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 19 juin 2010

To What Extent? Where is the Happy Middle?

My mind is just jumping around here and there, with several thoughts percolating, each vying for domination... yet remaining half-formed. It's frustrating because I want to develop each of them and do a post worthy of each thought. Some are very positive and affirming, while others may seem more like I'm sitting here with my arms folded and chin jutting out (even though that's *far* from the case.) There is one thought that seems more formed than the others, so here goes...

A friend and I were talking earlier this week about how important it is to support each other, but is there a line to how far we should go to support each other? The particular example we were examining was politics. For example, what if a Deaf person runs for public office but their ideas are not going to better the Deaf community as a whole? Do-do? Some would say, "NO MATTER. SUPPORT-SUPPORT MUST." Others would say waitaminit and speak out, saying the candidate's stance is unacceptable for an elected representative. After some discussion, the best solutions we came up with were: 1. to be proactive and prepare our own people then support their campaign and 2. if we are caught off guard, to go ahead and try to work with them to get them to see reason then support their campaign. Both are positive, while remaining true to one's set of principles.

That whole discussion was a good one, and it got me thinking about various other things. I recently attended this Deaf performance, and um, I was *not* impressed. There was this one poignant moment and there were glimmers of brilliance here and there. But on the whole, it was a major yawn in my opinion. Some of it was same old, same old and overall I was left with the impression of this very self-absorbed person reliving moments that perhaps did not need to be relived. I had several quibbles with the ASL rendition, including the fact that spatial rules were ignored. One character in one monologue had been set up to be on the signer's left and another on the signer's right. Within a minute they had switched places with no logical reason for that happening, which is a *major* linguistic transgression. This happened several times throughout the show. I looked around me a few times to see if I was the only one feeling lukewarm about the whole thing. There were a lot of smiles and a few chuckles. There was no one rolling their eyes. I may or may not have been alone in my assessment of the exhibition, but I appeared to be firmly in the minority. No matter. I stand firm in my opinion. Truth be told, I would have a lot of fun writing a review panning the performance. But what good would that do? I think it'd do more harm than good. Yet I believe just applauding and saying, "Oh, it was fabulous!" over and over would not do any good either. It'd be dishonest. I was fortunate in that the people I was chatting with afterward did not discuss the gig, so I didn't have to make a decision about how to convey my thoughts right then. Upon reflection, the best way of putting it isn't apparent, even though the principle is: how to be honest, while recognizing the good parts of the whole thing. *shrug*

I am also keenly disappointed right now at one organization. In my (and many other's) view, they are in sore need of a direction change. They have a golden opportunity to do that and the time is *ripe*. However, they recently announced a decision that seems to indicate they are not interested in charting a new course. Instead, they want to do what they've been doing for way too long. In fact, based on info from a reliable source, they actively went out of their way to keep the status quo. I'm now left wondering what to do about it. I'm stunned, disappointed, and disheartened. I found out about this not too long ago, so I'm still processing this. I am, however, very clear on where I stand: They are wrong. My goal is to lovingly let them know and to urge them to change course without destroying them with vitriol born out of frustration. How? Ay, there's the rub.

All in all, the two extremes of "Shut up and just support our people" and "Time to go on the warpath!" are not acceptable in most instances. The goal needs to be constructive feedback, given with caring and loving support. Easier said than done, y'know. There are times when gentle, constructive feedback given in private is the kindest, most thoughtful thing we can do. There are others when a major jolt is just the ticket, such as the 2006 Gallaudet Protest. There are still others when something in between is most appropriate. The challenge is knowing when to do what, while remaining true to your principles and trying not to hurt people unnecessarily. I may fail at times, but it's not for lack of trying and caring about the outcome. After all, I love my community and I want nothing but the very best for it and for everyone in it.