3. Speech isn’t a reliable indication of race

Obasogie considers voice and accent to be “secondary measures” that help clue a blind person on someone’s race. The professor found that while some of the people he interviewed said they relied on voice to determine a person’s race, it wasn’t always accurate, which could lead to some interesting situations. (See bullet number 2, dating.)

“Often an accent was an unreliable marker of difference — and they’d hear an accent and assume that person was of a certain race but then were told that no, [the person] wasn’t. So a number of blind people were told at a very young age to not rely on accents.” (Obviously, this is just as true for those of us with sight. Speech is just not an accurate marker of someone’s race.)

Trying to play guess the accent can trip you up. But combining that with other senses, Obasogie said, like touch — for example, feeling differences in skin or hair textures — might help someone who is blind conjure a better sense of another person, almost a visual sense.