independence, it seems, is too often conflated with prickly, insecure isolation in which we go to impractical extremes to demonstrate our capabilities to others who, in most cases, are far more impressed with a blind or otherwise disabled person who can handle his business in a calm and respectful manner than with one who lashes out at everyone who goes slightly overboard in offering assistance in situations that genuinely require it.

James Fetter
Department of Political Science

Adjunct Faculty, Program of Liberal Studies
University of Notre Dame

**7. I appreciate those who would crave literary perfection as it helps with continuity when reading a script or novel. But for a short story like this, it may be better to ignore whatever literary imperfections that exist so we can get down to the question the story is really asking which, in my mind, is about whether or not it's appropriate to defend a blind person against others and also, whether it's appropriate or not to play pranks on blind people.

For me, the bottom line which answers both questions is this: would you do it to a sighted person? If the answer is no, then don't. As a general rule, I would not suggest pranking anyone unless you know them well and the individual appreciates a good laugh now and again. As to defending a blind person against bullies, it's important to note that blind people have the ability to speak up. I think it's appropriate for others to step in provided that the "hero" understands that blindness doesn't inherently make one weaker or less able to defend themselves.
However, I think it's important for all of us to realize that we are a minority and hate crimes and other violence do happen to minorities. In that case, it is important for all of us to stand up together against hate crimes and similar actions regardless of our minority status/majority status. But for this little incident, I think the blind people in question can and should easily handle this practical joker.

Jedi Moerke Bellingham, WA

**8. J.C. is over reacting, in my thinking. True, Rhoda might have been hurt more than she was. Not more than missing a step or tripping over a crack in a sidewalk. A talking would have been more appropriate. I understand J.C.'s reaction, being it was his sister. Rhoda can and allowed to take care of herself. Big brother can't be around all the time to protect little sister.

jack Mindrup Omaha Ne

**9. Well, my thought is that everyone, sighted or blind, could use a friendly "keeper" every now and then. One thing not pointed out is that JC was able to legally identify the perpetrator. Have you ever listened to a blind person who has been a victim or close witness of a violent crime, try and get the authorities to listen to them, only to be told that sight is required to identify someone as hearing is unreliable? I had a blind friend who had this happen -- a family member brutalized, and she the only witness as the family member had alzheimers and couldn't testify. She was told "Sorry, there is nothing we can do," and that because she was blind.

As for JC's overprotectiveness of her sister, I think this is normal, and if Rhoda feels smothered by it she should just join the nfb and assert herself more. There is not always a prankster in the vicinity. In the situation in the story, JC I think was doing the right thing -- she wasn't there to help the poor blind kids find their way to classes, she was there because of a known troublemaker that posed a threat.
I'm sorry if I'm wimping out of fighting the bully on this one, but as I said, everyone could use a friend now and then.
Happy trekking.


**10. I came across Thought Provoker a while back when I was doing some research for the proposed Independent Living Older Blind(ILOB) website for Washington residents. I really want to include this in a link as I think it’s a really interesting way to get people to talk about issues related to blindness, stereotypes, and independence. (If I remember correctly, I spent an afternoon reading some of them.)

First, seriously, people need to accept that all of the thought provokers are not going to be literary perfection. Duh.

Second, I think it’s really interesting the two different reactions. Praise for the brother or let Rhoda take care of herself. So, even in a community, created out of a

common element, you have varied responses.

Third, I wonder what responses would be like if the two girls were sighted, but of course that sort of defeats the purpose of the thought provokers.

My response: I’d like to hear what Rhoda says to her brother. And I agree with Mandy. If people are constantly living in imposed protection, are they truly living? I have a younger brother. I might have responded similarly to JC just because he’s my brother, but probably not because I felt like he could not defend himself. And, here’s some honesty: a year and a half ago, I got a temp job at some office agency called the Department of Services for the Blind. I had no idea what to expect. And, I was amazed, honestly. Now, I realize how mundane it really is, at least for somebody long practiced in it. I think the best experience for me was to watch the new OTC students come in with no confidence and graduate with the confidence to take on the world. (My office was located in the heart of the OTC.) Prior to this experience, I’m not sure how I would have reacted in the exact situation JC finds himself in. And, while I champion each and every client that comes across my desk describing family members who are being over-protective, I still wonder what I would do in those situations… On the other hand, I was raised by a family full of teachers and believe that the independence to think, to
function, to grow is the most important life-skill to learn.

