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

samedi 2 septembre 2006

Steps Toward Unity?

Tonight found me in a lovely courtyard hangin' and chillin' with a remarkable group of diverse, fun, and fascinating women. After a while, our discussion turned to Deaf community issues, and we had a wonderful discussion on several topics.

We all agreed we've noticed the recent backlash against Deaf of Deaf, and some new insights on this phenomenon were uncovered for me tonight. Half of the women present have hearing parents and many of us were mainstreamed at one point or another during our academic career, so this is not a group of Deaf of Deaf women feeling victimized. I myself have no other Deaf people in my family.

Part of our discussion centered around DeafBlogLand and some issues that blogging has raised in our community. The backlash against Deaf of Deaf came up, and puzzlement was expressed. It was pointed out that there are some oral Deaf people that look down on signing Deaf people, some mainstreamed Deaf people that look down on Deaf-school Deaf, and so on, so why are people focusing on just one group? All of us need to quit putting others down, period. One gal expressed her belief that this is a result of the perception that Deaf of Deaf are privileged and better off than the rest of us. Another countered that she's only second generation Deaf and she grew up with so many horror stories from her parents telling them how hard they had it growing up - and she has felt their pain and experienced some of the same things with her own extended family. Yet another chimed in, saying she had heard all through her childhood how lucky she is to be at a school for the Deaf, because her parents who had hearing parents, were denied that experience. This is a crucial point, because most Deaf of Deaf are only second generation Deaf and/or they have a significant number of hearing people in their family, so they too experience frustration and communication barriers with family members. Someone commented that apparently people who are doing this bashing are the ones with issues, so they're obsessing about one group. It's sad that they are incapable of evolving past their anger and envy. Speaking for myself only, I know I went through a phase of envy and feeling like I was different from people with Deaf parents. But I evolved. I put that aside and took the time to get to know varying kinds of people as people. Now I don't feel that's an issue for me personally. Anyway, all of us agreed that blaming Deaf of Deaf is not going to solve anything. We need to focus on ceasing any and all attacks on people because they're different from ourselves, as I said (and discussed in length) in my "Elitism in Our World" post.

Singling one group out for censure and criticism is not going to help unify us. We need to all recognize that yes, some of us are small-minded enough to put down others simply because they do not share the same background we do - and that we all have a responsibility to put a stop to it when we catch ourselves doing it or when we witness others doing it.

Miscellanous Topics
We discussed so many things that it would be difficult to write down everything and include perspectives, but here is a partial list. We talked about what appropriate ways are to reach out and unify the community, including positive and negative examples we have seen recently in DeafBlogLand. I'm not going to get into specifics about that, but we are concerned and shared information. We shared stories about how Deaf people with hearing parents feel when we see our two worlds collide (parents meeting friends) and how weird it feels because we act and sign/communicate so differently with our parents and with our friends. We shared our frustration with the misunderstandings and mistruths being perpetuated about Deafhood by people who haven't read the book or attended workshops or have issues that need to be resolved or have a personal agenda, including the ridiculous idea that people with cochlear implants can't be part of Deafhood or of the Deaf community. One person offered an interesting perspective regarding the difference between hearing schools and Deaf schools. One intriguing discussion centered around simcomming and whether or not it shows respect for Deaf people. We opined on the Gally protest and what FSSA is up to. We also got into national politics, the FDA, a recent state law, and other non-Deaf-related topics too.

All in all, it was a fabulous outing with wonderful discourse and stimulating company! Kiss-fist you gals! I'm looking forward to the next Ladies' Night out!
Over and out to catch some Zs. *grin*

6 Comments:

  • At 18:33, Anonymous Ella Lentz said…

    Moi,
    its great to see a group of Deaf women discussing such interesting subjects that "hits home" with such depth and to see a great blog entry on ths. More more more please. You and your group are role models for others of us!

     
  • At 11:40, Anonymous Katherine said…

    Moi...

    No words can sufficently express my utmost appreciation for your post. I
    thank you and your group from the bottom of my heart. I am glad it was brought up by you people, instead of those of us who are a DoD. My late grandparents were a DoH.

    I liken DoDs to African-Americans, Jews and other minorities where their experiences being (insert here) gets passed down from one generation to another, thus empowering the next generation unlike before. They were born embraced and taught to accept
    and be proud who they are.

    As for DoHs, in some cases, they are similiar to gay/lesbian who were born into a straight family where their family is not aware. Often, both parties discover about themselves after going in the real world.

     
  • At 12:39, Blogger Karen said…

    Moi,

    Have you heard of Hands & Voices? It is an organization for parents of deaf/hard of hearing children and we're a group that embraces diversity and fosters a sense of unity regardless of communication mode, background, education, etc.

    www.handsandvoices.org

     
  • At 23:18, Anonymous Joey Baer said…

    Moi,

    What a wonderful article you wrote and I certainly hope others will read and realize that we need to analyze WHY this has happened rather than accusing on one certain group. Regardless what has been said against Deaf of Deaf, we remain very optimistic that Deafhood will bring better understanding for all signing Deaf people together.

    Joey

     
  • At 06:36, Anonymous DE said…

    Moi,

    You did the Deaf community a great service by taking on this issue. Thank you.

    BTW, I love your even-headed and insightful posts!

     
  • At 18:38, Blogger moi said…

    Everyone, thanks for the praise. *smile* I hope to be able to continue sharing various discussions! The Deaf of Deaf bashing has been driving me nuts, to tell you the truth. My group, even though it was mixed with deaf of deaf and deaf of hearing, all expressed a wish to see this bashing stop. Katherine, what an interesting perspective! It does make sense. Karen, thanks for the link! How interesting!

     

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