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

dimanche 20 janvier 2008

Inclusivity...At What Cost?

I cannot remain silent any longer. I want to scream, "SHUT UP! STOP!!!," then in the shocked silence that follows, say my piece.

I want to cry. I really do. It's painful for me to go to DeafRead now for so many reasons.

As I write this, I am extremely mindful of the fact that current/future hearing parents of Deaf children may find this post and of the fact that my own people may find this post. I also have to be true to myself and to my center, and that's first and foremost to me. Before I go on, please allow me to articulate a few truisms that are dear to me.

1.    The Deaf community should not be exclusive, and all sides should be open and accepting of each other. I've been loving Jodi Del Dottore's posts – the lady has a sense of humor. This is an example of someone who has decided one way but is very open to learning about the others, and I appreciate her openness. There are several others that I appreciate as well for their openness, respect, and curiosity with healthy questioning. I also believe that most of us are actually already pretty accepting of each other. Almost everyone I know would not reject someone based on their background, hearing aid/implant possession or lack thereof, or signing skill alone.

2.    Hearing parents and non-signing Deaf people are all part of our community and should be welcomed. However, their attitude is crucial. Much like the light-skinned African-American who has erased all traces of his black accent and criticizes darker-skinned African-Americans for using bad English, the non-signing Deaf person who pities signing Deaf people and tells them to work on their speech and/or exhibits any sign of feeling superior is going to get a horrible backlash from the signing community. The light-skinned African-American who sounds more white than black and the non-signing Deaf person who go to their community with bright-eyed curiosity, openness, and acceptance, yet who are comfortable in their own skin are usually going to be welcomed. (note the term "usually." Every group has its small share of jerks who insist on conformity. Don't let those people drag ya down.)

3.    Hearing parents, while they are part of our community and they are usually well-meaning, are not Deaf. They have not experienced what we have. They have not lived with the results of doctors', audiologists', educators' and parents' decisions. The best parents are the ones who realize that and balance that awareness with what they believe to be best for their child. I'm relieved to see that there are some parents from various points on the spectrum who are aware of that, who are actively listening, and asking questions. If only all parents were mindful of that truth…

Now on to my perspective of the furor. I, too, am concerned that DeafRead has lost its center. It really has. Big time.

For one thing, posts used to be clearly labeled with a different color showing whether the blogger is hearing or Deaf. Many people have been asking for this back and there's been no public response from DeafRead, which galls me. It's confusing and frustrating for me to click on one blog, not knowing which is which then having to figure out whether this person is a hearing parent or if it is an oral Deaf person, et cetera. It's not about discrimination. It's about giving me a bit of insight as to the type of center the person has before I read. It helps me orient and prepares me for what the person is trying to say before I read. How is that a bad thing? BRING THE COLORS BACK, DEAFREAD!

For another, I have no quibble with the need to see all perspectives. Of course we do. How else can we grow and learn? However, I've been seeing the CI/oral/AVT perspective for years now, thanks to countless newspaper articles about "success stories," et cetera. I could probably rattle the key points off in my sleep. Melissa has repeatedly pointed out that there is a listserv where people with similar experiences can share. They have a place, which is wonderful. We didn't until a year and a half ago.

Within 18 months, we've lost our place. We no longer have a safe place where we can share and raise our collective consciousness. I was so excited about DeafRead, because it was a place where we could all get together and share in this ongoing dialogue. If not for DeafRead, I would never have "met" Kim/kw, nor Sarah who blogs at the8thnerve.com (link appears to be down?), nor Rebecca's mom, and I'm glad I've gotten to know these three people and many others. Kim and Sarah are Deaf people who do not sign, but they are welcome in the community because they're open, respectful, and curious. They're not looking down on us. I mention this to illustrate that the issue is not about Deaf militancy, rejection of oral deaf, or anything like that. The point here is that we no longer have a central place online that actively values a visu-centric way of life, regardless of language or communication mode. That saddens me.

