It is just impossible to reflect on such depth in 40 minutes with my freaking messed-up head, you just can't even imagine what I'm going through in this period. I did just receive a miraculous letter from the Mayor of Grosseto who accepted my request for "Patrocinio" (not even sure what it means, but I think it's a good thing) for our book presentation sometime in April (no doubt it will be the 16th because all I see lately is 4-16 and 43)so now I have to mentally prepare to sound intelligent in front of a lot of people without breaking down. Should be interesting...but very exciting! And you can be sure that Jordan will be reading his letter to the reader!
Okay, of all of the comments I read and there were some major comments from the last post, what Jean Boutcher said, struck me the most:
Deafism evolved because of audism.
As a defense mechanism? As a demand for validation as deaf individuals? or as the assertion of a collective voice? Why was "Deafism" not present before Audism, because the idea of "Deafism" to me as a product of Audism gives me the impression that a Deaf person lives on the defensive as opposed to the offensive and needs validation of his/her existence.
If this is the case, I can understand why there is so much resentment, anger and closed-mindedness when a hearing person tries to convey a message with heart, not dictate. Living with the idea that my life is dictated to me, judged and found lacking is no way to live. So, yes, I can understand the resentment and anger, but living my life "expecting" that every hearing person or oral deaf individual I come into contact with is a potential audist creates a predisposition for mistrust...which I can understand, as well. I have great difficulty trusting people as I've already written. However, when you refuse to let yourself trust people, you miss out on a helluva lot of incredible people and the opportunity to enrich your life.
*Life ain't easy:)*
Reading your comments and various blogs has given me a deeper perspective on what exactly haunts the Deaf community and has led to such incredible sensitivity on one side yet anger, resentment and an unwillingness to trust on the other side.
KW left another one of her power comments:
Jodi, I haven't blogged about this in much detail because it hurts. I'm taking off to see my parents in a couple hours. My mother wouldn't even discuss my hearing loss for twenty-seven years. She still will not look at my audiograms. My parents still haven't grasped the extent of my deafness.
Mom did not want me to mention my hearing loss to other relatives for all that time. I had to pretend to hear around them. They all live out of state. I felt like she was ashamed of me, as if I made committed an embarrassing crime by becoming deaf.
A Deaf Pundit wrote:
For instance, I remember going into Best Buy with a deaf friend - (side note: he had a CI) but we could only lipread and speak minimally. So I gestured to the store clerk that he would have to write down stuff.
The clerk heaved a huge sigh, and it was very easy to lipread him saying, "I know..." and he was very rude with us. Looking back, I should've gotten the manager -that's how bad it was.
Gnarlydorkette shared an experience from her childhood and concluded with this...:
That last statement alone dashed my sense of being in an utopia. I thought I was normal until that wonderful yet nearsighted teacher snapped me into the reality that NOBODY sees me as a normal child. Really tragic.
Mishka, then shared an aspect of audism that I really hadn't understood even existed - I thought it completely had to do with hearing people's mistreatment of the Deaf. I read the definition but the oral deaf vs. signing deaf didn't really sink in (little thick of me) until this comment:
Superiority, based on my personal experiences as well as countless other oral deaf people. In the oral deaf settings, we were drilled endlessly how fortunate we were to be able to speak and hear (or lipread), unlike "those people" who use their hands. We were taught to look down on Deaf people as unfortunate and stupid people. Since I was indoctrinated in this audistic environment, I can spot it one mile away : /
*You guys deal with a lot of shit on a daily basis, I'm getting where the intensity level is coming from:)*
Amy Cohen Effron left this comment:
Jodi, you said: "Are you sure that those oral attitudes are fueled by superiority and not guilt?"
Can you divulge what do you mean by guilty? Whose guilt? Guilty for not able to communicate with Deaf people? Or do you think it has to do with...
Fear of unknown?
Guilty for not able to communicate?
I said "guilty" because I always have this experience in the back of my head...My first semester of college I worked at the Bagel Shop and oftentimes I had customers come up to the counter to order who were Deaf and signed. I COULD NOT COMMUNICATE WITH THEM! I felt guilty that I did not know ASL, so I smiled a lot, broke out the pen and paper and began writing. Then, my next semester and every semester thereafter I tried to fit in an ASL course with my other requirements. It never worked with my schedule. Guilt was MY reaction to not being able to communicate, which has to do with a feeling of incompetence at not being able to effectively communicate in ASL.
The idea of Disability Phobia (first time reading this term) is directly related to ignorance, the more we educate and spread awareness of Deaf Issues, approaches to deafness and of course *smile* the cochlear implant, the more people will realize that it's not necessary to scream in the ear of a person wearing a cochlear implant or hearing aids. If we give people the words they need to discuss issues in deafness, they will be more willing to discuss Deafness. Knowledge is power, we need to educate others with the assumption that they are willing to listen without being on the defensive. A comment left on Patti's blog really disturbed me. A very nice individual actually said something to the effect that she appreciated my apology because she liked my blog, but "wasn't sure she could trust me."
Am I really so threatening? If so, why?
(will add links later, gotta go to work, Wednesdays are killer)