Saturday, February 16, 2008
Hey Karen and Aidan...Amazing Posts!
"Face of dick!" This is what my student called another one in my Middle School group during our rowdy game of "Go Fish" where apparently anything goes. After fifty minutes of conversation and grammar, they just can't control their teen hormones and foul mouths, so they let it all rip those last ten minutes. Yeah, I can hang with them, after all, foul language is a part of the language experience...SO, I had to correct him, it did take me a couple of minutes to compose myself - they kill me...yes, he now knows that "Face of dick" is more correctly known as "Dickface!"
And...I had to help one of my high school students translate Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" for an oral exam that analyzes some type of text. Not quite sure it's the best song for the job, but one thing is for sure, her presentation will hold the professor's attention. Hmmm...I just really want you to understand the many subtleties that added together form my freaking insane life these days.
I was MIA on Thursday because I was busy getting busy on V-Day. So...I missed Karen Mayes' blog and now I have about 15 minutes to get deep on this subject before I have to go and not come back. So...Karen raised an interesting point:
What disturbs me is the oppression of CI people by Deaf people. CI people would be accepted only if they know ASL. It does not make sense to me… because that is very conditional, very isolating, a way to let them know that they are not normal until they learn ASL. Are we seeing oppression in action now, in DeafRead? Instead, while they claim to welcome CI people because they are deaf just like them, BUT only if… the CI people took up ASL. If they see no need for ASL, fine, the doors are then slammed shut in their faces, proving the claims of the deaf community as being exclusive sadly correct. Where is Deafhood in this?
I am here posting and sharing on deafread.com conscious of the fact that the Deaf community asserts a passionate need for its members to be fluent in ASL to be recognized not as being deaf in and of itself, but as proof that the person is truly in touch with and accepting of himself or herself as a Deaf individual. It is my impression that the combination of the two elements ASL and being deaf are requirements for true membership.
Then, in one of the best blogs I have EVER read, Aidan Mack writes:
The concept of "Deafhood" encourages the acceptance of all different kinds of Deaf people. Deafhood is a journey where we examine ourselves as Deaf people, and make the effort to push ourselves to higher levels, rather than focus on the medical term "deafness" which puts the focus on broken ears and detracts from putting the focus where it belongs, i.e., on the person as a whole and complete person. Deafhood always emphasizes the acceptance of all kinds of Deaf people. I was invited, as a special guest, to attend a session of three-credit Deafhood course offered by David Eberwein as the instructor. I was overwhelmed and felt a sense of awe in seeing all the different kinds of Deaf people at the class, including oral deaf people, deaf people with cochlear implants, and those who grew up in mainstream classes. There were even hearing people attending the class.
And Aidan's point is well taken...people like my son and myself are accepted, but not truly members...yet.
I have learned a couple of things in my journey with my son. First of all, Aidan says, "ASL is our BIRTHRIGHT," I respectfully reply that NO language is a birthright, it is an acquired communication method chosen based on a person's environment and ability. I would have said that English was my son's birthright, instead it happened to have been Italian, with English a close second. I had to learn Italian because our journey in Deafhood dictated such, I became part of another culture for my son...learning a new language does not scare me, it's only a matter of finding the time...and the teacher. Each culture must be respected and those who are not native to that culture must be the ones to adapt, because the culture sure as hell isn't going to adapt to you.
I am adapting.
BUT, CI is very much part of the deaf community, same as very much part of the hearing community and they are really the bridges between two worlds. They could help us understand the hearing world and they could help hearing people to understand the deaf world.
We in the Deaf community have many hearing friends who are parents of Deaf children. These are parents who respect ASL and want to learn about our community. They are open minded, and they want the best for their Deaf children. They don't look down on us or harbor prejudices toward us. It is perfectly fine for people to see things from each other's differing perspectives, engage in spirited discussions, and still be friends.
I am adapting...
Bloggers are building bridges.
(and now I am going because I am latttttttteeeeeeeeeee! No time to re-read, it is what it is...Have a GREAT Saturday!)