Posted by: Ophelia | May 20, 2008

Federal appeals court rules that it isn’t fair to make people guess how much money is in their wallet

The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills’ varying values, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday (USA Today)

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

Very snarky, and very apt.

There’s no word yet as to whether there will be an appeal, and there’s no guarantee of action to remedy the issue. Still, I have to say that I’m pleased that there’s been an acknowledgment of the ableist nature of paper currency in the US. If the government could afford to mint those Sacagawea coins that no one uses, one would think that they could put some measures into place so the visually impaired could identify their money.

More at: Fox News, Star Tribune(I nicked the photo up top from here)



  1. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to depend on someone else to tell me how much money I have. Maybe the cynic in me is showing, but I wouldn’t trust people.

    And I agree, “very snarky, and very apt.”

  2. In Canada, milk comes in bags. Also, our bills have different colors for each denomination, and we have braille on our bills too.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to do. I mean, is it expensive to implement braille on a dollar bill?

  3. Having to trust someone to let you know the value of your money puts the blind in a position to be exploited. I cannot imagine that it would be that difficult to make changes to currency. Canadian money has such features on it already. Since the US is already the worlds most counterfeited bill, you would think that they would welcome an opportunity to increase security measures.

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