The Making of a Word: Audism ...And More

Discussion in 'Our World, Our Culture' started by rockdrummer, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    Hi,

    I am a "hearie" as "deafies" would call me. I find myself here because my child is profoundly deaf. My goal is to learn about the deaf community, make some new friends (deaf, or hearing or anything in between), and learn to communicate in your world. I do this out of love for my child in the hopes to be able to help guide him through his life. I know that growing up in a world where the majority is hearing, he will encounter many hurdles. Hurdles that I am sure the deaf community deals with all of the time. I wholeheartedly welcome your insight.

    My comments below are only my opinions based on what I am learning. I welcome responses to any errors. I am in no way meaning to insult or offend anyone, but please let me know if I do. It's part of my learning process.

    I see the deaf community as diverse. Not unlike the diversity found in the hearing community, or in the world for that matter. In that regard, the deaf and hearing communities are alike. One form of diversity in both of our worlds is the differing opinion on assimilation by the deaf to the hearing world. How or even if one should assimilate seems to work it's way into topics of discussion. I would have never imagined that a deaf or hearing-impaired person would not want to assimilate to the hearing world. I now know better and will not make that assumption ever again.

    There is also a word that shows up frequently. Audism. Some say it isn't a word. I didn't find it in the English dictionary. So I searched the Internet and found the history and definition of Audism from what appears to be a reliable source. Click here to read what I found. I read the definition and drew the conclusion that Audism is how Bigotry, Discrimination, Prejudice, and Stereotyping apply to the deaf community. Audist's can be hearing or deaf. Yes, this word, the hatred, the fear and the ignorance it breeds, are all quite real. Audism was very prevelant in the old days. Over time we have become more educated resulting in acceptance.

    There are extremists in all walks of life. That is ok. It’s not my problem. Because we live in a free society, they have a right just as anyone else does to voice their views as long as they don’t cross the legal line.

    The way I will make choices for my child is to educate myself. The last thing I (or anyone) wants is to be told what to do. But please share your experiences so that I may consider them. The best thing anyone can do is to share their experiences in an objective manner in the hopes of educating others. To me, knowledge is power. The power I have to make an informed decision. I will pass this knowledge to my child. And when my child is ready to make decisions, they will be informed ones as well.

    In conclusion, for me, it's about freedom of choice. It's about educating myself of the choices that are available to me, and selecting the ones that work. It's about making adjustments if needed. It’s about a never-ending learning process. It's about live and let live. It’s about the ability to weed through the nonsense that is Audism

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    There was a discussion around here a while ago regarding the word "audism." I might have instigated it. It's an interesting word because while technically the meaning is "discrimination against someone on the basis of his or her hearing status" (yes, I know that is a hearing-centric definition so change it to "deaf status" if you prefer), the word is really only used to mean "discrimination against deaf people by hearing people."

    This is odd because words like "sexism," "racism," etc., don't specify who is doing the discriminating and who is being discriminated against. But there seemed to be a consensus that "audism" is pretty much never used to mean deaf people discriminating against hearing people.

    My guess is that the deaf community wanted a word to describe how they have been treated by the hearing community and how they still are treated, whereas hearing people don't feel the same need to describe the opposite situation. Your post reminded me that I am still curious about this and need to ask some more people about it.
     
  3. Eve

    Eve New Member

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    That's because those OVERUSING the term "audist", sling the term around indiscriminantly at anyone who disagrees with their personal philosophies. Therefore, those individuals tend to be recipients of the term "militants" instead.

    I have nothing against anyone having and sharing their own POV's, as long as they don't expect the rest of us to abide by their terms.