Cheers, KC

**11. To speak quite, Frankly, CinarioJC was wrong; but, I don't feel it's quite enough to say just whether he was wrong or right, no matter what the side you may be on. I think we need to examine this at two levels.

1. The blindness factor certainly played a part in this; but, also, I think in this rather unique case, we need to look even beyond that.

2. The natural love of JC. for his sister was also part of what was going on here. He would have been angry at the prank even if Rota wasn't blind. Yes, of course, it goes without saying that Rota's blindness added some weight to what J.C. was doing, but, how much? Did J.C. honestly suppose Rota unable to fend for herself at all? Could one even speculate whether perhaps J.C. was over protective of his blind baby sister; assuming of course that she was younger than he?

There are many factors which play in to this; and, not all of them are blindness related. Yet, it cannot be denied that blindness was indeed a factor. The real question before us, at least as I see it is this. Just how much of a factor his Rota's blindness?

Another factor we need to take in to consideration is this. How willing is Rota willing to stand up for herself? IF she comes from an over protective home environment where J.C. bosses her around and won't let her lift a finger to help around the house, then, as I see it, the answer must be surely that Rota fending for herself is quite a novel concept. Now, on the other hand, one cannot help observe the remark by Rota's friend that she can take care of herself. this remark suggests that Rota's friend has been gently trying to pull her out of her shell and perhaps succeeding on a small scale. Now, in the sanario we are given, Rota has the chance to stand up for herself; even against her own brothers seeming act of love which really is actually an act of over protection. Now comes the question we don't get the answer to. How will Rota respond?

Sincerely, Ray Foret NFBtalk mailing List

**12. The rugged individual versus the Village.

In our struggle for equal status as first class independent citizens, we blind folks often overlook our need for interdependency. We are, after all, members of this village we call the United states of America.

In our struggle to take our place, shoulder to shoulder with our sighted brothers and sisters, we sometimes get to shouting, "Yes I can, Yes I can!" and forget that no one really stands alone. We must remember that our independence is built upon our interdependency as a People. While we put our energy in establishing our individual independence, we need also to learn what our role is, as a member of this great village.

This Thought Provoker is an example of what goes on today across our nation. We each go about doing what we think is the right thing to do for the good of our village.

Here we see the outcome. Rather than settling a situation in a positive manner, J.C. has escalated a thoughtless prank into a major confrontation that spills out of control.

What a different story this would have been if students had met and discussed the concerns and decided on some plan of action.

A major piece of being independent is knowing when to act and what to do. This comes from being interdependent.

Of course, this is why we organize. We understand that many minds give us individual wisdom. But, like the characters in this story, many blind men and women are acting independently, doing what they believe is the right thing to do. They fail to see the value of the Organized Blind. They forget our history and what the world was like for the individual blind person prior to the coming together and collective thinking and focused actions.

Carl Jarvis Washington

**13. Interesting, J.C is a little overprotective of his sister but a continuum of pranks on handicapped people is harassment.

Brian does need to have to face the consequences of his ill humored pranks but I would have taken him to whatever school authorities were available before I pressed criminal charges. (never said if this was high school or college)

Harassment of a minority could be deemed to be a “hate” crime and could carry long term consequences which could have unintended life altering ramifications if the person was convicted.

Having a felony on your record will, most likely, disqualify one from many, many opportunities in the business and social world.

Now, when I was a young blade I would have solved the problem on the spot by communicating with Brian in terms he could easily understand.

J.C. does need to ease up on his protective attitude and also realize that his sister is no more special than any other handicapped youth. Handicapped girls in particular are easy targets for those who have less than honorable intentions and, unfortunately, someone does need to keep watch for their safety.

