Saturday, 26 January 2019

Do deaf and disabled feign own awareness?

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More social media debate triggered by complaints originally on "if the wheelchair user has more right on the street than anyone else"  after elderly people complained they were being rammed from behind and shouted at, and HoH being pushed and shoved.  

That for some reason turned into a deaf issue via HoH complaining about chair-using disabled arrogance and attacks on dogs for the deaf versus the blind dog validity.  There seems an undercurrent of conflict not being debated properly, which isn't healthy.

I've spent 45 years examining awareness of disabilities, probably one of the few examing our own attitudes to it.  Since equality, acceptance, and inclusion become a set of buzz-terms, the reality is more angst and more 'difference' and less of it all.  There is a view only we know what the issues are because we live it, but it is all relative and individual and no help to the man/woman in the street who wants a simple answer to 'what exactly do you all want/need?' because no one size fits all it gets very random indeed and undefinable, indeed competitive amid disabled themselves.  Awareness then fails miserably.  Most accept it is a mish-mash of confusion and bias now and we need to go back to basics or forget it.

We can AS deaf or disabled people be totally ignorant or uninterested in issues the mainstream faces and can become unduly self-focused on own rights without compromise.  Mainstream doesn't have it all their own way, and there is no magic formula to invoke the 'coke' advert as any norm.   The UK has a 'name' and widespread self-belief in themselves for helping charity and the underdog but has little or no understanding of their issues, is mostly patronising, and the awareness emanating from disability areas is too random to be applicable to all.  

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You have the conundrum whereby the system then pays lip-service to it, and the laws, and the disabled themselves and their charities going off in a different direction altogether. I have more and more empathy every day with people who aren't deaf disabled trying to work out what exactly the deaf/disabled want and how on earth it equates with the mantra of inclusion,  What we see is the mainstream abandoning the whole thing with 'live and let live' instead, less hassle.

The 4 major UK laws 'empowering' the right to equalities, don't work, the disabled/deaf areas want more that don't. The problem is setting precedent all can benefit from but you can't, you can only set your own.  The sign language-using deaf community, e.g. are determined to have equality, but only on their own terms which they demand everyone else must accept, including their right NOT to be included in areas, have own schools, own way of being taught, own language approaches.  It means non-deaf cannot move freely within their world or, vice-versa.  Equality on specific terms, is that real equality if it tends to not include others?  Can they integrate if they have no desire to do that? or be forced to by the inclusive remit and laws?  

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One suspects the rights issues have all fallen foul of the basic fact we all want to do own thing and if that can mean not having others around you don't want or cannot get on with, so that's OK.  The issue is to what degree this is being practised,? then it can become some sort of self-imposed isolation with 'benefits' but only for the few and integration and inclusion becomes non-starters by default.  Human nature trumps rights, equality and inclusion.  Checkmate.

A lot is based on the fear too much 'inclusion' would decimate the signing community, and they need each other and their systems to maintain it and their culture.  They point out, their support areas and charities already accept this and campaign on that basis, indeed areas can oppose alleviation of hearing loss and can label it an assault on them as people and some sort of 'genocide aimed at their core members, its a desperate sort of defence.  Deafness is them and without it no community, a crude but simplistic assumption that ignores other people's view of things.  Including those in their own community.

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Cochlear Implants e.g. were a  primary target for such areas, and in part still are. To protect sign language and awareness their perceived primary communication medium, they will oppose subtitling and captions too, because they feel (And there seems some consensus), viewers won't look at the sign but read the words instead and then sign awareness fails. It is viewed as a right too.  Few people realise that 'diversity' within disabled/deaf areas mean they have the right to do their own thing, including not using sign language.  Then it is all defensive and inclusion is sidelined. 


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