Monday, 11 June 2018

Deaf and Social Media: Does it empower?


The issue is that 'Deaf' social media is as isolated as the deaf themselves, if you are looking for Deaf output it does appear huge, albeit if online in ASL mostly, where we don't see the 'Deaf' is where it counts in the mainstream, sharing and including and holding back on relentless lectures at others.

Unless they move OUT of their 'space' and start to make inclusion viable, and integration a real goal, social media will just produce an illusion of empowerment. A 'Deaf Club' online, where like hearing users, real interaction on a personal level hardly takes place. Preaching to the converted gets lots of local kudos, but if the mainstream isn't included or caring about it, it serves no point with regards to empowering and doesn't influence anyone else.

Image result for I don't need your issues!Deaf are utilising social media to carry on as usual, and while we would agree Deaf aren't stupid by any means, the proof has to be in proving that point out there, and not complaining and campaigning 'In-House' about the injustice of it all amid themselves.  They have to join in the wider mainstream of social media and show they are as aware as anyone hearing, get involved in things outside the exclusive and signing areas they inhabit, otherwise, mainstream, just acknowledges the Deaf are 'different' and pay lip-service to the whole thing.  Today most of the mainstream is in 'issue overload' and becoming increasingly apathetic.  If you want to engender support and acceptance, going at them is not the way to do it.

Another aspect is to drop the Deaf attitude of negativity, and 'them and us', yes injustice is there, NO, not all hearing are in on it.  Demanding all sorts of inclusion is right, but unless active participation and mutual acceptances are there on BOTH sides, it still won't work.  The overriding problem is the apparent standoff between deaf/Deaf and other major hearing loss areas, who between themselves adopt a 'do your own thing' approach too, which confuses the mainstream who are expected then to assume all of us are the same, both in need and deed.  If every area goes its own way and direction, then, how can inclusion work?

Image result for inclusion versus equalityUntil the Deaf understand what inclusion and equality really mean, even social media isn't going to help them.  Notwithstanding, near all Deaf Social Medias are 'closed' sites,  and often dedicated communication content approaches too, they should be inviting hearing and others in and not showing a very obvious reluctance via the 'Deaf Space' excuse to make a real effort.  

It is very difficult to engage the cultural deaf on own sites, they band together to kill debates that challenge perceptions, editing material and banning posters is much wider an issue on their sites, because they are uncertain how to engage, and suspect everything is an 'attack' of some kind. We can only kill ignorance with wider understanding.  Few if any attempts to aggregate those who are deaf and with hearing loss, online succeed.  Yet this would display the diversity we have.  We see vlogs where access is denied to anyone that doesn't sign, and then justified as a right, the reality is such vlogs never get seen by anyone else, because the apparent demand is the viewer has to sign first.  That form of awareness does not work at all.

Deaf awareness failed because the Deaf would not show willing to go half-way.  They need also to show more interest in non-deaf things and display the wider knowledge they have, both locally and nationally.  Instead what we see are breeding grounds for Deaf paranoia, where many Deaf believe everyone is out to disenfranchise them, and the only answer is to keep those barriers up and stay tightly together to protect themselves and their perceived culture.  Which is just seen as yet another and often an insurmountable barrier to real equality and acceptance, not only by other deaf but by the mainstream, it is a constant diet of fear and distrust.

'Cest la vie' must be the worst cop-out and poor excuse ever, and diversity a cruel lie and excuse for segregation and keeping the Deaf isolated.

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