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

lundi 9 juin 2008

Drama in DeafBlogLand

The saga du jour is the DeafRead-Cochlear Implant Online mêlée. Everybody and his brother has been blogging about this since the news broke midweek, with criticisms flying left and right.

I’m saddened by the whole thing. There are hurt feelings everywhere and a lot of righteous indignation… some justified, some not. I can’t help but think that Tayler has been one of the staunchest defenders of inclusion on DeafRead, and when he boots someone off, he is instantly accused of either pandering to people who can’t stand Rachel or he hates Rachel/perceives her as a threat. That doesn’t make sense at all.

Remember how last winter there was intense pressure to remove audist blogs from DeafRead? Tayler refused to give in. He and the editorial team were harder to move than Mt. Everest. They repeatedly defended the decision, insisting that everyone had a place at the table. That leads me to think that there has to be more to this than Tayler has said online. It’s not as simple as “she’s out because she’s not on my side and she upsets people.” I wish more people would remember this and not be so quick to play judge, jury, and executioner here.

That said, I think Tayler and the DeafRead team need to put the facts out there for us to evaluate. We need to keep asking for the facts. I have many questions, even though I have faith in this team. I want to be able to put my support fully behind them… and I will, once I know the facts and it seems that their actions appear to be justified and appropriate.

Another thing that this whole fracas makes vividly clear: this insane either/or dichotomy.

Implants OR natural signed languages
Speech OR natural signed languages
AVT OR natural signed languages
Hearing OR Deaf
deaf OR Deaf
DeafVillage OR DeafRead

Bloggers who are in a tizzy about Rachel’s being forcibly shoved from DeafRead are saying they’re going to leave DeafRead and join Deaf Village. I’m scratching my head, because really, there is no need to choose. Why can’t people be on both sites? Those who are on both but only want to read one site are welcome to do that. It seems to me that this DeafVillage OR DeafRead mentality is some kind of bizarre extension of the insistence that one has to make a choice to either speak or sign with Deaf children. That’s not the case. Let’s give them everything. Let’s be part of everything.

Another issue here is that very few people are acknowledging how Rachel is a polarizing figure and even if they do, they usually do not acknowledge why. Patti Durr had this to say:
she has a horrible view of ASL and Deaf culture people and by virtue of writing such she has deliberately and intentionally steered any parents away from Deaf culture and ASL and she had this attitude long before she got any nasty comments in her blog. Just as it is a pity when any vlog/blog chooses to paint CI people in a horrible light, so too is it a pity when any CI person (or supporter) choose to paint ASL and Deaf people in a horrible light
Exactly. She also says in the same comment:
and I am sorry to say this kim but for every nasty comment u can show me that has been directed at CI folks or CI supporters (and I don’t accept or like those) I can show u some pretty ugly stuff coming from these very same folks
Horrible comments are not necessary and should not be accepted, no matter what one’s paradigm or who those comments are directed toward. I’m struggling with how to say this, because I truly do not want to hurt Rachel or anyone. I just want to express how I feel and what I think about what people are saying, how they are presenting themselves, and what respect truly is.

This is why I love Patti Durr – she is so gentle and loving toward everyone. I was very moved by this entry directed at Rachel. It expresses so much of what I think and feel about Rachel's writing.

Tony Nicholas raises an important question: what exactly is respect? How does one show respect?

I do not feel that Rachel, Melissa, and Elizabeth have shown me, and others like me, respect. I do not feel that they have truly listened and tried to understand different perspectives. I feel I have been trying, as exemplified in this post and others I’ve written. And I continue to try to do so. Tony, again, hits a home run when he says:
Personally, I find the attitude displayed [or Canine Territorial Marking as the case may be] on Cochlear Implant Online, every a bit arrogant as those Elizabeth and Rachel [and their mother] accuse the “militant deaf” of displaying. Reducing comments, perspectives, et al, to the status of “that’s an interesting viewpoint”, is frigging patronising. With Elizabeth’s admission that she and her sister are basically two little college girls, she puts her foot right in it. I will abstain from baring my fangs here. Mother is there, lurking in the shadows.
Bingo. Let’s be honest here. Some people who accuse us of being militant have hurled the most vile invectives toward us. The ugliness is not one-sided. This is why Rachel and other partisans are such polarizing figures. To be fair, Rachel herself has never, to my knowledge, been openly insulting. Her barbs are subtler, but they find their mark just the same.

