Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Deaf Myths about Equality and Inclusion.

Image result for equalities the mythsCrypto deaf raised numerous points recently regarding attitudes and directions of cultural deaf and signing areas to other people, which needs in reality a wider explanation of why we are, where we are.  I apologise for the length of it but tried to cover as many areas as I could.

(At this point I should emphasise, this isn't his post or his view, but mine at ATR).

There are those who will not see why concerns are being raised and adopt the 'they are attacking us again,' mentality, I hope to clarify (Not offend, but it may be unavoidable),  why they are wrong in assuming that and giving some in-depth views why I feel It needs clarification, because we won't see that anywhere else in the 'activist community' which should not be assumed is the primary, or even supported one amid deaf people.  

I usually find rank and file deaf people do not associate themselves directly with most activist campaigns anyway, and support acceptance of all, but are being used to suggest they do via the desperate need of deaf people to maintain a social base, to that end they would all turn up to open a fridge basically.

E.G. It is true the claims deaf don't speak/all use sign language/not signing so not deaf/deaf hear nothing/deaf oralists don't sound 'normal' are being pushed by deaf cultural activism, you only have to look at the sheer hate responses to A G Bell to see it, and the bloke has been dead for years.... It near always emanates from the same misguided area.  

It is a constant and auto knee-jerk reaction because this minor, (but highly successful self-promotional area), is having difficulty retaining it's perceived (but unproven) norm as a widespread 'culture' with a languge/grammar, bilingual and even ethnicity claim, encouraged by people like Ladd and Co who play to the paranoid shrine of deafhoodism.

It often fails to take into any account they are the minority, even in a deaf world, and an extreme minority within the hearing loss world.  However, their promotions have damaged relationships between us all and undermined support systems, because they campaign on both sides of the hearing loss fence, which is suggesting we support it.  The reality is their output rarely includes us at all, via content or need.

The 'negatives' of hearing loss actually aren't, most are actual and identified physical and mental responses to the fact of their loss.  If you lose your legs, then you cannot expect to win a sprint race against someone with two of them or claim foul play because they won. While those responses are ridiculed and attacked by deaf culture activism, the undeniable reality is they have the same issues.  

Is it a culture is it a disability?  Again you don't miss what you haven't had, but most do, so suggestions the majority are wrong and the difficulties of accepting and dealing with these realities, they switch their 'defence' to attacking the mainstream (And us), via a 'blame culture' approach.  They don't feel they have to justify they are deaf or sign, they don't, but we don't have to justify seeking alternatives either, which may well not be a choice anyway.

Deafness ISN'T a right, it ISN'T a choice, and hearing aren't to blame for it.  For those that live in the 19thc and constantly re-quote it, they will never advance, so we should leave them there.  9 out of 10 of us have no deaf families, and no deaf background either, a re-invented wheel is just that even if unique. 

Mostly what communications they or we use, is down to various aspects that aren't defined by the fact you are deaf, nurture versus nature via basic ability.  There are deaf who can never sign they have medcial conditions that prevent them acquiring it, many of us too, who are happy to maintain as we can with the hearing side of it, we want what they do, and access to it, not a fudged alternative that suits just a few.  It offers no hope, just more of the same.

LOSS defines disability, so losing that sense of hearing so vital to our well being, awareness, education, and work advances, our inclusion and overcoming isolation, depressions, mental good health, disables, to suggest it can be 'cured' by isolating yourself in some glorified but highly restrictive 'community by sign' just won't cut it for the majority, it won't cut it for all Deaf either.  Positive thinking is good, it doesn't make you hear again.

It is a Deaf sector being defined by its activists, not its realities, who feel there is no alternative, maybe it isn't, for them.  They endure exactly the same issues as we do, we cut we bleed, so do they, their campaigns are ALL about more support, more help etc... no-one disputes they need it. It is the result of being deaf.  No-one is arguing they don't need or entitled to it.

There is a myth deaf have it worse than others, worse than hearing, worse than hard of hearing, or even worse than other disabled, it shows huge gaps in their awareness. It's inward, never outward looking.  The old adage you have to be in it to win it, still stands the test of time, you cannot be in and out of it in some parallel lifestyle set up, you are just viewed as the permanent minority, not part of the social majority and integrated.  Mainstream may well end up accepting the Deaf, but the Deaf will still be in the same situation they are in now, on the outside looking in. Of course like with like is so much easier, so less stressful, it's an attractive proposition for so communication deprived an area, but still isolating too, and choice negative.   

40% of deaf kids suffer poor mental health, it is easy to 'blame' hearing for not supporting enough, and I share that concern, but I don't share the Deaf answer to it as it is designed to maintain the re-invented wheel ad infinitum, and we want real choices to present themselves.   Back to the future via all deaf schools all deaf unis all signing approaches flies in the face of equality and inclusion and attacks parental wishes too.  We have an isolated society of deaf activists trying to tell parents how to bring up their kids.  It just looks like they want to maintain their community ethos by preventing more options.

