Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Postcode Culture.

Image result for accessThe Deaf still live in a  vacuum to a large extent, their representatives or spokespeople are not an inclusive group either.  The nature of deafness and sign is a unifying factor but also, a barrier to wider inclusions too. 

Trying to widen deaf horizons means ultra reliance on the sort of lifestyle that relies almost totally upon a visual language and its family/interpretation support, has to be addressed with regards to enabling the young deaf to move outward, they want the same as their hearing peers get and have a right to that. 

The insistence deafness is a choice, and the current communal lifestyle approaches are a right, ignores communication reality and is a lie.  That certain activist promotion of community and culture is paramount and inclusive to all ignores demography too.

We would agree that means a fair amount of pain involved to address Deaf and HoH child communication approaches and education etc which cultural deaf say is a direct assault on them because it suggests to  them sign won't be the prominent communication approach.   Bilingualism has to be real not suggested.  It needs to reflect the reality it is older deaf who fear this because of their reliance on social workers deaf clubs/schools etc and would have issues with few if any other deaf keeping them going.  

That wheel is already in motion as most UK deaf clubs are against the wall already.  Those that still manage to keep going rely on lottery and charity if not Local authority/disability handouts and tend to centralise to larger populated areas where statistically more deaf are.

We think there is a middle ground and from the young deaf people I meet they view many activists as dated, a hindrance, and they are already out there, club closures are proof, there is less reliance on terps too.  This is the postcode culture, cities tend to make most of the running because the numbers are there, but outside those areas, the deaf have little or nothing frankly.  We don't see the culture then as inclusive but selective and exclusive.  People deaf outside these areas don't believe an online community is the same thing they are still alone and feel pressured to move home.   Because sign has isolated them.


The financial aspect of culture often rears its ugly head and distorts the community ethos, unlike lip-reading,  sign equals income, as many hearing areas have realised, its the basic of deaf cultural success.  A number of abler deaf offer sign services but quite questionable awareness, as a way of self-employment, they aren't addressing independence or empowerment, although their area remains a captive one, uneasy lies that crown, and ultimately bias is involved.  Because there are far from enough interpreters to support deaf people, the reality is that deaf need communication alternatives, this poses risks at modernists who encourage CI's, text approaches assistive devices, more hearing involvements, clinical intervention, etc.. they can be accused of an attack on the signing culture which is providing work for these few.

Explaining reality deaf need to adapt is met with anger, why should they?  'We do not want to be third-rate hearies!'  which is what nobody is suggesting, they are saying, deaf need more strings to their bow.  Protests don't pay rents.  It's unrealistic hearing people are all going to learn sign so deaf can integrate, or, that deaf WOULD integrate if they did. because the Deaf mantra is self-sustaining and lauding difference via distance. 


Interpreter training is having huge issues, not only of qualifying at huge own expense for the learner and a biased 'regional' adjudging system but the mainstream system addressing the wage and support set up, mostly via cuts.  In reality so much deaf signed support is based on part-time workers, because free-lance interpreters won't adopt any norm, and are unwilling to operate that support in areas outside larger populations existing towns and cities, simply because it won't give them a regular wage.  You can get 100s of deaf relying on just 2 or 3 terps, and activist opposition to remote translation.


As regards to Deaf Culture and Art areas, they too focus almost entirely on major city areas, which means the only culture support and outlets are in those areas, it also allows a select area of Deaf people to call all the shots on access, empowerment, deaf art, cultural norms, health support, progress, and education.  So many deaf are actually not part of it all.  Those who don't sign, or deaf-blind, HoH, are ignored totally, so others access gets compromised too, and arts aren't for them either.    The deaf arts area are the primary drivers of opposition to allowances for them to work which the state (UK), has put a cap on, many suggesting it is because Deaf arts was abusing the inclusive remit using culture as an out.  Again this arts area is almost city exclusive and the domain for the few determined to go it alone and making issues and one trick ponies out of deaf actors.  The response isn't more inclusion only demands deaf people should be the deaf actor because deaf actors lack the versatility to do anything else.  So the only way to 'inclusion' is to insist on stereotyping?


Not so much fake news, more another one-trick pony with a singular message repeated till our eyes bleed.  Online areas for deaf operate predominantly within 'closed site' or charitable/disability areas, in reality nothing has changed since the old e-mail site days, which although originally created that way to protect vulnerable deaf and promote culture, now exist as a barrier to most, who may not agree with the more extreme cultural views being offered to them, and feel it oppressive, out of date, even restrictive in most part.

The issue can be the more able and biased Deaf egotistical moderators running these sites, for own platform/views, plugging on provision,  and is legendary with numerous deaf people claiming they are shouted down or banned for little or no reason other than they didn't agree with the site mantra,  democracy for the deaf is at stake. They have an influx of snowflake contributors too! The postcard lottery places 'power' in the hands of the few/wrong people, people for whom self-interest drives progress, access, demand, cultural norms, and profit/Kudos for this 'Deaf' elite.

It's a mess.