Monday, 20 February 2017

Deafhood and oralism Antiquated campaigns ?

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Oralism:  "The story of the suppression of sign language is known in the folklore of the American Deaf community, but few hearing people are aware of it. In the decades following the Civil War, educational reformers waged a campaign to eliminate manualism the use of sign language in the classroom—and replace it with oralism, the exclusive use of lipreading and speech."

Deafhood:  "A term coined by Paddy Ladd in his book Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. While the precise meaning of the word remains deliberately vague—Ladd himself calls Deafhood a "process" rather than something finite and clear—it attempts to convey an affirmative and positive acceptance of being deaf."

Two primary Sign - based cultural campaigns that continue to thrive on the oppression of the 19thc but bear little resemblance to the modern way of acceptance, either of sign or education. It still suits deaf activism to believe that 19thc oppositions are still why they aren't in the mainstream of things. Although access has moved on, campaigns haven't since martyrdom and assumed discrimination pulls in more support than the realities deaf have more inclusions and access now, than they ever had. It would not do to suggest Deaf have a better life now than they had before. 

When the campaigns falter under the pressures of realism, they suggest Hate and Medical advances are determined to remove deaf people from the planet.  In modern terms of psychiatry, this is termed 'paranoia', in Deaf circles, a justification to oppose advancements in access and technologies, to prevent integration happening, which they fear will destroy the social basis of deaf culture.  To that end the constant opposition to 'Cures'  (They aren't any), or alleviation, are all identified as a deliberate ploy designed by medics and society, to remove culture for deafness, and deafness from deaf people.

Deafhood was a non-starter on any level, given it is what published in great fanfare as an awareness campaign tool for HEARING people, not deaf ones. The format was never in the host language of deaf people either, and still needs endless 'courses' to decipher, not deafhood itself, but the advanced academic usage of English terminology and grammar.   Deaf people still after the publication of Understanding Deafhood in 2003, are struggling to understand what the book was about, although critics dubbed it "The emperor's new clothes.." deaf-style, and ATR was amid the first British blog to offer a simpler interpretation of what terms were being used.  Here was another online.  There apparently was no sign language equivalent to identify or clarify them, so they developed signs for a concept they still don't understand.  You can only hope when they decipher this Deaf equivalent of the dead sea scrolls it actually has a point.

The Americas saw it as a ready source of profit, and capitalised on the fact of its publicity value in Deaf terms.  They redefined what the book was about to fit.  A profit that never materialised in Paddy Ladd's homeland of the UK, where it went straight to dusty academic and dusty reference shelving. 14 years later, the Americans are still trying to sell a concept deaf do not understand apart from the book title itself.  Basically it was another term for deaf culture, with another addition of 'everyone is against us..' involved.  The UK has forgotten all about it, there was only one TV program for the deaf that covered it, and then, only once, most confused Audism with Autism too..


Image result for what is hate
Oralism is a ready, and bankable set of circumstances guaranteed to inflame deaf even 130 years later and despite having little relevance today. Clearly seen for what it isn't, a system designed not as a choice or alternative, but to replace sign language.  Facts of the time were mainly ignored, statistics on the issue even more irrelevant, less than 32% supported oralism in education, less a than 14% of areas concerned with deaf education attended the Milan Conference..  

Even today AG Bell is blamed for everything that happened to deaf people in the USA, whereas in the UK he was something to do with telephones that's all, and pirated other people's innovation mainly.  The W C Handy of deaf education.  The only revelation is how the Americas maintained such a hatred for a man dead the last 100 years, and for a system which offered alternatives to sign for those able to use that alternative, and today still includes both, the purists of sign were just not having it. Communication seemed the last issue to be addressed with it all.  You signed or you were not deaf if you spoke you were against Deaf people, you 'betrayed' them, the politics of silence..


Such is the conundrum, speech became oralism and deaf went at each other for it. Then as advances in technology or alleviation emerged, medics were hated for offering it, or even researching it, despite most deaf jumping on the access to further their inclusion.  Some Deaf areas, had developed hatred and extremism for their own, CI's were a no-no, and then ran a media campaign to suggest 'Everyone Hated the Deaf', throwing in the D or d at complete random, to score media points, and alleviation and suggested cures were just another nail in the cultural coffin, obviously  a deliberate ploy to remove sign or culture from history.  Deaf dismissed choice as a fake option, or a 'conspiracy', to undermine deaf culture, nothing more, and nothing less.  Even today various blogs suggest there are identifiable 'hate areas' designed to end culture, paranoia is the name of the game and has gone mainstream.

Fake news and Fact has become the deaf norm too.  The Trump syndrome.

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