With the influx of hearing moms' blogs and comments on DeafRead comes a double-edged sword. It personifies "them" into distinct individuals that show so much love and caring for their children that I cannot help but be warmed by that love. I'd believed for a long time that the majority of parents are doing what they honestly believe to be best for their children, regardless of their choices. Many of the blogs/comments are proof of that. Bringing them into the mix gets us all talking and exposes them to our center, our corner of the world. All of this is good. However, there's quite a bit of bad too. Their coming in has generated some pointed comments on all sides and people on all sides becoming defensive as a result. 'Tis human nature, I suppose. Maybe it's a necessary part of the coming-together process that we need to work through.

Another bad aspect of this influx is how our experiences are being dismissed by some of these hearing moms and oral deaf people with/without implants. One thing that is really bothering me is that some, NOT ALL, of these hearing moms are making assumptions and saying things like "my children don't need ASL." Need? Huh? In that one brief sentence, ASL has been relegated to the status of a crutch for oral failures. I take umbrage at that statement and implication. English was my first language and knowing ASL has only enhanced my English. And no, my English was above grade level when I learned ASL, thankyouveddymuch. No one can speak for anyone else when they haven't been through the same thing. We have no right to dismiss anyone's experiences, no matter where they or we are on the continuum. And that's just one of many examples that have cropped up lately on DeafRead.

I, again, want to urge hearing parents to continue to love their children and do what they think is best, but to recognize that we, whether we are a different generation or not, have valid experiences that need to be respected. For example, it's not that easy to be with hearing people who don't sign. It's downright exhausting, in my experience. I got back from a yoga-slash-tai chi class this morning not as relaxed as I could be simply because it is more of an effort for me to use/understand spoken English than it is for me to use signs. _ Much_ more. And every single person I have met who grew up oral has said that they thought they were doing all right until they learned sign language and realized what a difference there is. And these varied and many experiences are being dismissed. We're being told, "Oh, the technology/methodology is better. You're older, so your experiences don't apply." We've heard this for generations now, but the experiences remain remarkably constant. We have lived through this. The hearing moms have not, aside from watching their children. Dialogue is a two-way street here, and I appreciate those of you who are standing up for what you think is right, while listening with respect. Thank you for that.

Part of the issue is having different "centers." One example of how having a different center is important is the term "hard-of-hearing." For someone with a hearing center, the term "a little hard-of-hearing" means to have almost all of his/her hearing, and to just hear slightly less well than a hearing person, while "very hard-of-hearing" means that the person is practically deaf. For a person with a Deaf center, it's the other way around. A person with a Deaf center considers being Deaf quite normal, so someone that's a little bit away from the center is a little hard-of-hearing, while someone who is very hard-of-hearing is further away from the center and has more hearing. And now with the background info out of the way…

…we segue into why I brought up different centers in the first place. We all have different centers. There are those of us who are Deaf-centered, who value BOTH English and ASL (for the record, this ASL-only thing is BS. It's a myth). There are those of us who are hearing-centered, who value English ability, speaking, and listening. There are those of us who are okay with implantation and those of us who are not okay with implantation, even though many of us who are not okay with implantation wouldn't reject someone who has an implant. That's not a bad thing. But if we aren't aware of our different centers, it can impede efforts at dialogue.

One example of this is Melissa, mom of Rachel and Jessica, over at cochlearimplantonline.net. She is clearly a loving mom who worked hard to ensure that Rachel and Jessica are successful, functioning members of the hearing sphere. But when she described Rachel and Jessica's story here ( http://www.cochlearimplantonline.com/index2.php?story), I started crying and I could not stop. I was upset at the idea that Rachel had been through three surgeries and that she'd had to endure processor failure twice without a back-up language/method of communication. Rachel couldn't hear for ten months and there were a lot of struggles with getting the new implants mapped correctly as well as physical pain. I couldn't stand it and bawled my eyes out for hours afterward. I was aghast at the idea of someone going through all this just to speak and listen when they could have had a complete, natural language without physical barriers. I suspect that Melissa and Rachel would be stunned at my becoming upset. They might even scoff. But the thing is, I *understand* their center. I understand that they place a very high premium on speaking, listening, and "being able to be part of the main community." I get that. But do they, and others, get my perspective? I don't think many do. I know some do. And that's an important point.  This is at the crux of our debate/dialogue. Our different centers influence how we see the world. Perhaps knowing this will help us as we continue this dialogue.

