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 27 avril 2008

DeafSide: Home?

The message at the DeafRead conference last winter, according to people who were there, was loud and clear - DeafRead was our home and now we don't have a safe harbor. Since then, DeafRead Custom has arrived. I see pros and cons to this approach, but I confess to having implemented it happily. And now we get DeafSide? Woo-hoo!!

DeafRead Custom is an interesting creature. It's very difficult to hide many blogs because you have to click on one blog at a time and wait for the page to reload after each blog. I suspect it was implemented this way on purpose in order to force us to be choosy about which blogs to hide. Once I discovered that, I had to pause and come up with a set of criteria to help guide my clicking and waiting. They can all be boiled down into two sentences:
If the blogger is irresponsible about airing his/her opinions and routinely accuses others of being divisive, militant, exclusive, etc, I'm not interested. If the blogger repeatedly forces Deaf-centered people to have to defend our existence as a valid, viable one, I'm not interested. *click*
I'm only interested in reading/viewing entries from responsible bloggers, even if I don't agree with them. The blogs that I have hidden run the gamut from ASL users to non-signers, and they are hidden only because they fit the criteria above. But hiding only 15 blogs has made DeafRead a much more pleasant experience for me. Kudos to Tayler and Jared for coming up with this solution!

I don't understand what the hue and cry is about DeafSide myself. The idea is freakin' BRILLIANT! According to Tayler and Jared,
We understand the need for a safe harbor for the cultural and linguistic minority. DeafSide will not be a place for vblogs with a lukewarm reception to ASL. The vbloggers will unabashedly support ASL and other signing languages and have a strong Deaf cultural center. DeafSide will provide a protected area to help all signing languages thrive and encourage positive discussions among the signing Deaf.
And the problem with that is what, exactly? Women have forums where they feel safe and can celebrate womanhood. Different ethnic groups have forums where they feel safe and can celebrate their experiences. CI parents have forums where they feel safe and can celebrate their stories. And it goes on. We can't have ours? If that's the case, something's wrong with the picture here.

And the cries of "Exclusion!" are unfounded. The only "not" anywhere in their announcement says that "DeafSide will not be a place for vblogs with a lukewarm reception to ASL." Otherwise everything is described in language that describes what DeafSide will be. There's no mention about having to have certain backgrounds, certain hearing levels, certain levels of signing skill or *anything* like that. The only requirement is to "unabashedly support ASL and other signing languages and have a strong Deaf cultural center." And that's bad how, exactly? I fail to understand the fear here.

EVERY single time we Deaf-centered people create a safe harbor, it's invaded by people who would wipe us out with their attempts at "normalization." Not only that, some of our own people jump on the bandwagon and point fingers at us, accusing us of every crime under the sun... when all we want is a safe place.

DeafSide can only help DeafRead, as I see it. Many people have lost a lot of interest in DeafRead because it's not a safe place anymore. Deaf-centered people, who came to DeafRead to celebrate signed languages and our uniquely Deaf way of life, have been reduced to defending our very existence. That's one of the reasons I haven't been blogging these days. No matter how busy I was, I used to be able to find time to blog every once in a while. But I personally don't feel safe anymore. I don't mind having discussions with people in a give-and-take fashion, where everyone *listens* to each other. People who know me know that I can often be found sitting down with someone and talking to them, trying to raise them to a higher plane and to make them better community members (not by brainwashing, thankyouverymuch. I want people to think for themselves!). So that's not the issue. The issue is that since last summer, when I blog, I've had to defend my existence against people who believe that I need to be fixed. That's scary and nauseating all at once. And I'm not alone. Based on discussions in the Real World, MANY bloggers and commenters feel the same way.

Now with DeafSide, that safe harbor will be back! I believe that will encourage many people to return to blogging/vlogging/commenting and it'll bring more people into the fold. The brilliance of the plan is that DeafSide will be directly channeled into DeafRead. This will bring back the Deaf-centered voice that's been slowly disappearing from DeafRead. This will ensure that the goal of DeafRead remains - a place to bring all perspectives into one central site.

