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 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.

Karen wrote:
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.

Aidan wrote:
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!)


Karen Mayes said...

Hey thanks for a wonderful blog!

Everyone has his/her own opinions and we have seen at how some blogs touch some people's nerves, so they react. *shrug* I am for communication for ALL people and I do notice that some people think I am against deaf people (me, against deaf people? When my daughter goes to Bi Bi deaf school, when I am writing letters to Dr. Marra about ISD being more of a school than a state agency in order for ISD to get more funding, I hang out with deaf friends, I got my hometown's school district to agree that one middle school have a support service program for all deaf mainstreamed 5th graders to go there instead of being solitaries, etc.)

As I have said several times... it is all perspectives and when one's perspective does not mesh other's perspective, disagreement would result.

I am just moving on with the topics for my future blogs :o)

Anonymous said...

I know, Jodi.

I'd envy your children who have spoken in four languages. Comprehending and acknowledging are the ones that the young kids to know about the culturally language itself. That is a huge accomplishment where you and the kids are in right now.

You should be grateful for putting your kids into the right place at the right time.

There are lots of disagreements I have with Aidan in her blog. I want to make a point is that the babies with the CIs are the posterity. As you can see that there are 90 percent of the hearing parents with the deaf babies who are now implanted are in the posterity.

White Ghost

It is the best for the babies to obtain the literacy.

Anonymous said...


Aidan's article is rife with contradictions.

The first, she wrote, "When they try to point the finger at Deaf people as being bad guys, what they are actually doing is projecting and revealing what they think of themselves."

Really? Someone please tell me the name of Aidan's article.

Then, she wrote, "The Deaf community is beautiful! Deaf people have a true heart for all kinds of other people, so long as they respect ASL and respect Deaf people's choice to embrace their own Deaf being. They have right to speak up as long as people are not personally targeted."

What was the name of the article, again?



Anonymous said...


It is getting too old now. It s time to come out of the closet. Intelligent deafies don't care what you are trying to do. This is getting too old. Try not to ruffle the deafies to feed on your energy.

You and Mike.. tsk tsk tsk

Anonymous said...

Hi Jodi,

Birthright means a right or privilege that you are entitled to at birth; "free public education is the birthright of every American child"

Deaf Americans and Candians uses American Sign Language.

Deaf Italians uses Italian Sign Language or LIS (Lingua Italiana dei Segni).

I love Aidan's post. She is the best.


Anonymous said...

There is nothing worse than a hearing person telling a deaf person what is and is not their birthright. Try walking in Aiden and million's of other Deaf people's shoes and maybe you will change your mind.
You have a lot to learn and I hope you do before your son grows up and wants to learn sign language to fit into his own community.
You spend all this time helping your son learn other languages but are missing the one that he really will benefit from. Why are you fighting it??

Loudest Mom said...

I read your blog this morning and came back because I needed a break from the sick other-half :) Nothing new to add and frankly I don't feel like I can intelligently comment on anything today, but I LOVE the song. You made me smile on a day that smiles are hard to come by.


Karen Mayes said...

Huh, I'd like to share something with you...part of my father's email about what he said about your blog ;o)

"I read the blog from the woman living in Italy with her CI son. I enjoyed it very much. Some what related, I have been listening to lectures on great novels and today the professor was talking about how useless words are. They are horrible representations of what we see, feel, think and indeed say. What exactly do the words honor, faith, melancholy, blue, beautiful, upset, lovingly etc. etc. mean? People, hearing and I assume deaf, will argue along the lines, "You said (fill in the blank) which tells me you mean (fill in the blank). Answer, "I said (fill in the blank) but not with that inflection you just used which changes what I meant." A recent book was written by a woman and the title was something along "Are You Wearing That Dress?" a question asked of a daughter by her mother. You can have a lot of fun with that question depending in what context the question was asked, the relationship between the mother and daughter and the different inflections used in the asking. Maybe it is a simple question or maybe it is a criticism. Words mean what ever we say they mean. They are always contextual and suffer from different interpretations. But words are wonderful and can paint beautiful pictures. The professor talks about a scene in a Faulkner novel where the character goes out at night to take a drink from the bucket of water with a dipper and says he scatters the stars with the dipper, bringing alive the image of the reflection of the stars in the bucket but also eluding to the idea of the Bid Dipper and Little Dipper scattering the night stars. Might be an area you might want to open to discussion with your group. I assume there are misinterpretation in ASL as well as the hearing world. It would be productive to see how people can learn not only how to hear each other but how to listen to what each is trying to say with the inadequate tools of words and signs.

One last thought. Scientist use the term "sensory probes" when discussing our senses. Touch, hearing, sight, smell are all sensory probes used to navigate our environment. What do you call deaf or sightless animals??? Lunch.. Many people do not like the idea but we too are animals and if we do not have the full use of all our senses we are at an disadvantage to compete. You will not wind up as someone else's lunch, but deafness is a disadvantage. Seems reasonable to me one would want to improve his or her completive position, by getting an education, staying healthy, using a wheel chair if crippled, Braille if blind and maybe a cochlea implant if deaf. I plan on getting a hearing aide when my hearing falters. I do not plan on joining my local ASL group to discover my deaf heritage. Do you think I would be a happier, more complete person if I had joined some German Society when I was young to get in touch with my German heritage? I think it is wonderful that there is a support group to turn to that gives the history of the deaf and sense of pride the ASL groups intend to offer. But limit their appeal by requiring conformity..."

Anonymous said...

Comments are a lot easier to read when they are broken up into shorter paragraphs.

Karen Mayes said...

Tom, Tom... read the comment carefully next time. I said I copied and pasted my dad's email... strictly unedited. I am sorry that you had an issue with it. :o)