New York Governor David Paterson said this week he didn’t become fully comfortable with his disability until fairly recently. Instead, he said, he sought to hide his blindness over the years, rejecting a cane or seeing eye dog for fear of being beaten up.
“It was hard for me to get the social services people to understand that,” he said. “They said, ‘They’d never attack a person with a cane.’”
“I said, ‘You don’t know the folks in my neighborhood. When they see a white cane, they see that you can’t identify the perpetrators.’”
As he got older, he said he wouldn’t even pick up change if he dropped it because he didn’t want people to see him crawling around on the floor.
“These are the ancillary disabilities from which people suffer,” Paterson said. “It’s not just the physical disability, it’s how they make you feel as a human being. And that’s the reason that a lot of people try to hide that.”