Deaf Culture Hijacked: The Hearing-Minded Taking Advantage of the Word “Deaf”

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
#1
The word Deaf is OUR word. It is OUR definition of OUR values. Deaf is OUR chosen moniker to signify OUR wholeness in a world that constantly tells us we are broken.

There are millions of people in this country, hundreds of millions, perhaps, who look at us as if we have gone mad for being proud to be “broken.” Yet they have consistently hijacked our community and run it their way! When we speak out and try to take back what is ours, when we stand up for our Deafhood, we are called “militant,” “aggressive,” and “jealous.”

There are many, many, ways in which the hearing and hearing-minded are using OUR word to their own ends:
◾They deny the Deaf ASL as children, but produce the multi-million dollar Baby Sign video series for hearing babies. (Are there any Deaf people reaping such profit?)
◾They force speech and hearing aids on us as children when we cannot fight it, then mock our “deaf-voices” as adults when we don’t sound as pretty as they would like.
◾They make us take music to be more like them, yet they don’t take ASL poetry to be more like us.
◾We are forced, OFTEN, to go without interpreters as children, yet when they take ASL Lit, and Deaf History at the college level they expect an English interpreter. (Yes, this is based in factual experiences for at least one California University.)
◾They take HIGH paying VRS jobs and sit back and smugly “interpret” for our calls to employers who, if they hire us, do so grudgingly and pay us a fraction of what they make—capitalizing on OUR language and doing so as if they are better than us. (Note: there are MANY great interpreters who work for VRS, but FAR TOO MANY who have attitudinal and linguistic deficits.)
◾They complain that the Deaf get “free tuition in college” yet, we are educated by THEM all through elementary and secondary school and are not prepared for college.

◾They say that SSI is an abuse of the system and many Deaf “could work,” yet they do not hire us except for the most menial, lowest paying, and isolating jobs.
◾They take university level jobs teaching ASL, but do so with an English-based or hearing-minded approach, and tell Strong Deaf people they are not qualified because they were not fortunate enough to be able to complete a PH.D. program at a hearing university.
◾They teach ASL, yet speak English with their supervisors, students and each other thus alienating the Strong Deaf.
◾The anti-ASL and anti-Deaf have taken over websites that were supposed to have been a haven for US to use and immerse ourselves in OUR language.
◾They teach Deaf Education yet do not know ASL.
◾They teach Deaf Education yet use an interpreter for meetings, IEP’s, and any chance they can so they don’t “have to” sign.
◾They run Deaf Education programs—the interviews for which require one to SimCom for a requirement to teach, thus alienating the Strong Deaf from making an impact in mainstream Deaf Education programs.
◾They run websites that are supposedly Deaf Centered, yet consistently compare themselves to other websites that are geared toward mass appeal—hearing websites with hearing values.
◾They force us to behave in ways that are fitting with mainstream culture—hearing culture.

◾They have a BILLION-dollar industry of hearing aids, cochlear implants and speech services . . . how much of that money ever goes into the pockets of the Deaf?
◾They take roles in movies playing deaf (and dumb!) like a caricature of Deaf.
◾They buy up and run companies that are service providers for the Deaf, but do not hire Deaf people to work there, except for the most menial of jobs.
◾They run Deaf Studies and Deaf Education university programs and never set foot in a Deaf Culture center, school for the Deaf, or Gallaudet.
◾· We are here for THEIR profit.
◾· We are here for THEIR enjoyment.
◾· We are here for THEIR job security.
◾· We are here for THEIR sense of munificence.

They want us to be here when they think “signing” is pretty, and gone when we are a burden or too uppity. They like what we have, they take our jobs, our language, our values, but don’t want US to do it. To them, we are a novelty—a mascot, a cute little thing to stare at and examine—but a thing without feelings, hopes, dreams, aspirations, pride and culture.

What’s my point? We have been told by hearing-minded deaf people that we should be “fighting hearing people over audism.” Well I say NO! We should FIGHT AUDISM anywhere audism is!

Suppose one said chauvinism was acceptable because “women should be in their place anyway?” One is legally free to say that, yes, but would it be on a “Women-Centered” website? NO! Would it be legal in the workplace? NO! Suppose one said racism was acceptable because “Blacks are all uneducated?” One is legally free to say that, yes, but would it be on a “Black-Centered” website? NO! Would it be legal in the workplace? NO!

This could go on and on and yet, because of our status as “broken ones,” as “rejects,” as “disabled, as “disadvantaged,” they will not see it as harshly as the above comparisons.

They say “without us, the Deaf have no interpreters.” Well, without US, they have no ASL and no clients, yet WE somehow still feel indebted to them for their dependence on our culture.

And those of us who cater to them are nothing more than mask makers, craftsmen at creating Masks of Benevolence and handing them over to those same people who exploit the Deaf Community. We have a choice: we can take back our moniker and support only truly Deaf companies, websites, and schools, or we can shut up and get back to making masks. . . Choose wisely. . .

http://theaslproject.wordpress.com/...g-minded-taking-advantage-of-the-word-“deaf”/
 

caz12

New Member
#2
never broken what ever body problem is....Steven Hawkins good example,Alexander the great and julius caesar,list is endless
 

Sares

Member
Premium Member
#3
I can speak but have not for years because of being made fun of. I do not want hand outs and do not like seeing deaf people walking around with cards that read "I am deaf anything helps". The only thing I want from the hearing world is the same thing I want from the deaf world. That is respect. Do not help me but do not hinder my efforts either.
 