It is not to their credit they call parents child abusers because they want their child to speak, attack hearing aid usage, research, or suggest CI implantation is a form of 'Deaf' genocide, that may well mean the 'community' won't accept them, do they even read what they write? it makes everyone else look as paranoid and out of it as they are. 

In reality hearing people (I hate that term as it isolates in itself, but use it here for the sake of debate), are far more accomodating now than 50 years ago, the issue appears to be aggressive demands from cultural areas that put hearing on the defensive, we can make our point without putting people's back up in the process, and we need to.  We cannot legislate acceptance. So much access demanded simply hasn't been used.
  
A lot of cultural claims of discrimination don't bear scrutiny, but show a  stark response of being isolated and scared.  Hard Of Hearing and many others who go very deaf, also seek to find out why it happens to them, they too can get angry and blame everything, its a natural response, why me? but the fact their hearing failed, which apart from various self-inflicted issues is a basic medical fact.  HoH/deafened do it all the time, they're stuck between two, even three worlds, and struggling to find common ground even a common communication base.

We could re-brand ourselves and get immersed in the ID crisis' and never-ending terminology but why bother?  Navel contemplation doesn't address anything.

Online we can all  read these '5/10/20 things hearing need to do for us', but little or none what WE should do to assist THEM, and then post them where hearing won't see them, constantly preaching to the already converted, that is, those within a minority sector in our deaf areas, not the majority who don't even sign, have no online presence of note, and probably don't read Deaf output online anyway, because they aren't us, geddit?

In the UK less than 5% of deaf were suggested to be sign users/reliant on any daily basis, even that figure would have to include other aspects we all use to follow the spoken and written word. Factually 1 interpreter for 300 deaf suggests all sorts of alternatives are already being used, even if 9m HoH appear to be just getting on with it regardless.  

Most stats published by sign activists contain no real confirmations, because they are garnered from system health areas that are data protected, or non-specific, so you cannot ask the real questions on culture, languages used etc.. or the communication format effectiveness either.  Most statistics emanate from biased stand-alone charities, with little or no validated grass root memberships,  we cannot take them seriously.  It's think of a number who can challenge? approaches, because charities want your reliance and dependency too, it is why they won't support independent aspects, it makes them redundant..

'Hearing need to do this, need to accept that, change to suit our requirement or need..' etc etc to faciliate equality and our inclusion, but they mean inclusion/access as THEY as a minority understand it to be within their own area, not, as we understand inclusion in the widest sense of all hearing, deaf, Deaf, and the in-betweeners together, as their campaigns are non-inclusive, and singular.  I'm fed up as are most, reading of D/d as if it had any point but division,  as are most sane people. Stick labels where the sun won't reflect on them.

There are suggestions we adopt yet another ID approach to draw lines in the sand to more effectively identify areas of need and support, means we reject the system approach of treating us all the same way.  If you have an ID crisis then it needs more than a rights campaign. The system is vainly trying to do what the Deaf don't want, i.e. level the playing for all, but, not meeting any requirement because they aren't seeing the diversity or differences we have.  Equality is failing because we don't want all to be equal, and some can't no matter what you do.

Various laws and Acts actually do not empower that inclusion and only randmoly via access, they re-enforce the 'Deaf' system who feel justified in doing that, because their foundation is based in the Deaf school.  That is THEIRs were, not everyone else's.  Schools failed the deaf, they still do, and while 'examples' such as Gallaudet exist, the road to Deaf Utopia has exposed a lot of Deaf people as experiencing a collective paranoia about how others treat them, at the same time rejecting other deaf and those with hearing loss in the process often by default and design, who they struggle then to accept, because they aren't rooted in the same ethos, language or culture, and wanting alternatives and cures for it, or changes to the Deaf systems to include them, and their non-signing, and non-partpciation in culture too.   Deaf are actively blocking it.

Cross-culture acceptance, the more culture we see the more the playing field becomes unplayable and the more goalposts appear or vanish. We don't even know which end to start play from or wha the rules are any more. Political correctness we should all challenge and in most part completely ignore because it defies real Human Rights and allows the extremes more of a platform, by default extremists make the most noises, so that defines understanding in their favour.

We need to understand how vulnerable and insecure deaf feel and their reactions to consolidate where they feel most secure, this drives them, but it drives them away from the wider inclusion process and creates more barriers.  While there are more deaf and with hearing loss today, sign is struggling to survive, as technology and medical inteventions make communication easier, the net we are on is just one of them.  There is a lot online, a lot less on the street, and deaf clubs are are falling by the wayside and closing at an alarming rate for them..

Like the mainstream, all are struggling to maintain a social cohesion as a result, because, the individual now rules, not the collective.  The collective can be opposed as bullies and, condemned as 'not speaking for anyone else'... Sadly, any attempt to pressurise the Deaf to come in from the cold is going to be resisted, our laws have enabled their isolation as a right now.  It is why stand-alone areas thrive, but it isn't diversity, or even multiculturalism, it is a form of legalised apathied. Do we even know or care who lives next door to us.....