I agree with Patti when she said that she doesn’t want to declare open season on Rachel। I don’t either. She is a person who deserves to be treated with respect. She has mine as a human being. So do every one of you. However, it is necessary to examine the situation more critically and acknowledge what has been said and done.

Please don’t interpret this as anti-CI or anti-non-signers. It is NOT. There are many people, like Robyn, Kim, and many others, who truly want to listen to everyone and share their experiences. Their attitude and their way of presenting themselves is what makes the diference. I cherish these people and consider them very much part of the community.

I still dream that one day we will all be able to come together in mutual respect and harmony as a community, even if we do not agree. For that to happen, we all need to examine our own attitudes, words, and motivations. I’m examining mine. I invite you to examine yours. Here’s to a healthy, respectful online community that includes people from all walks of life.


  • At 21:33, Blogger OCDAC said…

    Like I said,

    Deaf blogsphere is gonna be sizzling hot this summer!

  • At 21:34, Blogger Dianrez said…

    Thanks, Moi, for the suggestion that we all examine our attitudes.

    I was distressed by the unneccessary Rachel/Tayler scenario and its consequences for DeafRead...but it is good that Rachel started DeafVillage and that many of the CI blogs have gone over there.

    By concentration richness is developed, and this may happen with both DeafVillage and DeafRead.

  • At 05:09, Anonymous Jon said…

    Yes, about examining their and our attitudes.

    Is it negative or positive?

    Is it defensive or offensive?

    Is it for self-interest or for others?

    Whoever you are, there is two places you can feel comfortable with, DeafRead or DeafVillage.

    Wait to make judgement which is which next year.


  • At 10:26, Blogger MM said…

    It is all just further fragmentation of the deaf sectors. We all look to these aggregates and such online really, as perhaps a place where a level playing field might be established, and perhaps one day some compromise might occur we could all agree on, but they all seem to deteriorate rapidly into opposing camps of one sort or another.

    Aggregates will just evolve as 'stand-alone' sites again, returning to the old and unwanted status quo set up, that has already proven unworkable. It is too easy to just say, OK you go there, I'll set up an alternative etc, this is DEFEAT, it is not acceptance, it is saying we cannot, and never will unify, so I'm off. Personally I don't want to give up trying, none of us should, as deaf.read has been put to the test, is everyone in agrement they chose rightly ? Gallaudet started like that, the press slaughtered them.

  • At 15:51, Blogger Abbie said…

    It is unfortunate that this happened and I never once said that it was singled out based on the fact that it was CI blog. I thought it was merely a coincidence. I still think Tayler reasoning is unclear on the true nature. I genuinely want Deaf people to see me for me first and not my CI or my deafness.

  • At 05:19, Anonymous Anonyme said…


    another awesome blog

    it is tricky stuff - this self-examination and growth

    my hats off to DeafRead big time for undertaking this aggregator for creating a Deaf space - for putting me into contact with oodles of people all over the globe

    i do read/view and think seriously about most everything i see here - except the really nasty stuff - then i kinda let it ping of my heart - say a little meditation and then click delete on my mind-screen

    some of the stuff can be very toxic

    4 agreements books says becareful what u put into ur mind mitote

    the mindfields have been hard to avoid on DR lately but there are so many gems

    keeping our eyes on the prize folks



  • At 17:39, Blogger Shel90 said…

    I have never felt such disrespect towards Deaf signers or ASL with any of the other CI blogs as I did with CochlearImplantOnline. It is fine if they want to promote CIs and oralism but it is not ok if they make false statements about ASL or Deaf people who use ASL, especially if they have never learned ASL nor really interacted with members from the Deaf community.


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