Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Diversity in Deafhood

I was taking a moment to reflect the diversity of Deafhood and realized that many of us had diverse experiences that we may had grown up in different ways not only to be Deaf, but to be human.  Before I go on, recall that whenever I type Deaf with a capital D, it refers to all walks of life.

You know diversity has been stressed in the book, Understanding Deaf Culture, In Search of Deafhood, that on pg. 469, it said that :

"Deaf people from every part of the world, of all ages and all colours - this diversity joined in unity. We celebrate our proud history, our arts and out cultures. And we celebrate our survival. Despite adversity and oppression we are still here ,and strong than before. But let us remember that we are meant to be here, alive as a part of the rainbow diversity of the human race. And today, let us remember that many of us and our ancestors have suffered at the hands of those who believe we should not be here. We are here to remember them too."

It also mentioned that we remember those Deaf people who were victims of Oralism in their education.

Click to see the

Blue Ribbon Ceremony Video (1999)


It looks like that those who don't read, "Understanding Deaf Culture, In Search of Deafhood" and don't do their homework can easily spur assumptions that got flying off the handle with plenty of spinning.  It has been observed that individuals who oppose the concept of Deafhood have received information from:
  • v/bloggers who falsely portray Deafhood (without a reference to the book)
  • certified Deafhood presenters that may not be suitable to their likings 
  • Commentators providing Deafhood in a bad light
For example, believing that those who embrace Deafhood tend to disapprove those who freely opine is not a fair or even true statement. It is like stereotyping just the same way those who shooed Deafhood who are known as bullies ("Stay home, you are getting old, you piss me off," etc.).  Why, of course, those people who are "grouped with the speaker" probably would say, "Hey, I didn't condone this" but not necessarily outloud.  I do believe that some of them do not endorse some of the vlogs that attack people who embrace Deafhood and vice versa. I  had spoken my opinion whenever I oppose it (gasp, you mean you can share your opinion with these people? well, duh!)  but it doesn't mean they would take it as it is their right to vlog. They are independent, individual thinkers and what they say do not mean it reflects on us who also embrace Deafhood.  This is definitely the opposite of a think group for sure. Naturally, one who doesn't stereotype a group is much smarter indeed.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean I go unnoticed for those who experienced labeling such as audists and deficient thinkers. While I agree it is not helping the situation and that it should not be used just simply because one opposes an opinion of another,  it doesn't mean it applies to rest of those who embrace Deafhood. Opposition of each other's opinions have happened as I got to discuss with many people who embrace Deafhood. I just don't see why some of the vloggers continue to portray them in that kind of light. 

If it is true that the idea of "deaf elites think that they have more power over the non- deaf elites", they would rule the world by now! It is true that there are Deaf subalterns who may aspire to certain 'hearing' ideas, or 'rebels' absorb notions of the superiority of English. It is their right of choice, indeed, however it doesn't entitle for them to suppress their own people.

Do you actually think people like me who embrace Deafhood would not accept who they are whether they are to wear ci, hearing aid or don't know ASL? If that is true, then I would not invite them to my house nor interact with them at social gathering.  There are many good people who embrace Deafhood even incorporated Deafhood in academic standards (i.e. Deaf Epistemology: Deafhood and Deafness)

Coming from a part of the abstract:

"Deaf epistemology constitutes the nature and extent of the knowledge that deaf individuals acquire growing up in a society that relies primarily on audition to navigate life. Deafness creates beings who are more visually oriented compared to their auditorily oriented peers. How hearing individuals interact with deaf individuals shapes how deaf individuals acquire knowledge and how they learn. Aspects of the Deaf episteme, not caused by deafness but by Deafhood, have a positive impact on how deaf individuals learn, resist audism, stay healthy, and navigate the world"

It says a lot about those who are in doctorate level have viewed Deafhood as a positive impact toward people who are Deaf. There is no denying that audism and oppression do exist so what should we do about it?  Have a discourse which is the key to best navigate life. We all have our own journeys but it is not necessarily a destination.

Last month, my Deaf kids and I went to a bar mitzvah to watch a Deaf boy talking in Hebrew during the Torah readings as he used speech all the way in the temple.  He knows sign language that he is able to communicate with his Deaf friends though and not even one bit it affects his speech as it is a myth by the way. I thought it was beautiful that he could communicate with both worlds like my kids could although they do not use speech but they get to express themselves through writing with damn good English skills.  If we were not able to tolerate watching this boy using speech, we would have declined the invite. Really, we got the invite in the first place was because we already accepted this boy since we met more than a decade ago. He is a happy going guy whom my son said he is crazy and funny that they hit off being wild together that I might have to take some headache pills but it is definitely a good problem.

On the other hand, there is another guy at my son's same age who is "oral" who knows sign language but they didn't hit it off.  It had nothing to do with who is oral or an ASL user but it has to do with personality, attitude and even intelligence.  I stressed to my kids that it is crucial to tolerate anyone in spite of communication preference, the use of listening devices, limited intelligence, etc.  I have seen my kids learning to tolerate with respect to work together on a project, telling the others to stop picking on this "oral" boy, and much more.  Just don't paint those people who embrace Deafhood as elitists who reject those who are not elitists. It is certainly weird using these words because it doesn't define us at all.

If we are not a diverse population who embrace Deafhood, then what is humankind?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hearing Parents' Testimony On Why We Should Oppose AB2072

This is another worthy vlog to watch about hearing parents' testimony why we should not be supporting AB2072.


You MUST watch this vlog done by Sheri Ann Farinha's CODA son, Ryan Mutti and his friend A.J. Memar, who were very creative in expressing why passing AB2072 would be a bad idea. It is worth the watch, believe me!

I love this line: "They say they will provide the communication options, to new parents of deaf babies but they are really only talking about cochlear implants... See More for most part, what a slow start, they conduct the world like a medical Mozart. The information to ASL is given as a small possibility, almost too small to see if you had bad visibility." Wow! I am just floored and signless!