So, your characters are going off to fight your antagonist and save the world or whatever. How about taking their blind friend? Or, you know the blind protagonist? What advantages would that bring them?
An excuse that many writers of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction or just writers in general to be fair, try to use is that they don’t see how disabled people would cope in their world or they don’t see what use disabled people would be. But disabled people do have qualities that would make them good at surviving in difficult circumstances or even good at fighting and winning against antagonists.
For this post, I thought I’d take a look at how a blind character might be useful for helping your characters fight off an antagonist or even single handedly fighting back against an antagonist. I’m using blindness as an example, because I have first hand experience of being blind. However, I hope that this list will get your imagination going to think about what use other disabilities may be for defeating that antagonist.
Many blind people are actually not bad at physical fighting. I went to a judo club for blind people a few years ago and we were all quite good at throwing each other around. And all the skills you learn from that sort of environment can be transferable to self defence situations. It may be that other blind people have done other sorts of martial arts or self defence training, however judo is particularly accessible for blind people. An exception to this may be if the blind person is mobility impaired in some other way. But other than that, I don’t see why your blind character shouldn’t be allright in a fight.
Blind people are often good at picking up information with their other senses that most people would overlook. This is because, we are compensating for not having our sight. Many people misguidedly believe that we have enhanced other senses, which is totally not true. What is true, is that because we rely on our other senses more, by paying more attention to the information that they are giving us. Our brains have more attention to devote to our other senses because it is not devoting so much attention to visual input. It should be noted, that a blind person may not be able to make full use of their other senses if they have another disability that impacts those senses, for example deaf blind people have limitations on both their hearing and sight.
As an extension of the above, blind people assuming they’re not also hearing impaired, tend to listen more carefully to the way people say things. This means that we may be more likely to pick up subtle clues in a person’s voice, for example, if they’re lying, stalling for time, how they may be feeling and so on. This can all be useful information, when trying to keep ahead of the antagonist.
People underestimate us. This is rarely an advantage, but in this context it could be helpful. Society is so casually ableist, that many people do not believe that blind people are capable of doing anything. This means that we may be able to better the antagonist by taking them by surprise.
These are just a few ways in which a blind person would be useful for taking on an antagonist. Of course, the character should also have their own individual strengths and flaws, that are about them as a person. After all, a disability is part of a person’s experience, they are not defined by it.
So, are you ready to go battle that antagonist with a bunch of disabled characters by your side?