    Personally, I am latent HoH (scuba accident). I am one-sided deaf in my left ear, which poses problems in differentiating directions from which sounds originate. I also find it to be troublesome to converse in large groups/crowds. I refuse to wear HA's because when I did try them several years ago, they rubbed my ears raw, the sounds were unnatural, and people actually thought that HA's would "fix" everything and that I would automatically be able to understand them. Au contraire, I found that all HA's did was amplify the sounds I was already hearing, but did not make those sounds any clearer. When I was teaching, I found that many people were not understanding of my situation, but others were more than willing to work with me and aide in my overcoming any obstacles that might present in the process.
    On the flip side, I am married to a man who has been deaf since he was a very young child. He attended a deaf residential school for a short time. He has other family members who are deaf. He is very reliant upon his HA, lip-reading, and speaking. He is also currently considering a CI and is going through the eligibility process for implantation. My husband works in the hearing world and we have very limited involvement in the deaf community.
    Three of our five children have had various levels of hearing impairments due to chronic ear infections in their younger years. All of those three have received ear tubes and thus have regained their hearing. The youngest had tested as "deaf" prior to the tubes, but since has been constantly asking the origin of every sound he now hears.
     
  4. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but whose choices?
     
  5. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    *Sigh* and double *sigh*. Here we go again...does this ever end? Frankly, there will never be a satisfactory answer for the different camps on this issue. The bottomline is whether people believe the parents have the right to make choices for their children or not. It really comes down to this...nothing else. Let's not use the issue of a child having a CI as a smokescreen here...
     
  6. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    Here is the jist of the definition as written by the man that coined the term. After you read it I would be interested if you feel the same as above.
    What is this audism? It is the bias and prejudice of hearing people against deaf people. Itis the bias and prejudice of some deaf people against other deaf people. It is manifested in many ways. It appears in my own life in the form of people who continually judge deaf people’s intelligence and success on the basis of their ability in the language of the hearing culture. It appears when the assumption is made that the deaf person’s happiness depends on acquiring fluency in the language of the hearing culture. It appears when deaf people actively participate in the oppression of other deaf people by demanding of them the same set of standards, behavior,and values that they demand of hearing people. It appears in the class structure of the deaf culture when those at the top are those whose language is that of the hearing culture or closest to it. It appears when deaf people in positions of power keep that power by oppressing other deaf people.(The oppression is rationalized in various ways such as not being fluent in the language of the hearing culture, not having the ability necessary to perform in the hearing culture, i.e., speech, not having the credentials of the hearing culture, not having the experience necessary to fill a position.) It appears when deaf and hearing people have no trust in deaf people’s ability to control their own lives and form the systems and organizations necessary to take charge of themselves as a group to seek social and political change. It appears when deaf persons in power are in reality holding this power only as long as they continue to play the hearing role. It appears in many other ways subtly and obviously, directly, and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally, consciously and unconsciously. It occurs in the form of tokenism. Again and again, organizations and committees have gotten their token deaf person or two and considered themselves to be doing a good deed. There is never any thought of a majority of deaf people in these organizations and committee. One deaf person is still one vote. And what is one vote? Another form of tokenism is in the hiring of schools and colleges which have deaf student bodies. Where do you have a school or college with a majority of deaf faculty? You don’t. But you do have institutions feeling pride of 25% of their faculty is deaf. What kind of pride is this? 25 percent?

    I have seen posts on this site where one deaf person clearly has an audist attitude (per the definition above) towards another deaf person. I also see this attitude (again, per the definition) from the deaf towards the hearing. If folks choose to use the word to only mean discrimination against the deaf from the hearing world, then they choose to use it out of context. This happens all of the time when people use words they dont really know the definition of. Perhaps they have heard the word and think they know what it means. Since I have seen much of this here on the site, I decided to create this thread in the hopes that people would read the definition and maybe use the word in its proper context.
    Please don't stereotype me. I am hearing and would never be prejudice, discriminate, or sterotype against anyone for any reason. I know many hearing people that are the same way. I'ts not you against us. There are jerks in every walk of life and it's not fair to lump all hearing people in with the ones that are jerks. Just as I wouldn't think that all deafies are the same and have the same views. We are all individuals with different ideals. I see way to much generalization here. Please instead say "how they have been treated by some in the hearing community" Just because I can hear doesn't make me a bigot or a jerk.
     