Where do we go from here? I honestly don't know. I would never ask DeafRead to boot anyone off, and I shouldn't. But I hope this whole furor will serve as a sharp tap on the shoulder and a reminder of just who the DeafRead base is. We need a safe place. Can DeafRead be that again? I certainly hope so. And hey, now that we're all at the table, let's talk further. Let's listen with respect without being dismissive. Welcome, everyone.

(Note: I'm blogging through pager e-mail since my 'Net access is haphazard at best. Comments have already been set to be moderated and I can't moderate via pager. Please forgive the delay in approving comments. Any insulting comments won't go through, but those that have varying perspectives, showing respect, will.)

31 Comments:

  • At 15:58, Blogger Karen Mayes said…

    I know, I know... I have been having a sinking feeling as I visit DeafRead... it is no longer a fun place to visit, seeing the schism, seeing the rising numbers of v/blogs attacking out of ignorance, etc. I feel sad and angry at the same time, sad at the continual outright rejection of deaf people who don't know ASL and who like CIs, and angry at the leaders for doing nothing, but silently encouraging the rejection.

    I look at my deaf children and I think, oh man, I don't want them to have that kind of attitude that "Deaf" leaders exhibit. No... that would isolate the future deaf generations.

    *lapsing into silence....*

     
  • At 16:22, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    Karen,

    The whole point about a culture is that it has VALUES. Those values are support and passed on from generation to generation because the people in the culture are able to associate with each other and keep the culture going.

    This has nothing to do with exclusiveness, because everyone is welcome to join if they accept those values.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. If you reject the values of the culture, then YOU are rejecting the culture, the culture is NOT rejecting you.

    Got it?

     
  • At 16:43, Blogger Karen Mayes said…

    Ahhhh....hiding behind anonymous. I feel sorry for you, since you feel safe attacking me... I hope you feel better and superior after attacking me.

    You don't know me so I am ignoring your comment.

     
  • At 16:48, Blogger Melissa said…

    You need to report the facts correctly. Go back and read Rachel's story. She was not without hearing for 10 months but, rather, for only two weeks. In addition, she has excellent lipreading skills which got there through those two weeks. There is no need to cry for Rachel. She is leading a very happy life. Take your pity elsewhere.

     
  • At 16:59, Blogger A Deaf Pundit said…

    Moi, you have a very good point about bringing back the colors. I agree, they need to be brought back.

     
  • At 17:02, Anonymous Val said…

    oh, so sad. And it's people like Karen who are helping we hearing parents understand the culture. She's kind and inviting. This isn't my culture, I'm hearing, how can I pass down something that is not part of who I am? we parents get discouraged reading things like this. I even asked to be removed from deafread to no avail after several nasty ANONYMOUS comments. I don't want my kids growing up into such hate and rejection, judging from some of the comments I've received. You should be thanking Karen for helping me understand that the entire culture isn't like that.But I'll thank her instead, thanks Karen! And as for Melissa and Rachel, love them, love them, love them!

     
  • At 17:17, Blogger moi said…

    Karen, DP, and Anoymous, thanks for weighing in. I hear you, Karen. I hate the rejection on *both* sides - the rejection of ASL-using Deafies by some hearing parents and some oral deaf and of oral Deafies by some ASL-using Deafies. We all need to keep in mind that most of us don't believe in that and most of us do believe in unity...

    As for the two hearing moms' comments... Thanks for the correction, Melissa. I read that it took 10 months for the mapping to be correct after the first implant failure/reimplantation. I interpreted that to mean that her hearing was not up to par for 10 months. Was that wrong?

