Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Re: Ci Controversial, Why?

Delicately dipping my big toe in the freezing water...

60 posts later, I have finally taken the time to research the word "Audism."
To do so, I went straight to the About.com queen, Jamie Berke

I'm Better Than You
In the deaf culture, calling someone an audist is akin to calling someone a racist.
What is audism? A simple definition would be that it is a negative or oppressive attitude towards deaf people by either deaf or hearing people and organizations, and a failure to accomodate them. People who have audist attitudes are considered to be audists. For example, the refusal or failure to use sign language in the presence of a sign language-dependent person is considered audism.

According to an article in Capital D Magazine (vol. 1, issue 1) (now apparently defunct), Tom Humphries invented the word "audism" in 1975 to mean an attitude that people who hear and speak, or have good English are superior. This applies whether the person who hears and speaks is deaf or hearing.


The writer of this post says,
Think about it. What are advocating of CIs blogs about? Success stories. Oh, I can hear the lake! Oh, I can hear the crickets! Oh, I can hear music! Oh, I can hear the sounds of human voice! And the list goes on. Doesn’t it seem audistic to boast of hearing success as if being deaf is not so cool?

What if deaf individuals who have worked so hard in avt and in life in general are just proud to live their deaf experience with a ci and the "superiority aspect" of being fluent in the English Language has nothing to do with it? What if they are advocating "Choice" in the deaf experience by discussing the benefits of ci? If Rachel is here on deafread.com to interact in productive dialogue with individuals interested in her experience, is she an audist because she is willing to openly answer questions about her journey? Or is she an "audist" because her views conflict with those of readers?

She responds to criticism, reads it, listens and reflects...she is not an audist.

*Audism is in the eye of the beholder*

Jamie Berke has been so generously relating her Cochlear Implant Experience, this is what she shared earlier today:
On the way home, I found I could hear Bob's voice. At home, I even heard him laugh. At the grocery store, we were asking the pharmacist questions, and suddenly I realized I could hear the pharmacist's voice. On the way out of the store, talking to Bob, I heard something else that it took me a moment to realize what it was...my own voice.

I now suppose that Jamie Berke will be considered an "audist" for wanting a cochlear implant and being amazed that it actually works.

But, no...because your post interestingly incorporates two aspects in the equation, "...the linguistic perspective. Why? Because the AVT therapy’s sole purpose is to train CI implantees to speak what? English!" You continue by saying, "But when we Deaf are faced with this attitude that ASL is ok for somewhat successful deaf children but spoken English is a must for a successful deaf child to grow into the world, it rubs the Deaf people WRONG way!"

suc·cess (sk-ss)
1. The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work.
a. The gaining of fame or prosperity: an artist spoiled by success.
b. The extent of such gain.
3. One that is successful: The plan was a success.
4. Obsolete A result or an outcome.
*Success is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the eye of the person who has desired, planned or attempted*

Do you measure your level of success based on how others see you or as how you see yourself? Really consider the answer to that question and you will begin to see Rachel as a twenty year old woman who sees herself as successful. This is why she is not an audist, just a person who has achieved something desired after working so hard for so many years, and that she wants to share this experience with others. Audism carries a component of hatred, just like racism...do you really feel that Rachel hates you?

Or do you feel judged?

You wrote:
"Now, if ASL was not dismissed by CI advocates as unnecessary, the story COULD be different."

Rachel does not dismiss ASL in general, it just does not have a part in what has been her experience until now.

You conclude with this:
It is up to you, CI advocates, to drop the dismissal attitude of ASL as an important part of d/Deaf people, not just because it is a culture thing but also because it facilitates their connection to the language expression!

No one has dismissed ASL as an important part of Deaf people and Rachel is a success story for me as the hearing mom of a deaf child with a cochlear implant...I will NOT allow her to be dismissed.

As seen on the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle, Learn2Hear and Listen-Up yahoo support groups, many parents of children who wear cochlear implants are incorporating the use of sign language with their AVTherapy. There is no written law regarding communication methods and the cochlear implant. Actually, ALL communication methods are accepted and welcomed on these groups.

Why are so many people having so much trouble accepting the Cochlear Implant as a tool in approaches to Deafness?

(Paotie...I know, this was not one of my sexy, fun-loving posts just not feelin' it today...*wink*)
PS. Mike McConnel's hitting the road and I for one am really sad about it...check out his farewell blog here.


mishkazena said...