  7. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    I could have not said that any better myself.
     
  8. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    As the legal adult educated guardian of my child, they will be my choices. What sane responsible parent would let others choose what is best for their children? Would you want me or anyone else deciding what is best for your child? We don't always make the right choices but nobody is perfect and this is not a perfect world. As long as you educate yourself on the options and base your decision from what you have learned, and what you feel is in the best interest of your child, then you have done your best.
     
  9. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    sr17soars thank you for seeing the comment for it's intent. If this is truly the issue, the all I can say to those that think they will take away a parents right to choose is, good luck. You will have to change laws to accomplish that and I can tell you that the sane majority of responsible parents (hearing or deaf) won't allow that to happen. I often wonder if those that think a toddler should choose have any chilren of their own. And those that feel the choice should be postponed until a child is old enough dont realize the price that is paid in terms of achievement. It's clearly a sticky topic that there may never be a concensus on. That is ok with me as long as nobody is trying to trample on my rights and freedom to choose. If it gets to that point, we will have problems. And when I say we, I mean everyone. All Americans.
     
  10. Angel

    Angel ♥"Concrete Angel"♥ Premium Member

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    I agree and sometimes " misunderstanding " can be a factor in this also if you noticed....
     
  11. Endymion

    Endymion New Member

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    Rockdrummer, thank you very much for saying that.

    When (if I don't get run over by a semi) I do have kids, I will remember what you have written here. This is not necessarily for any deaf-related decisions I make, but for my general parenting.
     
  12. Cheri

    Cheri Prayers for my dad. Premium Member

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    Ok, I do see some deaf people use the term "audism" Isn't that the same applies to some hearing who call deaf people "handicapped" or "death" "deaf and dumb." Of course those are negative terms as well toward to the deaf.

    I've met some deaf people who consider themselves to be "better" than other deaf people when it comes to written english. I don't like when deaf people compares against other deaf people. We are all deaf regarding what we are. I don't think anyone is better than anyone.

    There always negative coming from all over from different people, hearing, deaf, Hard of hearing. I'm really tired of it too. I wish everyone would just shake hands and get along.
     
  13. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    Thanks and well said and exactly my point! The bold portion is where there is no real wiggle room and the point where the "clash of civilizations" comes in. I know full well that I would not done so well being intregrated into the hearing world if I didn't get my HA as soon as I did (4 years old) and go through the process (often very hard at times) of learning to be an oral person. Now, getting to the CI issue on children just substitute my HA for a CI and bingo! This is especially true with current technology and advances. I can see in the past that it was a crapshoot (and successes were very problematical which probably where those against this are coming from) but everything has to start somewhere. I'm amazed what the pioneers of CIs went through and count my blessings everyday.
     
  14. Eve

    Eve New Member

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    The problem here is that if YOU choose a CI for your child, you will automatically be labeled an "audist" by those same indiscriminate folks I was referring to earlier, because YOU made the choice, rather than the child. However, if YOU make the choice to NOT get a CI for your child, you will be labeled by the opposite end of the spectrum. In all reality, these types do not have any respect for your position as a parent to make any decision, because they only see their side as being "right". But truly, I say, no matter what decision YOU make for your child, it will be the right one because I feel confident that YOU will not rush into any decision without careful thought, consideration, and insight in the matter, because YOU are the one who has your child's best interest at heart and are only considering what will be most beneficial for them.

    According to either side of the spectrum, I too have been labeled. Because I CHOSE to have surgery to implant tubes in my children's ears, thus denying them the possibility of a "D"eaf life. However, all my children are also exposed to ASL on a daily basis, and I have personally been accused of "hindering their speech and language development" for using ASL in my home. It all boils down to this "IT IS A NO-WIN SITUATION" when you research all angles and make an informed decision, somebody is going to be angry with the decision you have made. Consequently, it is best for us to ignore the whining and moaning of others and just be content that we have done what we feel is best for our children, because ultimately, we (as parents) are the only ones who are more concerned with them (the children) than with the issues (and politics) involved.

