Prejudice, collaboration, and focus

Today, I was lucky to participate in a dinner in the darkness by my friend Gina Badenoch and her foundation Ojos Que Sienten, supporting the blind community in the world — their voice, their abilities.

The night took us into a journey of a one hour dinner, totally blinded. You cannot see the hand in front of you, you cannot understand the distance between you and the people around you — and you have a blind person, as your server (we didn’t know that initially).

At the end, lights turned on, and, after reflecting a bit on the experience, we met our waiters… after feeling totally close to them during the one hour dinner, as they were the ones saving us, we looked at them, in the same fashion that our society looks at people with disabilities, with prejudice. And it was in that moment that I realized how there is so much, so much that our brain does with stereotypes — and it’s hard to change, but real. When you see someone with a disability, you feel different to them, completely ignoring everything else. But, as Gina rightly said… they also have a voice.

The night continued, to more reflection, as well as a friendly auction of photographs taken by blind people — some at the several appearances of Ojos Que Sienten around the world.

And, at the end, I could not help but to go directly to Jesus, our server, to say thank you and give him a hug — no, this time, I didn’t look at him with the same eyes as I would have if I had run into him in the street.

That was not it though. This experience can be summarized in learning about 1) prejudice, the prejudice we have of things and people we see; 2) collaboration, the collaboration that we naturally turn into as human beings, when we feel in disadvantaged situations; and 3)focus: the focus that we place in certain things, when we lack others.

How does technology play a role here? THAT… I will tell you about in my next post.

Have an awesome night, and “here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently… because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Steve Jobs)