    Furthermore, your (Melissa and Val's) tone and attitude bemuses me. I did not criticize you individually, nor did I criticize your choices. Melissa, I never said I pitied Rachel. I don't. I believe I bent over backwards trying to explain our center and to make you and others feel welcome at the table. Val, I'm sorry you've had negative experiences. But you are contributing to a negative experience for me right now in trying to reach out to you and others, as is Melissa.

    I don't hate you nor your children. I don't reject you nor your children. Heck, I don't even know you guys. I wanted you to feel welcome, but I do not appreciate your tone nor your hostility. When you're ready, the community will be here. Until then, I'm more interested in talking with people from all perspectives who can listen to each other with respect, even if we disagree.

     
  • At 17:37, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    First, I want to thank Jamie Burke’s blog. I did researched Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, MA. There is no test result report up there but that school did reported Culture Students up there but why no report for the test results? Are they afraid or embarrass to show us?

    Clarke School for the Deaf: No Report for test results.

    White, not Hispanic 71%
    Hispanic 16%
    Black, not Hispanic 6%
    Asian/Pacific Islander 3%
    American Indian/Alaskan Native 3%
    Unspecified 1%

    http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ma/otherprivate/2829#students

    Why are those many of Deaf Oral Schools hiding from us all??? Please DO NOT finger pointing at us for being not so sure to trust all Deaf Orals. We had been brainwashed from AG Bell's lovers for so many years! That’s enuff!

     
  • At 17:47, Anonymous Mother of Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Children said…

    WOW! What a delivery! Thank you for expressing what is on your mind with passion and eloquence.

    As a hearing mother of a child who is deaf, I am curious about every mother’s experience and I am happy to share my own. I do not and cannot know, personally, what it means to live life being deaf. I can only learn from people who are deaf, and they (including my own daughter) have taught me a lot. I also expect this to be a life-long journey. I am forever grateful for their willingness to share their experiences with me and for the support they have given and continue to give to me and my family.

    When I read things like, “my children (or I) don't (or didn’t) need ASL,” I am confident it is intended as a statement of the individual’s ability to communicate through listening/speaking. I don’t think it is intended as a rejection of the individual or community that uses ASL, even though that is how it makes me feel. We can learn a lot about each other through reading/writing, but is it possible to establish personal relationships that way? Is it possible to bridge that gap, or to bridge the gap in this community, without personal, face-to-face interaction? Isn’t that the intangible human connection that ASL enables and why we value it so much?

    Mother of Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Children

     
  • At 17:50, Anonymous Ann_C said…

    Well, I don't know about bringing back the colors in DR. Honestly, if they're colored one way for Deaf culture and ASL, another for oral deaf, another for CI users, etc. what would be the point of this forum?

    I mean, Deaf culture/ASL readers will most likely go to only those v/blogs colored for their center, oral deaf go to only their center, CI users to theirs, etc. It's safe and comfy.

    But it seems to be another form of segregating the different elements of the deaf spectrum. There NEEDS to be discussion among the different elements of the deaf population. How the hell are we ever going to understand or support other d/Deaf in deaf issues, if we don't understand where each center is coming from to begin with? Just a certain color isn't going to explain the complexity of that deaf person/hearing parent's center.

    I understand what you are saying, moi, believe me, conflict and heated debates can be disturbing, but without that, how are any of us going to learn what others are thinking? Issues will never resolve, if we don't talk about it, argue about it, yes, and get upset about it every now and then, and then a consensus about the issue evolves eventually over time.

    How do you get people to really think about OTHER points of view? Not by segregating into colored "center's", but by inclusion, as much as it hurts, educates and enlivens us all.

     
  • At 18:06, Blogger DE said…

    Moi,

    Is the CHAMP post! :)

    You said it all so I won't repeat what you said.

    However, you hit it on the spot when you said that the "ASL-only thing is a myth". The most Deaf-centered activists I know are very good English speakers and never once advocated an "ASL-only" approach. They've always worked hard for quality BILINGUAL education, which means ASL **AND** ENGLISH.

    To see them (and me, of course) accused of "ASL-only" and exclusivity pains me, and is reflective of the insidious need to suppress our voice. What are we afraid of??? Differing opinions got us the U.S. Constitution.

