Friday, January 18, 2008

Seducing the Deaf Community

This one is for A Deaf Pundit...
Call me crazy, but I just have to write what I'm going to write...bear with me. I'm thinking I'm going for an analogy here. This situation is kind of like two married people who sense a strong attraction. The Deaf individual is married to ASL and the Deaf Community. The hearing parent who opts for the cochlear implant is torn between having knowingly "cut her child's skull open" not for the purpose of removing a child "suffering" from deafness, but to provide that child with the possibility of another identity - a hearing identity because "Hearing is not perfection or a normality, it is just the majority" - and this hearing identity offers a helluva lot of opportunities. Consider me the aggressive one trying to make love to the Deaf community...I'm flirting, being honest and listening to its soul. Some people get this and are attracted to what I am offering, others just don't feel me, but the ones who feel me...are still interested in where I'm going to take them. There is passion on both sides. I have something you want...a deaf child. You have something I want, a rich community that stimulates me because I perceive a depth in this community, a sensitive and protective soul that I know is a part of my son, a fundamental part of my non-robotic, feeling son. Yet, while the temptation is strong (because I'm highly provocative - and hot-just got my hair done) there is resistance because the Deaf community has a history of self-love, it is loyal to its own, speaks a language of its own and is afraid to take that step...afraid to cheat. When everything is perceived as perfect in your life: Why change? Why experiment? Why open yourself to the possibility of more pain and suffering? So, you start doing your best to push that person trying to love you away...far away. But the attraction persists. Because the other married person does not go away, she insists. In every relationship there is always someone who loves more than the other, especially when the motivating force in this love affair is a mother's unconditional love for her child.


Anonymous said...

excuse me while I go have a cigarette!

Anonymous said...

Quite a powerful and though-provoking analogy, Jodi! Blog on, girl! :)

Unknown said... nice to be understood...rofl,Jodi

Anonymous said...

Another typo today, meant thought-provoking, but I know YOU know what I meant. LOL

Getting the hair and color thing done on Tuesday. Hope I look as hot as you! :)

Karen Putz said...

Good gosh, ladies, did I start something when I went to the beauty salon last week? :)

It's an amusing analogy, except that collectively, not everyone from the Deaf Community thinks the same or feels the same way. We need to stop dividing into camps by methodologies or choices and recognize that we're all different aspects on the same continuum. :)

A Deaf Pundit said...

Jodi, thank you for your attempt to seduce me. *grins*

Sorry to say it's not working. It's making me laugh though, which is considerably better than me being mad.

The Deaf Community has made a lot of mistakes in the past when it's tried to have a dialogue about the CIs.

And yes, there are some Deaf extremists who continue to say things that they shouldn't. However, I and others have the balls to condemn them.

But I don't see the parents having the balls to condemn people like Susanna.

And you know, I have to ask where the Deaf Community learned how to do those tactics.

We didn't create those tactics. And in fact, I don't think people want to admit that the tactics that the Deaf extremists employ are the very tactics that the CI extremists committed against us in the past.

Thus, the war continues and will continue until enough of us have the balls to tell the both CI and Deaf extremists that enough is enough, and two wrongs don't make a right.

Unknown said...

A Deaf Pundit,
We are making love not war:) There will always be people with strong voices motivated by personal experiences that I will never understand. I'm walking the middle line and I'm staying here...Jodi

Unknown said...

It WAS your photo that started all of this! What a woman!...totally agree. Jodi

Dianrez said...

That's a refreshing way to put it, Tuscany Mom.

Let's not forget that when the child attains the age of majority and has choices of his own, he will decide for himself how to mix his community. Hopefully, he will choose to run in both communities and be bicultural and bilingual, operating with equal facility in both.

However, the community where he gets greatest emotional satisfaction may not be the one that you raised him to be in. Be involved in the "other" community as much as you can.

A Deaf Pundit said...

*smiles* Okay. May I have this dance, then? ;)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the chuckle. i just gotta share this with mom!

you rock, jodi!

(the package from just just just arrived!!! Rally Caps! Yay!)

Unknown said...

I have the feeling that Jordan will be involved in both, that's why I'm going to a place that is not a part of my current reality. Thanks for stopping by, I like reading your comments on other blogs...Tuscan Mom hahahaha

Unknown said...

A Deaf Pundit,
Of course...but I'll let you lead...Jodi

Unknown said...

Anna S,
I missed, Jodi

Abbie said...

Is it hot in here or is it me? :)

I am at a lost for words because this post is just that good. I'm going to quote it!

I'm getting the do done next Saturday as well right after I go to the "TYRA BANKS" show :) Think I have a shot as Americas Deaf Top Model LOLLLLLLLL!!!

Anonymous said...

What a sexy way to look at it Jodi! LOL. I enjoy your blog, but this post is over the top creative and saucy! I think you and I share many feelings about raising our deaf boys.

Anonymous said...

If the goal is identifying with the majority in order to have more opportunities, then I say, let's all be white, blue-eyed, blond-haired, handsome men from upper-class families. This way, all minorities (women, Blacks, lower class, Hispanics, etc.) will also get to have more opportunities. Skin bleaching and a sex change operation anyone? :)

Many minorities are quite satisfied with their identities and would not want to change. The problem of lack of opportunities often does not originate with the minority, but with the majority who has the power, has misconceptions about the minority, doesn't accept, and doesn't understand that another reality other than theirs can be equally as valuable and fulfilling. Human potential comes in many different forms and contributions.

I truly don't think you meant to imply anything negative, but I hope you can see how your comment about "being part of the majority and thus having more opportunities" can be seen as devaluing the experiences of others, specifically, minorities.

As hearing people, we may find it difficult to admit, but we are largely part of the problem and we need to understand that the oppression of deaf people has been going on for a long time. They were actually just fine (1817-1880) before Hearing people took over deaf education in 1880 and banned ASL and fired the majority of Deaf teachers from schools for the deaf. Before this, deaf people were literate, held professional positions, were bilingual...these facts have conveniently been pushed out of the collective memory of the Hearing majority...mainly, because this success in education, literacy, and life involved a parallel, but different way of being...a predominantly visual way of being and reaching one's full human potential.

The minority-majority dynamics in play here today are very real(investigate deaf education pre-Milan 1880 and post-Milan 1880). Some Deaf people may lean to the far side of the continuum of some issues not out of fear, but because they know these dynamics are very real and they have experienced the ignorance of Hearing people first hand. Lord knows I see it everyday in deaf education. Many deaf people have wrongly received an inferior education due to that ignorance which has perpetuated the minority status of deaf people and effectively kept them from having positions of power and a voice in matters which affect them. The name for this is institutionalized oppression which serves to marginalize minorities.

I think we owe some validation to that and we need to be mindful of why we see certain reactions that we do. There is more to it than fear of the majority.

Just something to think about.

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