Learn English – Non-ableist alternative to “blind spot”


The phrase "blind spot" has been called ableist. For someone looking to avoid it, what are some good alternatives?

Sample sentences:

  • We need to be aware of our blind spots to make sure a competitor doesn't surprise us in the market.
  • Employee morale has been a blind spot for us in the past, but Sarah is doing a great job of tracking it now.
  • Quentin has good ideas when it comes to pricing strategy, but she has a blind spot when it comes to the best way to present a proposal.

Best Answer

A Blind Spot is not a term about blind people but the anatomy of the human eye. The optic nerve that brings information from the retina to the brain is off-center of the eye, not directly opposite the lens. Where this bundling occurs the light sensing capabilities of the eye are very weak. With binocular vision the weakness in each eye is compensated. Even with one eye it is so slight that one can barely notice. It takes closing one eye and staring with the other at a particular target to notice the weak spot off to the side in the peripheral vision.

And for what its worth blind people happily use "See you later" and related expressions with no fuss or aggrieved embarrassment. Those hoping to find forgiveness by correcting their "ableist" thinking can never wash the sin from their hands this way. I was told this by my piano teacher, yes blind, among others.

To answer Sophie's considerate comment I will add that it is not etymology but accurate anatomy that is the solution to the question. Blind Spot is a perfectly accurate and acceptable use of a human anatomical shortcoming. One of many we have and of which we must humbly admit when describing complex interactions where we may fail to see all the incoming information. I am happy if sorry to admit my limitations. Blind Spot needs no apologist nor apology. Thank you.

I would normally agree strongly with Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica and thanks for the comment. But no apologies this time. This is not the question of which term might be better. The premise is mistaken and pernicious. That is to control speech or what we use here, writing, in order to solve a fictive problem. Things move rapidly from preferred speech codes to required speech codes and they do so starting right here.