Friday, 24 February 2017

The politics of Envy ?

Image result for politics of envy"Why are some people in the deaf community so dead against those of us that never learnt to sign. ??"  

Another lamentable query from a social media Hard Of Hearing site, still struggling as we all are with coping with hearing loss.  To turn around and suggest sign users are against HoH, we need really to accept we envy how they have coped and managed with their profound loss, because we still cannot. It would help if the 'Other' community did not take it upon themselves to decide to attack alleviations of hearing loss or medical advances, because HoH hold on to that hope for a cure, and will resent the Deaf Community's reluctance to do the same, as a slight against those struggling.

The issue of sign use is one that rambles on, and on, and on.  I don't think it helps when HoH charities promote sign use either, because they are world's (Literally), apart from those who have always signed. Mostly the HoH areas try to jump the cultural bandwagon simply to try highlighting their own issue, and it just promotes more cultural support as mainstream assumes then we are one and the same, the basis of the 'All deaf sign' gig.  You won't find cultural or sign campaigns jumping on any HoH campaign, they are loss areas and contribute to medical perceptions of deafness which cultural deaf won't accept..

The mindsets of HI/HoH are different too, so sign use won't level that playing field.  Like most who have a hearing and profound loss later and after formative years, I believed there was no such thing as Deaf or deaf, we all had hearing loss, the years have proven chalk and cheese is far nearer the mark and a definite ideological and political difference now exists.  30 years ago I would have thought there was a chance of unity, not now.

To us sign is a 'tool' and with an uncertain access to it to make it really viable, because we don't move in the same signing areas to make it viable.  There is an assumption you can sign and then carry on in mainstream and socialize, it doesn't happen either. Sign and social is integral to making it work.  The 'Deaf' cannot adapt, can we ?   Our desire to not use any cultural approach to sign use, pits HoH directly against the cultural concept.  Our naive assumption we sign therefore are the same as those who always did it, is ridiculous without the background or even the social lifestyle to support it. Can we assume the 'Deaf' position ? we cannot, we will always struggle with it hoping there is an exit option. Always thinking, one day I won't need all this.....We need a HoH 'Space' to escape from the 'Deaf' one, because that can stress as much as mainstream can.  

In campaigning for access for ourselves, (CI's, better hearing aids, genetic advance support, alternatives like text etc), we become the medical model they hate.  Even support for the hearing medico's determined to erase all they hold dear, we can be seen as the 'Trojan Horse', more often than not, seen as whining and negative.   We will forever chase an impossible dream of one hearing loss area. I sign because my partner does, no other reason, it is no use whatever to me outside my home or in the street, so for me it was simply a practical issue of using what works to enable me to communicate myself, and without an reliance on an area that is itself, permanently reliant on others.  So long as a decibel exists we cannot even start to integrate.  But we cannot form a HoH community either.

Image result for politics of envy
There is the other primary issue for HoH, reliance on others, but, born signers take it as a natural thing and can divorce their constant reliance on interpreters or family from their day to day issues, because their social areas revolve around other signers, they have had this since day one.    Even re-branded interpreter usage as 'empowerment' and not support. In real terms the HoH area has been zeroed by the effective unity of deaf signing areas, and we play second fiddle because we lack that unity.  Such is that 'norm' it is well documented the 'Deaf' struggle with the equality concept, and would prefer not to fully integrate or work at that concept if it means hearing or even HoH moved into their areas, what they call the 'Deaf Space'.   They want the access, but on their terms. 

The HoH have that equivalent too, but not the same reason for having a 'space'  for them it is an area where all are signing,  so communication is no issue for them, for us that 'space' is a refuge to avoid daily stress.  We see our isolation as part refuge, Deaf see it as a form of self-protectionism to preserve the status quo.  The HoH are a ship without a course to steer.  We should not envy the signers unity of purpose, it is what works for them, equally, we should never assume it can work the same for us, we would still not choose the same options as they do.  As HI or HoH we need to accept who we are, and not assume the role of those we are not.

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