This is an interesting topic that was picked up from the book, "Mask of Benevolence” written by Dr. Harlan Lane. When it was written about the African Community, I was disheartened how much negativity was imposed on them and here you can see what was said... (showing the list)…That was when the Europeans came and studied the Africans then wrote about them how they were uncivilized and that they need to be civilized that fits into their culture. What an ugly list for the Africans, it is a reflection of the Europeans’ desperate need to control them and this is to justify their actions as civilizing an uncivilized people. Like Harlan Lane, I find that striking similar of what hearing experts have so often claimed about Deaf people.
Lane developed a list of the characteristics of deaf people according to the hearing experts in charge of their affairs who give these descriptions in their professional journals and in their textbooks for twenty years. See it for yourself... (showing the list)...
It is a disturbing and appalling list that these descriptions come from studies published in professional journals! Lane said that this is how we portray deaf people to young hearing people who are in training to become their teachers, their doctors, their social workers, and so on. Imagine that!
I am questioning on the reason and the purpose behind this. We already know for a fact that the Europeans colonized the Africans so could it be that it is a reflection of the hearing’s desperate need to impose their will on deaf children by colonizing them?
Here are some examples:
They said: The deaf have poor social awareness.
It really means: I wish my deaf pupils or clients would do what hearing people do in this situation.
They said: The deaf are isolated.
It really means: They can’t understand me or other hearing people and they can’t communicate with us.
They said: These deaf children are disobedient, immature and impulsive.
It really means: I wish they could do what I tell them to do; it’s hard enough teaching them anything without their disobeying.
Africans and Deaf people appear to have one more thing in common:
They are incompetent socially, cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally.
All traits are unfavorable and negative. The inconsistencies of the trait attributions and their negativity must lead us to suspect that we are dealing in both cases the psychology of the native and the psychology of the deaf not with objective descriptions but with stereotypes.
When developing a philosophy that promotes, whatever that is, for example, banning the use of signs, means that everything will be ok. But in reality, it divided the Deaf Community that caused fighting in between because of this oral philosophy. It is just the same for the Africans facing division because of the interference of the Europeans and for the hearing to promote this kind of philosophy that separates the Deaf. This is based on what the author, Dr. Harlan Lane wrote from his research.
Acting on these stereotypes, hearing administrators of schools for Deaf child have needlessly turned away countless normal Deaf children; psychiatrists acting on these stereotypes have needlessly institutionalized countless Deaf adults in American mental hospitals (how many Deaf people do you know ended up there?); acting on these stereotypes daily set absurdly low goals for Deaf children and approach those goals with inept (lacking in reasoning) means.
Paternalism’s ignorance is self-serving. It is designed to reassure benefactors of the rightness of what they are doing, to protect them from the need for change, and to protect their economic interests. This is what was quoted by Lane who himself is hearing and he knows what he is talking about.
If the profession of Deaf education acknowledged that Deaf children have a language and that manual language is the best way to educate these children, then Deaf adults would once again enter the profession (as they did in the last century) and hearing people would lose their monopoly.
Just like how it happened during the infamous decision from the Milan Conference in 1880 declaring the ban on manual language in schools for the Deaf that eventually banned Deaf teachers to practice in the profession. Oralism was on the rise causing them to lose their jobs that hearing took over. It is all about having their own economic interest. Now what about today? It looks like history is repeating itself. Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) bans sign language that they thought they would be better off without using signs. They are the ones taking the profits. Cochlear implant industries benefit from these economic opportunities as well. Could it happen for the Deaf to be out of teaching professions again? No way! We, the Deaf, have the right to be a part of the process. We need to see how the Early Intervention professionals are mostly involved by hearing people. Where are Deaf people involved in this profession? This is an ongoing concern.
Paternalism and money are inseparable!
Now tell me what do you think about certain organizations or industries making money out of Deaf babies, children and adults?
Note: When I mention about "Hearing" people, it is referred to those who don't promote natural signed language, don't respect the Deaf Community, act as oppressors and force the Deaf to use oral method that is against their will.