Neither her cochlear implant, her excellent command English, her ability to speak and listen well, nor her lack of interest in ASL and Deaf Culture had propelled some people to accuse Rachel of audism. It was her overall attitude of superiority toward Deaf people, a trait many hearing and hard of hearing people appear not to be aware of. However, Rachel has been receptive to the feedback and had toned down her attitude. As a strong and sensitive person, she will go a long way, based on her ambitious personality.

Karen Mayes said...

Ahhhh... audism. There is another word, opposite of audism... it is deafism ;o)(I say it jokingly.)

Everyone has his/her own definition of audism, depending on his/her own experience. Sadly, it is also one of the miused, overused, underused, you name it... word. So people who feel insecure are quick to criticize, put down other people, etc. That is OK... it is in human nature to feel one is OK and "right". Often the words are taken out of context...


Mike... I really enjoyed his blog... he is not afraid to speak up and to show us the bigger picture. He will be missed.

Unknown said...

Hi Elizabeth,
*smile* Thanks for your comment as always. I think it is also important to note that sometimes it takes some time to find your voice in writing...not just when speaking. Rachel began blogging without really knowing her audience, the more you connect with your readers and commenters, the more aware you are of how powerful your words can be - positively and powerfully speaking. She is an old soul and as you say...strong and sensitive. hugs, Jodi

A Deaf Pundit said...

Audism for me is a variety of behavior that no human being would tolerate but happens based on your deafness.

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.

That to me, was audistic. He didn't want to deal with us because it required him to go slightly out of his way to provide us customer service.

That's just a mild example. It's not about someone having a good grasp of English or speaking it, or whatever. It's about attitudes. Paternalism. Condescension. Superiority.

Another instance is where many oral deaf have this kind of attitude, "I can speak and hear better than you. Thank God. I can get further in life than you and poor you... you want to stay with ASL?! It's going to get you nowhere in life!"

The sense of their lifestyle is better than yours, and you should be pitied because you don't follow that.

I hope I made some sense here.

Anonymous said...

Change the letter d to a t and what do you get...?



Mike said...

Jodi - "For example, the refusal or failure to use sign language in the presence of a sign language-dependent person is considered audism."

That depends and in a way I would disagree with that in one circumstance.

My showing up at the vlog/blog conference at Gallaudet University last year in February in front of a mostly Deaf audience and live internet audience I choose to speak instead at the podium even though I know sign language. Was that "audist" of me to speak and not sign? No, since I knew there were ASL interpreters available that did the interpreting for me and a real time captioner transcribing what I said into real time text for the live internet audience. Still, people have continued to accuse me of being an "audist" just because I prefer to speak even though, as in my videos, I made sure it was subtitled.

Unknown said...

Not following you...at all. Jodi

Unknown said...

A Deaf Pundit,
I am following you and I get that. Unfortunately, assholes exist in abundance in the customer service business. Are you sure that those oral attitudes are fueled by superiority and not guilt? Jodi

Unknown said...

*wringing out kleenex*
I'm a big believer in the right to choose and your example was an interesting one...surprise, surprise!
*smile* and a big old hug, Jodi

Amy said...

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?
Disability phobia?
Guilty for not able to communicate?

Would this customer service representative act like this to a Spanish speaking person requesting assistance? Maybe, this person may say, "No habla espanol, un momento por favor." Then this person can locate someone who speak Spanish fluently to make sure this customer gets assistance?

For us, it is like:
"Oh! I am so sorry. Umm, ahem, *cough*, say, can you read lips? Oh? not really? Well, yikes, do I have to write that down? Hey, buddy, can you come here to help me with that deaf-mute here?"

What does that mean for you?

Plain ignorance or just being stupid?

Think about it.

Amy Cohen Efron

Dy said...

Thank you for addressing this issue, as it is one that ultimately effects everyone within the deaf community, be they Deaf, Deaf, HoH, CI-implanted, etc.

I've been accused of audism on several occasions myself, for simply talking about my positive CI experiences. Its pointed out that "not everybody has that experience!" Of course they don't - but are we, the CI-implanted, supposed to sit quietly (or on our hands, as the case may be,) and act as if nothing happens in our lives?

I can see occasions where "audism" rears its ugly head (as some examples in the comments here,) but I think that its being thrown around far too easily, as an excuse for anything the deaf community doesn't approve of.

Off-topic - I'll miss Mike's blog too - he was a breath of fresh air among the deaf bloggers, and the hole he'll leave in the blogsphere will not easily nor quickly be filled.

mishkazena said...