    When people advocate for ASL and Deafhood, they are routinely accused of the following;
    -militancy
    -"ASL-only"
    -exclusivity
    -etc. etc.
    Whereas anybody who wants to talk positively about CIs is shown FAR more respect than people who want to talk positively about ASL and Deaf-centeredness.

    And when people want to challenge some CI-related discussion threads, they are further accused of rejecting the INDIVIDUAL who wears a CI. What gives??? If someone challenges the optometry business for making moolah off Americans (as opposed to Russia imposing Lasik surgery on their citizens to save money, which prevented the eyeglass business from raking in profits, like they do here in America), does it mean they reject people who wear glasses or contact lens? NO!

    Separate the IDEA from the individual. It is perfectly all right to debate the benefits, if any, and disadvantages of CIs without resorting to wild accusations of rejecting the Deaf who wear 'em.

    I sure wouldn't have a problem with people objecting to my wearing certain types of eyeglasses, prothesis(es), driving a foreign car, eating at chain restaurants rather than local mom-n-pops, whatyoulike.

    It ain't, and should not be, personal. It's all about corporations making money and affecting us as people. We should focus on that arena rather than degrade discussion threads to unfounded accusations.

    Respect for ALL, including Deaf-centered activists and ASL now! Discuss IDEAS not INDIVIDUALS.

    DE

     
  • At 18:19, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    Karen,

    Read my post again. I said that everyone is welcome to join.

    I am not being negative, but you are trying to put that interpretation on my words.

    Deaf culture does not reject you. But if you reject the values of Deaf culture, then you are rejecting Deaf culture. YOU are making the choice to reject Deaf culture. Deaf culture is not being exclusive. The exact opposite is true.

     
  • At 18:40, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    Pretty self-explanatory.

    Joey Baer said...
    Excellent post! I am with you and others. I have expressed my frustrations with DeafRead founders that I thought DeafRead would be "deaf-centric" site. For those CI blogs, they should stay within AGB site.

     
  • At 18:46, Anonymous anna s said…

    Whew, what a lengthy and a thought-provoking post.

    Speaking of us all having different centers. How so true. Although I am culturally Deaf, communicate primarily in ASL, and both of my parents and grandparents graduated from a residential school for the Deaf, I happen to have a different center than DE and Joey. [Pardon me for using them, but they happen to be quite vocal and made themselves very visible in some of the vlogs.] I am in no way a position to condemn or disregard their so- called principles because I understand they are of a different center. I am quick to assume they do share the same familial background as mine, but still we are of different centers; therefore our perceptions influence the way we think and say.

    To anonymous commenter of time 18:19:

    You said:
    ". . . if you reject the values of Deaf culture, then you are rejecting Deaf culture. YOU are making the choice to reject Deaf culture."

    I beg to differ. Karen Mayes is a culturally Deaf woman and of a different center. Deaf culture has values that are varied, yet clustered in similiar categories. I value ASL, my child prefers to call himself hard of hearing and says he is culturally Deaf. Dont you dare have the balls to say my spunky little boy he is rejecting the Deaf culture by calling himself hard of hearing or he'll slug you with his hockey stick. (:

    Again, thanks for a terrific blog.

     
  • At 18:51, Anonymous anna s said…

    DE Honey,

    You still believe that IT is all about corps making money off innocent deaf babies? Really, is it a worthy discussion? I think this theory should be converted into a book and published by Alfred Publishing Company orthe likes. Wouldnt it be a great conspiracy/mystery/murder type of read?

    (;

     
  • At 19:03, Blogger moi said…

    Hi,

    Thank you, mother of bilingual deaf and hearing children. What you said was beautiful, with so much love and caring. Thank you. I suspect you're probably right about the intent behind "not needing ASL," but they need to hear how that comes across to us. It's all part of the understanding each other's perspective and keeping the dialogue open. As for developing relationships via the Internet versus in person, that's an intriguing question. You have a point there. I think any relationship developed via English would be different from one developed via ASL, based on my experiences and simply because language shapes how we express our thoughts and therefore how we come across. And of course, there's the lack of ability to gauge body language, facial expressions, et cetera. That's an item worthy of another blog post! It's given me food for thought. Thank you again for commenting and I'm glad you're part of our community!