And ANYONE is welcome to join DeafSide, no matter what their background is, their signing skill is, or anything like that, as long as they show respect for the Deaf way of life.

I'm throwing my full support behind DeafSide (even tho' I think the name should be DeafCenter, DeafHub, or something like that). Thank you so much, Tayler and Jared, for crafting such an amazing solution to this dilemma!


  • At 16:06, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    um... I just have a question. Granted, DeafSide will be for ASL- and Deaf-centered v/bloggers, I get that. But what's to stop "others" who are not necessarily ASL- or Deaf-centered themselves from visiting those sites and asking the same old annoying questions and giving you advice or rants about CI, AVT, and implanting babies? Isn't this "safe harbor" notion an illusion?

  • At 16:21, Blogger Jim said…

    I like your post and I agree. I am not sure I will be in Deafside because I believe it is a sanctuary for specific group of people. I can understand the concept of having this kind of sanctuary. The only thing I am concerned is this, if someone stays in the sanctuary and not come out at all, that's what is dangerous.


  • At 16:41, Anonymous Anonyme said…

    Deafhome.com?? DeafHome?? Smile

  • At 17:45, Anonymous Noni Warner said…

    I am with you .. place to let our hair down.
    I am mostly interested in ASL and Deaf culture, Deafhood, sign languages etc. im not interested in hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc. - so prefer a place where i can learn more about what i am interested in. i am socmtimes curious about cochlear implants, and people who have cochlear implants, their experiences. but having to go to a place where people talk about sounds and fun with cochlear implants, i am not interested. so i am with Musing by Moi on her points about having a place to feel safe and to enjoy talking about sign langauge etc.


  • At 20:09, Anonymous patti said…

    great entry

    re: illusion - nah! we know there will be comments here and there that might not be to our liking but we also know when we got to DeafRead listing it wont be like running a gaunlet to find those precious few like minded bloggers / vlogger because all the good minds and hearts kinda just started thinking why bother to b/vlog as its open season on ASL and Deaf culture over at Deafread

    re: danger in never coming out of the sanctuary - jim u r forgetting is a hearing world out there and we encounter hearing people everyday of our lives so really there is no risk in having a few moments of Deaf centered time

    re: letting our hair down on Deafside or Deafhome or vhatever they call it - i believe it will be much more than just letting our hair down - i think it may be really really constructive to the formation of a stronger Deaf SL collective consciousness so im eager to see it emerge - a place/space where colonialism is discussed but does not occur

    need that big time

    musing moi - glad u is back



  • At 21:51, Blogger moi said…

    Anonymous #1, that's a good point about not being able to prevent others from visiting DeafSide. Yes, and that's what's great about the Internet - the openness and accessibilty. Why can't they come over and check DeafSide out? Sure, why not? :) I can't speak for other bloggers, but if my blog is chosen for DeafSide, I plan to continue moderating comments and not allow troll-type comments through. Thoughtful questions like yours will be allowed through and dissenting, yet respectful opinions that seek to begin/continue a dialogue will continue to be posted. Comments that criticize or put anyone down will continue to be blocked. DeafSide shouldn't be about everyone thinking the same thing or trying to brainwash people - it should be about respectful dialogue with a strong Deaf center. Just my $0.02. *smile*

    Jim, thanks. *smile* I agree with you in that we shouldn't be sticking our heads in the sand. However, we are exposed to the greater world out there 24/7. Sanctuaries are few and far in between, so by default we are going to continue to be exposed to other perspectives. I personally plan to continue to read a variety of blogs and check out DeafRead after DeafSide is launched.

    Noni and Anonymous #2, thanks. *grin*

    Patti, great to see you too! Thanks for your thoughtful responses to my commenters. I definitely agree with what you said, especially the idea about DeafSide being an avenue to raising our consciousness to a higher level. That excites me because that's what I hoped for DeafRead. I'm relieved we are getting back on track.


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