"Are you sure that those oral attitudes are fueled by superiority and not guilt? Jodi"

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 : /

Even though I disagree on the guilt part, I would like to hear why you think it may be rooted to guilt

Kim said...

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.

Later when I connected with other late-deafened people, one of them was a psychologist-- she suggested my mother's problem was her own guilt, because it has been suggested that my early progressive deafness was caused by the measles. I was never neglected as a child. My parents always took me to the doctor at the first sneeze.

So I had a long talk with my mom and told her she couldn't have prevented my hearing loss. She is able to tell people now that I am hard-of-hearing, but my parents still can't grasp that severity of it. They're still in denial of how deaf I am. They still try to shove a phone in my face and want me to watch non-captioned movies somtimes. Last time we visited there was a scene because they wanted me to socialize with relatives in a dark sunroom where I couldn't read lips. They're very old now.

I know you accept Jordan just exactly as he is. Many, many of us have lived in families who were in denial of our hearing issues, who forced us to pretend to be hearing, or who ignore the communication difficulties we're having. It's much easier for them to pretend everything is just fine when it's not.

Believe me, it's common and so very hurtful. It is a form of audism.

I'm sure you can understand now why some people tend to over-react to certain trigger statements made in here.

I envy those like Karen and Mike whose parents have been so supportive.

Mike said...

Awww...poor sod.

But I'll be watching and reading certain blogs. Hate to see people run around and think things in linearly terms with nothing but with a blinder on. Sometimes people just need a rude awakening to get them to think for a change.

Anonymous said...

"CI Controversial...why?"


What we don't understand, we fear.

What we fear, we reject (easiest way to go about it)

What we learn later, we wonder why it took us so long!


A Deaf Pundit said...

Yeah. There are assholes everywhere, not just in customer service. But people can be an audistic asshole :)

And guilt? I find that hard to believe. I've ran into too many oral deaf who sneer at me and cop an attitude because I don't speak very well. Hard to see guilt in that kind of behavior.

Valerie said...

I never saw this word written until August of last year. And I been deaf the majority of my life.

It is just a shame that a word is used that causes shame, or the need to defend themselves against a "word." I choose not to use any words that attacks others or labels them. There is nothing positive from it, so maybe it is that word is retired.

gnarlydorkette said...

A prime example of audism:
I was in eighth grade (aged 12) and I was fully-mainstreamed at a school that have serviced both hearing and deaf pupils (however deaf pupils often end up in self-contained classrooms rather than mainstreamed). The alleged audist was my humanities teacher Ms Neal whom also happened to be my favorite teacher.
We wrote a book report which was our assignment-- I did mine on "the Wringer" by Jerry Spinelli which I had read through quickly just in time to finish the night before the due date.
When my paper was handed back, it got that bold "A" letter on it-- although the proud moment was short-lived; there was a yellow post-it written by the teacher:
"Did you write this paper all by yourself?"
Bewildered, so I raised my hand to ask Ms Neal for clarification of this note-- I thought she was accusing me of plagiarism. She proceed to inquire if I had an English tutor... "No... do I need one?" did my mom help? "No." Nobody? "No, I did all typing and reading by myself." She raised her eyebrows and replied: "Your English skills are excellent."
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.

Beaux Arts de Boutjean said...

Rachel is not an audist. She is an audist's protégé. (I coined a term, "audist's protégé, in 2005 and asked for Northwestern University's psycholinguist Dr.Harlan Lane's approval. He approved.)

Deafism evolved because of audism.

Anonymous said...

As for MishkaZena, Amy Cohen Efron and Deaf Pundit's views on the guilt issue, all I have thought about the late deafened and hearing loss people's attitude problems along with the "thoughts" about "being a hearing person". They still are.

They won't approach to discuss the guilt unless they obtain the education about the life after the hearing loss.

That's the *MAIN* problem.

For instance, my Grandma won't even discuss with me about her hearing loss due to the age. All she thought about herself for being a hearing person.

What can I do? Nothing but respect her way. That is all I have.

Kim (kw) has a point about her parents that never discussed with her and the hearing problems for 27 years. Why? Her parents won't approach her about the guilt issue.

See? That's the identity issue where they have raised for who they are.

It's the identity that arise the political issue in the nation. It's the politically correct.

*Rolls my eyes*

White Ghost

Divided said...