Cy, The Anasazi

**14. You deal with it by simply handling it your-self. simple as that.

Justin NFB Writers' Division Mailing List

**15. I have conflicting thoughts about this thought provoker.

We have two blind women coming down the hall; one using a guide dog, the other a cane. All of a sudden a string appears. A string, questionable, I feel a string would be too inadequate to trip somebody. So I’ll take it upon myself to say this was a nylon cord that is across the hall. I have problems with this scenario. JC the “over protective brother” doesn’t see this cord stretched across the hall, unlikely. So let’s say the nylon cord is on the floor leading to the door in question. The door is shut, we learn this when JC opens it and finds Brian there. We also learn this is a janitor’s closet. So the likelihood of there being a window in the door is highly improbable. My question is how did Brian see the women coming down the hall to raise the cord enough to trip Rhoda? I might be over analyzing this narrative, however there is no way possible that without that door opened the cord could be pulled taught enough and high enough to trip Rhoda or anybody. You have perhaps an inch space under that door, so please explain Brian find his way into it?

For arguments sake lets say the unlikely elements of this situation all are reasonably valid. Rhoda has fallen. She must have very poor cane traveling skills for her cane not to have found that so called string. In any case she is now sprawled on the floor. However let’s not forget Mandy and her search and rescue guide dog. I’ve been a guide dog user for thirty plus years. I have yet to hear any of my dogs bark when in harness. Yes an occasional growl, which I quickly reprimanded them for. In any case, Manndies guide dog barks at somebody behind a door. Not only that the dog takes Mandy over to the door and begins to paw it. Mandy and her search and rescue guide dog has found the perpetrator behind the door. Wonder where she went for her guide dog? All of my dogs must have missed that part of training. In any case in this narrative let’s say for argument sakes everything is valid.

We have a confused Rhoda on the floor. JC angrily opens this door. Low and behold he finds Brian, the person who is responsible for this transgression against his poor helpless blind sister. JC fury in his actions. He grabs Brian by the collar and slams him into the wall. What does JC say? That he is going to press assault charges against Brian. Well the way I see this, Brian could press assault charges against JC for his actions.

OK I over analyzed this article. I personally found too many inconsistencies to take this seriously. The underlying topic of this document is an over protective brother. Yes I guess JC loves his sister who just happens to be blind. However by his watching out for her, the contrary is true. He is really in my opinion impeding her development. Gee I wonder what her home life is like. Do you think they allow her off the couch, or are they afraid she might hurt herself?

I feel it is unfortunate for Rhoda that she has a brother like this. I feel part of growing is to see the world as it is. I’ve met along the way to adulthood those who want to take advantage of those with a disability, and those who look passed the disability and see the person. Rhoda won’t have her big brother there her entire life to make certain nobody hurts, or takes advantage of her. She lives in the real world where not everybody obeys the perfect law abiding lifestyles.

Peter Poliey published author and poet

**16. Years ago my younger brother lived the ultimate life of the "hippie." I, on the other hand, attended a private religious university. One day my brother picked me up at school, and we went to pick up his girl friend to go camping with our family. During the time we were at their house, she swore a blue streak about something. I was in another room of the house, but I heard her and I heard my brother say to her, "Don't you EVER swear in front of my sister!" I loved my brother, and when he said that to his girl friend, I knew he loved and respected me too. I never would have told her that. And if I had, she would have thought I was a sniveling, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou. The brother and sister in this Thought Provoker remind me of me and my brother. Brothers and sisters have special relationships which transcend disabilities. I'm glad my blind younger brother respected me enough to stand up for me.

Janis Stanger

**17. Have we ever considered that the reason blind people need sighted assistance at times is because the world refuses to make the world accessible? Most things can be done independently, especially with the advent of technology.

It is wrong to hurt anyone, disabled or not, but the point is that the blind are not more likely to be victims. Despite what some think, we are not in any more danger than those with sight. When will we learn that the training and tools allow us to function at the same level? I grow weary of fighting this point. I am told over and over how this view is wrong, yet I live and practice it everyday. Apparently I do not live in reality.

We should not rail and brow-beat, but we can take a stand, and we can correct those who have a wrong mind-set. I guess it is difficult to convince the world of our abilities, though, when the blind won't accept the truth either.