    Ann_C, you raise a valid point, which is why I did NOT ask for many colors. I just wanted two separate colors, one for Deaf people from all types of backgrounds and another for hearing people. I agree with you in that there's no need for several colors and we need to be open to each other. I believe we're mostly on the same page on this one, since we're both saying we need to listen to diverse perspectives. :) Good points and thanks for weighing in!

    DE, I'm seeing that too. I'm surprised there's no condemnation of other forums for not allowing a variety of perspectives, but there's plenty of condemnation for asking for one safe place for Deaf-centered blogs/perspectives. I was also appalled by all the bashing I saw today on various blogs, pointing fingers at specific individuals for being too Deaf-centered, while some people on the other side of the spectrum are guilty of the very sorts of behavior that some Deaf-centered people are being accused of. I really wish this would cease. Let's offer individuals constructive feedback on their behavior in as private a way as possible and let's keep the public dialogue on ideas. There's absolutely no need to tear ANYONE down, no matter what perspective they espouse. Let's keep things civil here, ya know. Thanks for highlighting this aspect of the issues facing us community members.

    Karen, I'm sorry you felt attacked. Hope you'll keep coming back.

     
  • At 19:13, Blogger moi said…

    Whups... wasn't done. *blush*

    Anonymous 18:40 - I'm not sure what your point is. It looks like you're criticizing Joey and criticizing individuals isn't OK with me. Debating ideas and questioning concepts that someone raises is okay. Can you please clarify why you feel this is "self-explanatory," and what the connection is to this post? I'd appreciate that. Thanks! :)

    anna s, thanks for your thoughts. It's true that we shouldn't assume that someone thinks the same way we do, just because we share the same background. Good point. Thanks for the kudos! *smile*

     
  • At 19:24, Blogger patti said…

    Dear Friend

    i thank u for creating this post

    i get it - im at the same place as u

    i actually just created a post in response to how im feeling about DR and all this "dialogue" and "our place" kinda getting colonized
    '
    i wrote more broadly and more generally but what u expressed and how u expressed it - i am like YEAH

    THAT - THAT

    some of the comments under ur really really "i speak from my soul" posting - just make me wanna cry!

    despair

    oy - gotta go refuel

    i think perhaps i should just learn to skip the comments and only read the b/vlog entries until DR can be a place for "civil discourse" again

    peace

    patti

     
  • At 19:46, Anonymous Curious Eyes said…

    moi ... I'm confused. I think DeafRead is already very Deaf-centered. After reading all the blogs for 18 months, I know which ones are all about ASL, Deaf culture, bilingualism, etc. Now that it's become way more inclusive recently with all the CI blogs, parents of deaf kids, etc. etc., I know who they are too. Is it really necessary to separate Hearing and Deaf by color? What about CODAs? Don't you mean, one color for Deaf-centric (regardless of hearing status), and another color for Hearing-centric (regardless of hearing status)??? I agree with what a previous commenter said, that by knowing whether the blogger is hearing or deaf, that will predispose some to click -- or not click -- on that person's blog. I think of DeafRead like a great big party with a lot of folks in attendance, some I know, some I don't know. I can click on the ones I want to "talk" to, ignore the ones I don't, and go up and introduce myself to someone new.

     
  • At 20:44, Anonymous brenster- said…

    excellent, moi, you said it all very well. as i was reading, i was nodding in agreement. it's added to my favorite post list for 2008! :-)

    i agree about getting colors back, as what you, moi, just explained very well in this post.

    patti, yea i thought the same about "...kinda getting colonized" and i mentioned that in my comment at deafchip's post... and, i feel the same about maybe skipping the comments; in fact, i just talked with someone a few days ago that i need to learn to read/view just posts. ahh, easy to say, ha!

