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The Source: Being Blind In America

Paul Flahive
Kuusisto describes his vision as "like a Jackson Pollock painting."

Blindness affects millions of Americans, but is still an uncommon disability. Stephen Kuusisto was born with retinas that weren't fully developed and were damaged further by an overly oxygenated incubator. He underwent several surgeries as a child but was never able to gain much sight, describing his vision as "like looking at a Jackson Pollock painting."

Now a celebrated author, poet, and professor of disability studies, he teaches the awareness he hoped to achieve in his two memoirs, "Planet of the Blind" and "Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening." 

Over half of all the working-aged visually impaired people can't find work according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many blind people describe having to overcome people's biases as the biggest barrier to gaining even entry level jobs.

What is the state of being blind in America today? When we talk about civil rights, do we dismiss disability and the disabled? 

*This is the first segment in the April 8 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive