Late last week Glenn Beck made some offensive comments on his CNN Headline News program about braille signs on walls. Media Matters has a clip on their site.
The reality is that braille signage is extremely important for information and orientation purposes just like signage for anyone. And though we wish Mr. Beck would have thought twice before making such stupid remarks on national television, it has given us the opportunity to address some of the questions people have about braille in public spaces.
Lots of people probably wonder about braille signs, on elevators, next to office doors or hotel rooms, and everyone's favorite, drive-up ATMs. For the record, the signs are placed according to a standard to ensure that people who are blind do in fact know where to check— typically on the wall next to a door or next to an elevator button. And why are those drive-up ATMs accessible to people with vision loss? Ever stop to think that blind people use taxis (and, yep, go to ATMS), how about that?!
Glenn Beck didn't even pause to think about how braille might be used when he popped off about the silliness of braille signs in buildings. Glenn knows nothing about blindness or braille, and unfortunately for him, he's probably not really interested in learning either.
But, thanks, Glenn, for giving us an opportunity to remind the world just how helpful braille signs can be, and to make clear to the pitiful few who might actually look to Glenn for guidance that yes, braille signs are placed just where blind people can find them.