     
  • At 21:13, Blogger moi said…

    Patti, I am such a huge fan of yours! I love how you write in such a gentle, respectful way that gets people thinking. I'm honored by your comments here. Thank you! :) You may have a very good idea there - just read the entries and skip the comments, because they can be so dispiriting. *sigh*

    Curious Eyes, thank you for asking for clarification. And no, I do not mean x-centric colors at all. I mean actual audiological labeling. As for the predisposition to clicking, well, it's a free country. People like myself, and I assume you, are more highly evolved and will not let that get in the way of whether or not we read a post. I loved how you described DeafRead as a party - that is such a wonderfully apt description!

    Brenster, thanks! *beam* You're a newcomer to this scene, but I've really enjoyed many of your comments, because they get to the crux of the matter so well.

     
  • At 22:31, Blogger kw said…

    Moi--thank you for saying you enjoyed getting to know me. :-) I have enjoyed reading DeafRead tremendously. I didn't know the blogs used to have colors. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me whether some are deaf or hearing. I have changed my mind on certain issues because I have read viewpoints I didn't originally agree with. This is a good thing.

    I agreed with you on the point made about a mom saying her child didn't "need" ASL. People have been telling me that for years-- "You're not Deaf, you speak. You don't NEED ASL.. . ." I'm an adult. I think what they're' really saying is they don't want me to speak ASL because they don't want to learn it.

    (siiiiigh) I can barely speak in ASL. I talk like baby talk ASL. But you know what? Even though my ability to speak in ASL is so limited, it's SOOOOO much better than English sometimes!! I have a couple deaf/Deaf friends I can practice with. The first time I got through a two-hour lunch without having a speaking conversation in a noisy restaurant, it was like the world had opened up for me. For once in my life, I could sit in a restaurant and enjoy my meal conversing like everyone else around me without straining to hear-- because I was signing. That was a couple years ago and it was GREAT!! It was the best thing ever!!! My family doesn't get it. They just DON'T! Because I can speak. But that's not the point.

    I would also like to say to Rachel's mom about lip-reading. It sucks. I don't care how good you are at it. I am supposedly an "expert" lip-reader. I've been lip-reading most my life. But the fact is it's only physically possible to read 30% of the English sounds on the lips and the rest is all guesswork. You're guessing 70% of the time. People should call it "Lip-GUESSING"

    She's DEAF, and she's wonderful! If my kid had a CI, she would also know ASL because of all those times the CI isn't on. I would never want my kid to be without a way to communicate in an emergency. But that's just me. . .

    Kim :-)

     
  • At 23:15, Blogger Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said…

    Wow, this is just too much for me at 8 when I have to run to take Sofia to school. Really thought-provoking beautiful post of a torn, good-hearted person reacting the same way as I would if people stormed the ci community. People have been handling all of this so well so far. Your post was beautiful. Please don't segregate me by throwing up colors, who I am is always reflected in my posts...and not to worry, every now and then they add that painful word - Audism. I really enjoyed reading this blog. Thank you, Jodi

     
  • At 05:12, Blogger Karen said…

    This was a post that really had me thinking and it's only 6:30 a.m...

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Moi.

    I have to disagree (respectfully, of course) about the color system. I think every post should be read at face value and not take into consideration the audiological information behind each person. Here's my reason why-- because I think it's those pre-concieved ideas that do harm. Let me give you an example. A year ago, when I was researching implants for my article, I came across a parent who totally trashed me on the internet in a forum. This person had never met me but yet, she labeled me as being "more hands than voices". I've been called an ASL militant by another. I have friends who love to tease me and tell me I think "hearing." I have ASL friends who "cough, cough" at my ASL. I have been seen on every side of the communication methodology spectrum, being tossed in one camp or another when I'm simply curious to learn more and open about it.
    I'm also a parent of three deaf and hard of hearing kids and this journey isn't an easy one. The parent side of me wrestles with stuff from the deaf side of me and then I have three kids' views to consider as well. But the one thing that I am teaching all of my kids is that EVERY Deaf and hard of hearing person has VALUE, regardless of their communication mode.