    I commend you, Rockdrummer, on taking the time to come to this site to see all angles for yourself prior to making any life-changing decisions for your child!

    p.s. my avatar is said in a facetious manner, to show how the term "audist" is so overused by some
     
  15. Teresh

    Teresh New Member

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    I define "audism" as discrimination, harrassment or persecution of people based on their ability to hear or lack thereof, preference to communicate through signs or speech and cultural association with the deaf or hearing communities.

    Audist people can be deaf and hearing. A deaf person who criticises his or her deaf friends who sign in PSE or SEE rather than ASL is just as audist as a hearing person who criticises a deaf person for not speaking correctly. A deaf person who hates hearing people for any reason is by default audist. The same goes for a hearing person who hates deaf people, regardless of reason. Additionally, I would see a Deaf person who dislikes another deaf person because they are associated with the hearing culture (or vice-versa) to be audist.

    I see many hearing audist people, and I know a number of deaf and Deaf audist people as well.

    Black people who discriminate against or categorize white people are racist, just as the converse is true. Women who discriminate against men are sexist, just as the converse is true. Gays who discriminate against straights are heterophobic, just as the converse is homophobic. Deaf people who discriminate against hearing people are audist, just as the converse is true.

    When advancing the status of a particular group, in this case, dhh people in general and the Deaf community, one must draw the line between being the oppressed and wanting your rights and becoming the oppressor.
     
  16. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    This is very well said Teresh. After I read through the definition of audist, I said to myself, this is nothing new. This form of fear and hatred has been around forever and everone is subject to being exposed to it. Not just women, blacks, whites, the deaf and minorities but EVERYONE. Is there really the need for a new word to describe the hate and fear that manifests itself in the form of existing practices by some people. Those that practice Prejudice, Discrimination, Stereotyping, Bigotry, persecution and harrasement. This is really all an audist is. Do we need another word to describe these things? Apparently Tom felt so. It's not my place to say his coining of this term is right or wrong. I just feel that a word like this can eaisly be misused as I see that it is. I think it would be beneficial to have this word be recognized and officially included in the dictionaries of the hearing and the deaf. This will give folks a reference to the definition and perhaps reduce the amount of misuse this word gets. I just wouldn't even know where to begin to get a new word in the dictionaries.
     
  17. Teresh

    Teresh New Member

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    That's a different question. I would say the answer is yes simply because we're defining an action, discrimination against and/or harrassment and/or persecution of people based on the above terms. Using a word, audist, to describe it makes conversation easier. It's all-encompassing for the idea, and prevents ambiguity so long as it is accurately defined. Additionally, it makes for more curt conversation, as it is easier to say "Audism" than my definition above. There is nothing wrong with this.

    Audism may be a new word, but that doesn't make it a bad one.
     
  18. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    Thank you Teresh for your insight. I agree there is a need for this word and don't think it's a bad word but it does mean bad things. I wish I knew how to get it included into the dictionaries so that people can hopefully start to use it in proper context.
     
  19. gnulinuxman

    gnulinuxman New Member

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    Well, all I can say is that FAR more hearing people discriminate against my fiancee and deaf friends than deaf people who discriminate against my hearing friends.
     
  20. rockdrummer

    rockdrummer Guest

    gnulinuxman, I am sure what you are saying is true and only hope that your experience is not a cross section of society in general. As a hearing person I have not been exposed to the pointed discrimination (by some in the hearing community) that some folks in the deaf community have expierenced. I also hope that my deaf child is not exposed to much of this hatred as he journeys through life. Educating him of the meaning of audism may help him identify the type of people he will eventually encounter and perhaps even how to deal with them.

    Thank you for your insight. :ty:
     

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