I hate having labels attached to define one's sickness but I am beginning to see the light here. Deaf people have been exposed to audists in many ways. I can't tell you how many times I've looked back and said yeah, that person or this person's behavior towards my deafness is/was an audists. It happens everyday.
It used to peeve me whenever a deaf person would comment that I was being insensitive to them when I "talked" and didn't sign in their presence with another hearing person. What...me...insensitive, never but now I can understand why they felt that way and they're right. I'm always conscious and made sure that I wouldn't do this again. People need to be sensitive to others...deaf, hearing, culture differences, whatever.
Hearing people should know and be sensitive towards a deaf person...not lower their expectations of a person, deaf or not. We're tired of being treated like 2nd class citizens. Many of us are tired of taking the back seat and not saying anything...and when that happens, we're accused of being bold, demanding and bigoted. Damn if you do and damn if you don't! We are tired of pleasing everyone...we need to stand up for ourselves.

I like to tell this situation that happened to us few years ago, we were out on our sailboat with a group of other hearing friends on their boat. We all gathered on a friend's boat to have some sundowners (drinking cocktails watching the sun go down). We chatted (lipread) and had fun until darkness fell...then we excused ourselves because we couldn't continue in conversing in darkness. Our friends said wait...and broke out the flashlights so we could continue talking and seeing their faces. These people are truly our friends!! We don't findtoo many hearing people like them.
I feel for KW...having to deal with her parents' refusal to acknowledge her deafness...but could she have dealt with them by being bold and refusing to come to family functions until they caved in? We're always put in a difficult situation, but why should that be OUR problem??

Sorry this is so long...but I feel this need to be mentioned. There are insensitive deaf people as well. Some deaf people see me go running with my I-Pod or listening to music and pass a negative comment. I usually stop them in their track and let them know they're being insensitive...like hearing folks towards deaf. It works both ways and we need to speak up.

Beaux Arts de Boutjean said...

Deaf Pundit writes: "I've ran into too many oral deaf who sneer at me"

This is a good example. The UNthinkable or "not smart" oralists learn to sneer from their audistic masters. The thinkable (intelligent) oralists do not sneer.

Unknown said...

"Audistic Masters" is a highly inflammatory term with grave implications that quite frankly scare me...Jodi

Unknown said...

"Audistic Masters" is a highly inflammatory term with grave implications that quite frankly scare me...Jodi

Mike said...

It is inflamatory, not to mention making a gross generalization about deaf/hh people who speak well thinking they all learn ill manners from hearing people. It'd be no different from people who may say things in the same light about Deaf people who sneer upon CI users or oral/aural speakers learning from their "Deaf Masters."

Beaux Arts de Boutjean said...

Inflammatory? They made themselves Draconian. Maybe you overlooked the two cores of the messages in Mishkazena's and Deaf Pundit's comments as follows:

Mishkazena says:
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".

A Deaf Pundit says:

"Audism for me is a variety of behavior that no human being would tolerate but happens based on your deafness."

I find Mishkazena's former teachers very Draconian. I have met many oralists deny, but they admit it down the road. Three of them are working on an autobiography. And so am I.

See how some oralists despise their former oral teachers and pour down their feelings at http://www.rit.edu/-~420www/dada.htm.

You click "Artists" before clicking artists' names. I show
my art work there, too. I hope you will understand how how bitter oralists have been.

Abbie said...

I have never heard of the word "audist" until last year when I was accused of being one and I took with a grain of salt.


But then again, I have been a victim of it. I can't enumerate how many times I have carried a conversation with someone, a Bank Teller for example, to have my friend tell them that I am deaf. My conversation ends with the teller and it is picked up with my hearing friend.

*blood boiling*

Instead of getting angry, I redirect the conversation back to myself, politely for the most part. Those of us that are deaf, have to take the initiative to be treated how they want to be treated. No one else is going to do that for us so we have to be extra vigilant in getting our point across.

I have been guilty of eliciting a preferential treatment to hearing someone speak English, especially when making a phone call and a person with a strong foreign accent answers. If I call for Chinese food, I can't understand Jack, if I call for Pizza, I get a strong Italian-Brooklyn accent and if I go to the German Butcher shop, well god help me there. I find myself frustrated because I know this isn't going to be a smooth sailing conversation.

I don't get frustrated because in my head if the person speaks English, the conversation would be less stressful. I have a hard enough time understanding English and it blows my mind when I have to understand accents. I don't look at them as second rate citizens, it is just a huge communication barrier and one that I hate to deal with. If that makes me an audist, I'm still going to take it with a grain of salt.