     
  • At 05:25, Anonymous PP said…

    Bingo! You said it all. Deafread needs to do a lot of examination. I did ask Deafread about hearing and deaf posts not having colored buttons to differentiate between them. Like you said, Tayler ignored my question. People tend to ignore comments or questions if they are uncomfortable or stuck. Karen is right. Deafread is no longer a fun place to visit. I have to work so hard to find deafcentric posts. Tayler, please do something to save Deafread.

     
  • At 05:57, Blogger Candace A. McCullough said…

    You hit the nail on the head. Exactly my concerns. Thank you for being authentic. Yes, bring back the 2 separate colors for hearing and Deaf posts.

     
  • At 08:27, Anonymous Curious Eyes said…

    good morning moi: thank you for your reply. Can we chat some more about this topic? :) I'm still pondering the use of colors to differentiate deaf and hearing. To borrow your analogy of black people -- isn't that segregation? I liked what someone else said before, if I did not know whether the person was deaf or hearing, I'd have to open the blog and read their actual words for myself. Maybe I'd change my mind about whether that person's words were worthy of my consideration, hearing status aside. I also do not feel that audiological status is a good measure of Deaf- or visual-centric. I know a few hearing people who are way more radical and militant about Deaf culture and ASL than I am, and I'm deaf. But I know a lot of Deaf people think I'm way more hearing-centric than I actually am, because I have some speech and have a CI. In my opinion, being Deaf-centric itself is not black-or-white either. As we have seen in DeafRead, my eyes are being opened as to the real depth and breadth of our diversity in our community -- they're out there, we just don't always see them. Now that we have DeafRead, it's the first time in history that we're all able to talk to each other and share our views. I am loving the whole experience, sharp comments, defensiveness, hurt feelings, warts, and all.

    ... of course, it's easy for me to say. I don't have a blog of my own. Those who bravely expose their lives, experiences, thoughts, and feelings to the world out there are also exposing themselves to the risks that someone might not like what they have to say. It's not always safe, but to use colors will not make it more safe. To you bloggers and vloggers out there, I respectfully raise my cup of tea to you and say, "more power to you!" Let's keep talking and sharing, but respectfully, please.

     
  • At 16:28, Blogger Tales from the CI Gal said…

    Moi,
    there are two of us. Val is the wonderful mom with 2 CI children. I am the Valerie who had the bilateral CIs and a hearing daughter. I go by Val, Valerie or Vallee. I am honored you have us confused.

    Valerie

     
  • At 03:20, Blogger Karen Mayes said…

    Curious Eyes, that was a nice comment, clarifying more what Moi meant by the centers. Everyone has his/her opinions and when the opinions do not mesh with other opinions, of course, attacks, trying to point out the "wrongness" of other opinions, etc., (like me eating the cake... I chose to ignore the comment because my opinion did not mesh with the anonymous' opinion... that is an example.) So when opinions and experiences clash, the division is felt, leading to negative feelings. So Moi, you are right... it is about people (not only deaf... but hearing also) finding their centers and finding their niches in order to feel "home"... friends, languages, cultures, etc.

    By the way, to hearing parents, thanks... I am glad to be of any help to bring Deaf Culture to you and to bring hearing parents to Deaf culture. I want to see more understanding and accepting between two communities.

    Beautiful blog, Moi. ;o)

     
  • At 09:19, Anonymous Val said…

    Moi, sorry, wasn't trying to be hostile to you. I was just a little upset because the night before I'd received ugly emails form an anonymous poster, like the one that sounded negative toward Karen M.(not that it was the same person, I don't think it was) I was letting off some steam but it wasn't directed at you. I happen to usually agree w/Melissa (hearing mom of Rachel)and Karen M so I'm getting both sides here. I get a little protective when I feel like one of "my girls" is falling under criticism. But I meant no hostility towards you.

     
  • At 12:43, Anonymous Sarah said…

    Hi- thanks for linking me. I'm still up and blogging away (:

     

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