Bebonang

Active Member
#6
I wish I had hearing aids a lot sooner than 8 years old , I missed out a lot in school b/c I could not hear.
I wish I could have learned ASL starting as a baby and not wear hearing aid at all through my life.

I was forced to wear hearing aid at 8 1/2 years old almost close to 9 years old. :(

For missing out a lot in both schools (elementary and high schools), I would preferred to have ASL interpreters so that I could understand what was going on in both schools. **sigh** :(
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
#8
I don't buy into the invisible "they" vs "us" mentality. There are people dealing with far more devastating issues than not being able to hear and everyone gets the short end of the stick in some area of their life. I could sit around and whine about how I was treated for years...or just accept that it was a lousy hand I was dealt and make something of it....

Laura
 

whatdidyousay!

Well-Known Member
#9
I wish I could have learned ASL starting as a baby and not wear hearing aid at all through my life.

I was forced to wear hearing aid at 8 1/2 years old almost close to 9 years old. :(

For missing out a lot in both schools (elementary and high schools), I would preferred to have ASL interpreters so that I could understand what was going on in both schools. **sigh** :(
Learning ASL would had been of no use to me as child , no one in my town used it and my dad would not had allowed me had learn it anyway. No kids of his was going to talk with their hands , and if I had tried I would had been slapped across the face. I think most parents sent their hoh or deaf child to a school for the deaf and hoh . I only knew one other girl in school hoh and we did not like one another. So getting a hearing aid was the best bet for me.
It would had been great if I was sent to school for hoh and deaf kids instead of going to public school and failing .
 
#11
rockin’robin:
You know I was hearing and I still am in the hearing world. I think you also realize I respect you. But I have some issues (not with you) with some of what’s stated.

1. If a dDeaf person came up with a video for teaching baby sign, they’d make the profits along with their investors. I don’t think it’s equal to say Deaf people don’t make money from it – they could if they patented and marketed and sold the idea.
2. My bet is no one forces anything on parents – speech and hearing aids (for which I am thankful). But if you asked me in elementary school if I’d be willing to wear a hearing aid, I would’ve said NO (but my parents knowledgeably made the decision for me and it worked). Parents are likely part of the hearing culture and letting go of that which they knew AND learning a new culture and language would be very difficult. We gravitate to what we know.
3. Hey, don’t smack me people. I’m writing what I believe. Having Deaf take music sounds pretty weird but I know you can pick up rhythms from balloons. Having “us” read ASL poetry should be addressed with the school. There’s no reason not to do this.
4. … skipping a bunch. The implants, hearing aid, and multi-billion dollar business is a business owned by investors. They have no obligation to pay the deaf community what they earn in a capitalistic society. They have an obligation to pay investors.

So, I disagree with a lot of what was written. There’s more going on there that meets the eye. It was written through the eyes (I’m guessin’) of a Deaf person who opted not to look at the other side of the equation.

(Going to school without interpreters is abominable. I had to go to testify for someone a couple of years ago in a different state. I made it clear I needed a clerk-typist. I go to the stupid court and there was no one. I should’ve walked out. Years before, same scenario in a different state – they had the court reporter and that state/county could afford it.)
 
#12
I don't buy into the invisible "they" vs "us" mentality. There are people dealing with far more devastating issues than not being able to hear and everyone gets the short end of the stick in some area of their life. I could sit around and whine about how I was treated for years...or just accept that it was a lousy hand I was dealt and make something of it....

Laura
I like rockin'robin a lot. She's a smart cookie with what she posts and my consensus is with you this time. It's a continuation of a mentality that should be toast. I'd rather work on understanding people. Many of us are not anti-dDeaf. I may bitch a lot on the forum but with complete empathy for the Deaf and I hope that bridge goes both ways. No matter how you look at the situation, we have to move on in life.
 
#13
So I really don't have any expert knowledge in this area. (Like NO knowledge), but it seems to me the ultimate problem is education. One of the bulleted points provided compares it to racism and chauvinism. That's a pretty good comparison because both of those were commonplace at one time until, . . . EDUCATION. I was once ignorant and guilty of some discriminatory stuff in my day. I used to be a cashier back in 2011 and we had a Deaf regular customer. Man I was a jerk to that guy looking back, but I didn't realize it and he never told me. If I just had a little education or exposure to Deaf people at that time, I would have actually been pretty cool about it. At that time I had been HOH for a few years, so I don't really know what my problem was, but it's amazing how much you can mature in a few years.

Education is the key to this in my opinion. But like I said, I really don't have much expertise in the area.
 
#14
As I am majoring in Anthropology I think people have gotten too wound up. They all have lost their innate curiosity to understand things. Instead of Acting and Reacting to things they don't seek to UNDERSTAND too many people these days see a heavily pierced man and judge them and categorize them rather than understanding his point of view. Education seems to have lost this ability to Critical Think so instead of UNDERSTANDING Deaf Culture they seek to react to it in their own way as a Cultural Anthropologist we strive to eliminate walls that separate us by teaching people so they understand other peoples points of view even if they don't agree with them. I think the rarity of meeting or interacting with a deaf person is equivalent to the Indians meeting a pale face for the first time ever. They don't really know how to react. And a lot of these decisions made above are people sitting in a meeting staring at data who are clueless to the actual workings of what they have to make decisions on so the system stays broken and nothing gets fixed.
 

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