Bridget Pollpeter Omaha, Nebraska

**18. I'm responding to KC's comment in number ten that it would defeat the purpose of discussing Rhoda's and Mandy's experience if they weren't blind. I think it's perfectly valid and I think we should do so. If they were not sighted, we would probably discuss the appropriate role of men in relationship to women (protectors or non-protectors). We would probably hear responses about how women are more vulnerable than men, and we would also hear from those who claim that women are too defensive and need to learn how to accept help from men either for protection sake or simply out of good manners and respect for the fact that men are still trying to be gentlemen in an era of heavy-handed feminism and political correctness.

at this point, what we are really asking ourselves is this: what is our role in relationship to the sighted? are we weaker and more vulnerable?
Are we in need of greater help than anyone else? Do they need to help and protect us? Should we ask them to let us fend for ourselves? Should we gladly take their help? What would be the consequences of any of these actions or responses?

I don't think blind people are inherently vulnerable or helpless, but I think we become so because we think we are and the sighted often (out of good will) mirror that perception back to us or push it on us in the first place. They're used to doing things with sight. For them, sight means awareness of one's surroundings and how to deal with them; we have unfortunately accepted that notion. The fact is that sight in and of itself does not spell awareness or the ability to protect oneself.
Look at the many sighted victims of violent crime and the many blind people who know how to defend themselves as evidence. I think that every blind person (as well as every person in general) should learn self-defense basics including how not to be a victim and communities should provide these lessons in some form that's both meaningful and affordable to all who come to learn.

I think the sighted can come to recognize us as aware and able, but we will have to force the issue even though it's often mightily uncomfortable to do so. The sighted claim they want to be educated, but many of them are often uncomfortable with the education they receive from some of us because it brings up their prejudices and stereotypes.
No one likes to deal with those head on and we especially see that in racial discourse. Just as no one would like to believe that there is still racism, people would like to think even less that their sympathy and good will damage us because it's built on the foundation of prejudice. It's uncomfortable to hear and even more to say. But that's the nature of it, and we're not doing ourselves justice if we don't recognize that.

So what about over-defensiveness on the part of the blind? Everyone has different thresholds for what they're willing to put up with from the sighted and that's okay. Some basic communication competencies are all that's needed to communicate either a desire for help or a desire to be left alone. Since communication is a two-way street, I do not advise the blindness community to take full responsibility for how the sighted perceive and receive us, especially when we do refuse their help. If we do, we will burn ourselves out. If they're upset because we said no, let them be upset. So long as we each communicate what we want and don't want both clearly and effectively, that's enough. As a community, I think we should tell the sighted that whether or not we need help should not be left up to them and should be left up to each individual blind person as it pertains to them. We should advocate helping relationships between the blind and sighted so long as they are built in mutual respect and equality in rights and responsibilities. Believe it or not folks, we can have our cake and eat it, too! But if we're going to systematically change how the sighted think about us, we must systematically challenge how we think about ourselves. When KC asked us to think about how we've feel if Rhoda and Mandy were sighted, I found a perfect opportunity to get to our real question regarding the role of the sighted in our lives. I suggest each of you do likewise and see where it takes you. Perhaps you will find some misconceptions about yourselves as blind people and start working on them. After all, the sighted cannot be expected to treat us as equals until we feel in our heart of hearts that we are.

Jedi Moerke Bellingham, WA

**19. I never had any relatives defend me when someone played tricks on me that I didn't like, so I had to fend for myself. I have had people, though, defend me when they saw someone not willing to move out of their way for me or hold the door open for me. Yes, it was nice of them to defend me, but that often made me feel strange because I've always taken the responsibility to speak up for myself. So, I would often tell the person defending me, "Thank you. That was nice of you, but you didn't have to do that."

Linda MN

**20. I am the author of this THOUGHT PROVOKER,
David Lafleche- I understand I've made a serious mistake in my assessment of guide dogs in this
story. Up to now, all of my research has focused entirely on the physical causes
and results of blindness. I have not had any time at all to read up on the subject
of guide dogs. However, that is not an excuse. As a researcher, I need to get my
facts straight, and I do regret the error.