Originally Posted by Capmeister
I can't help being hearing--it wasn't my choice.
This reminds me of a family I met in a store once. My brother and I are talking as we're walking through the store, and a little girl, about 5 or 6 sees this and comes to talk to us. She's deaf and just starting school. And her family comes up--they're learning to sign (which I both appreciate and think "just learning NOW?" but I don't know if it's a blended family or what). So we chat a bit and she asks my brother if he's deaf and he says yes and she asks some other things and she turns to me and asks if I'm deaf. I said, "No, I'm hearing."
With the most cute and quizzical expression she asks "why???"
I smiled and said, "I don't know, honey. It's not my fault. I was just born this way."
Anyway, back on topic: My attitude is such as it is probably because my brother had a CI and didn't care for it (yet his POV is not anti-CI, just that it was not for him), and also because he's finishing up his degree in education and has been focusing on DeafEd (one more week to go). So we talk about this stuff. I know how flippin' brilliant deaf people can be, and it's frustrating to see hearing people make decisions about their education without some real insight into the pitfalls and problems.
We watched the PBS thing "Through Deaf Eyes" over several days (because we'd keep pausing it and talking, I think it took about 7 hours to watch the two hour show) and while I know more about the deaf community than the average hearie, I don't know everything. As we watched the part about the late 80's Gally protests, I was astounded at some of what I saw, pausing it and turning to my brother saying: "Wait--these people are on the board of a DEAF university and they can't sign? She needs an interpreter for this? How can someone think to be an advocate for a group of people with whom she can't even communicate without an intermediary? That's insane." When I saw that the chair of the board also couldn't, we had this exchange basically again. We eventually continued once the smoke shooting from my ears dissipated.
I will exchange a story for a story. I began exposing my son and myself to the Deaf community from the time he was 9 months old, so for him, he had never known a time when I didn't sign. When he was about 5, I saw him telling a friend from his preschool that "Mommy is deaf." Naturally, I later explained to him that I wasn't deaf, but hearing. He continued to insist that I must be deaf. When I asked him why he believed that, he signed, "Mommy sign, Mommy deaf."
I am in total agreement with your opinions on advocacy. To attempt to advocate for the needs of an entire population without ever having taken the time to actually experience what those needs might be from association is presumptive. What most hearing people think the deaf want is not even close to what the deaf will say they want. We HAVE
to stop being so egocentric. It isn't working. Our deaf children contiune to suffer becasue everything is approached from the standpoint of hearing being preferable to deaf. The attempt is to correct the absence of auditory function, and that is not what needs to be focused on. A deaf person can function as well as a hearing person, both educationally and professionally, without auditory function when they are provided the opportunity to do so from their inate position of strength. Sound perception is just that, sound perception. It is not correlated to increased functioning.