Bright vs White.
There is an interesting debate in the visually impaired world as to whether a cane (the long white metal object used by visually impaired people to get around safely), should stay white or be colourful to represent a persons’ individuality.
Here are the arguments I have come across:
- People should be allowed to show their individuality.
- a cane should be seen as an accessory as well as an aid.
- Visually impaired people will feel more comfortable using a cane if it is coloured.
- Those that already own a coloured cane have received compliments on their colourful/ sparkly cane.
- If having canes in different colours encourages children to use them, adults/ parents are more welcoming of it.
- Having a coloured cane extinguishes the prejudice of the stereotypical blind person.
- People are too busy in their daily thoughts that they barely pay attention to a person using a cane in the first place. – Changing colour would make no difference to the public’s ignorance.
- People recognise the cane for what it is, and the action in which it is used.
- Coloured handle/ grip and ball, but the main part should stay white. It gives individuality while still being a universal symbol.
- White is the Universal colour of canes to represent to the public that a person has limited or no vision.
- White canes with red strips signal visual and hearing impairment.
- Changing the colour would then not distinguish hearing impairments either.
- Having different colours means the public will not know what each colour represents, this can therefore confuse the public.
- The public can barely differentiate between a standard cane and a red and white one.
- A white cane is part of the universal symbol to the public, it is also part of the highway code.
- If the colour were to change, would drivers take notice, and respect the person?
- If the highway code says to respect a white cane, to change it could potentially make the blind person liable, not the driver/ foot passenger, if an accident were to happen.
- Visually impaired people may not get the support from the public, that we sometimes need.
- If it were to change, would the public be aware?
- Public may not be as ready to offer help because they see it as a cool gadget/ accessory.
Looking at the arguments for and against, it all seems to come down to personal preference, whether to accessorise a cane or not essentially it’s a case of what each person deems as a priority.
Do they want to look snazzy, safe, or both?
Personally if there was an option of changing the grip colour and ball/ tip and keeping the body of the cane white, I would probably go for that option. For me I am an individual, and it would be nice to show my individuality, with something I see as an extension of me.
However I do not agree with having coloured canes as a whole. Maybe for young children first learning to use a cane but I believe that as the white cane is a universal symbol,, it should stay that way.
I do agree that generally the public are too caught up in their own busy lives to really notice that you, as a visually impaired person, are even using a cane. But to me, white is the brightest colour, can be seen the furthest distance away, and is also the most reflective.
What would you choose?
Individuality, accessory or just plain and simple safety?
I would love to know your thoughts in the comments!