Random Thoughts and Musings by moi

Musings by a feisty, opinionated Deaf gal who wants nothing but the best for her community and her people

mardi 8 août 2006

What Role do Hearing Allies Have?

DeafRead.com recently announced that hearing people could submit their blogs for publication. This got me thinking (probably for the millionth time) that we need to have a dialogue about what role hearing people play in our lives. They clearly play a huge one because so many of us have hearing people for parents, and also because we have yet to achieve self-determination. Hearing politicians, audiologists, educators, researchers and many more have so much power over us - they control our fate and our lives. We are often squashed by these powers-that-be, and we have every right to resent them. We should be battling them. But what about the hearing allies? Those hearing people that became interested in us and genuinely want to know us as people, to further our cause, and to affirm that our existence is worthwhile? What role do they and should they play in our lives? At my school, a group made sure that the person in charge of the instructional division was a qualified Deaf person. Some people felt that that was too extreme and that it was invalidating to the hearing people who have worked with us. Others countered that we need to demand self-determination and to be in charge of our children and their destinies. Now for DeafRead.com... do hearing allies have the right to expect to have their blogs syndicated if they are Deaf-centered, supportive, and can contribute to the dialogue? Or do we have the right to expect that we control discourse? What about other situations? We need to have this dialogue. So what do you think, guys? What is their role in our lives, our schools, and our institutions? Have at it, members of the Teeming Millions. *smile*


  • At 20:01, Anonymous Jean said…

    Hi! I responded to your question with another question (search for your name, "Moi").

  • At 22:46, Blogger moi said…

    Hi Jean,
    Yes, I read it before I saw this comment. I've been trying to post on yours, but I keep getting an error message. I think you have a lot to contribute and I hope you stay on DeafRead, but that's your call. I'm so sorry you had to go through that! :(

  • At 00:03, Anonymous Jean said…

    Hi! I was told by my roommate that Blogger server has problems.

    In some ways, I think I deserved that whereas I'm hearing, and therefore I'm part of the problem. That's how I felt, well, kinda. I would love to stay here but it's in their (the webmasters of DeafRead) hands to decide.

    Thank you for the response!

  • At 21:22, Blogger moi said…


    Gee, no wonder. And no, no, you did NOT deserve that. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. I haven't been able to get online in a couple of days, due to working full time, community meetings, etc, etc. I'm going to try and post again on your blog.

  • At 21:47, Blogger moi said…

    Jean, I can't post on your blog at all. I keep getting a 404 or 405 error, saying this browser doesn't support redirection or page not found. Argh. And I'm using the latest version of Firefox. :( Please copy and paste then add to the comments on your blog, so everything's in one place.

    Here's what I wanted to post:

    Jean, I'm so sorry you had this experience. Before I go on, I'd like to say that there are hearing people that I absolutely love. I was born to one, and I wouldn't trade her for any Deaf mother.

    What you're seeing is representative of many oppressed minority groups. There are those who are very resistant to anyone from the majority group because of negative experiences. And believe me, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical of many hearing people, based on what I've seen and had to put up with. There are also those who are very accepting and welcoming. Again, there is reason to be open to hearing people based on my experiences. There are people in between. So you're seeing all of that on DeafRead.

    Please don't take this personally. From what you've written so far, you seem like the kind of hearing ally I want to have in our community.

    There are many hearing people in our community who want to change us or impose their values on us. Or they are just plain disrespectful and look down on us. I just found out that one of my hearing coworkers makes a habit of covering her mouth, using her voice to make snide comments during team meetings. This is so incredibly disrespectful, I can't stand it. If I had the power to fire her, I would in an instant, based not only on this but on many other ways that she has shown disrespect to deaf people. There are also many examples where deaf people have taken hearing rookies under their wings, only to have the hearing person profit later by moving into positions of power, depriving other deaf people of job opportunities and then making decisions that damage the community. So fear, mistrust, and skepticism are all very understandable.

    I believe, though, that we have a lot to gain by getting along with hearing people and by cultivating hearing allies. From what you've said, you seem very open to different cultures and you want to respect our language, values, and culture in every way you can. Maintain this attitude and you will be accepted by many of us.

    I was one of the people who did not want hearing people involved with DeafRead because I feel we need a safe haven to figure things out, being such a fragmented community. But your posts have contributed so much to the dialogue. It's easy for us to not recognize what it's like for someone just learning sign language and who is curious about us. Your posts are a great reminder, and I'm glad I have had the opportunity to read your posts.

    I would very much like to see you continue.


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