Monday, March 3, 2008

Response to the YOUNG DUDES -Oralist's Melodrama

Norah Jones can bite me, today it's Rhianna and Fergie-Ferg, lol. I am NOT a good influence on the little teenagers that I teach, I am MUCH more IMMATURE! Sitting here chewing on a piece of a Mega-chocolate Easter egg...Easter sucks here and will kill me because they don't give you little Mary Sues, they give you HUGE WONKER eggs with little insignificant, but VERY built up prizes inside. The kid channel commercials all hype the eggs by exaggerating the "hot toy of the moment." Of course Sofia goes wild, and of course my husband in love with his princess succombs. Don't all dads? So, I have about a ton of chocolate spread throughout my toiletbowl of a house...and I, being the chocoholic I am, indulge.

Back to my extremely high level of immaturity. Friday, I had two more middle school lessons with really cute kids. Yeah, we talked Tokyo Hotel and High School Musical. Saturday, I was told to F-off twice by one of my students. She was right, I was making fun of her because she was meeting a guy in the Corso - the main street of Grosseto's center, where all the little teeny-boppers congregate on Saturday afternoon. Note: the adolescents in this BORING town are condemned to a life sentence of walking up and down, up and down, up and down the main street, scoping until their parents send them to the University the hell out of this place. She was one of the girls I took to London in July (note, there are pix and a video circulating on this blog, youtube and internet from that little trip - it was a "JOY" *wink* (Okay, here's one photo-of course, I'm first in line-That pale guy's hot, isn't he? It's amazing what a girl will do for some free clothes))
and she needed a little assistance in the "guy" department. I gave her an education, as much of an education as you can give to a 15 year old and not be arrested. And now, she's telling me to f-off!!?? She's growing up...and she's going to Dublin with me this summer again...I will make her life hell - paybacks are all about that, aren't they?? I'm generally not the vindictive type, but if I can make someone sweat...

Yesterday, Luca was playing football (yes, he is forty and still playing/coaching American football - looks damn good in the uniform. My husband has the BEST ass I have ever seen in my life, which is saying a lot. I am married, but I am not DEAD!)and I was with the kidlings all day. Jordan had a birthday party at the beach. EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT! That spring smell is circulating and it was sunny and beautiful yesterday, what better place to be than the beach? I live for the beach and having lived in Baltimore most of my life - three hours from the closest ocean- which is slowly becoming NOT most of my life, living twelve minutes from the beach is just mind-blowing. Allow me to provide you with a photo of my "BEACH EXPERIENCE"...don't cry, it ain't all roses and glory - Winter sucks bigtime, here, but I managed to make it through another one...
Enough talking out of my least about that:)

In the Oralist's Melodrama Part II - I'll go back to part one in a minute...One of "All the Young Dudes" writes:
OK people, trick question time, if every “deaf” person chose their own preferred method of communication and were put in a room, how would they reach out to each other? Some refuse to sign. Some just can’t pick up speech. Some cue [as in join lines]. Some are illiterate.
My answer is that they would respond just as the bloggers have responded, by writing...and as I responded my first two years in this country, by smiling a helluva lot. Days and days of smiling, tuning into the language, tuning back out, smiling, laughing, bluffing just like deaf people do. How much SOCIAL BLUFFING have I done in my lifetime here? I have a good smile, will make eye contact, so I am as good a bluffer as my child - And because of my experience, I know when Jordan bluffs...and believe me or not, I "get" some of the deaf experience. My missing pieces are slowly being filled in by commenters and people sending emails off-blog, which I appreciate. As you can see, I am not a very private person.

Throwing out another question for you "Young Dudes..." your Episode 1 post had me going until your last sentence, which maybe was trying to be the kicker, but that totally contradicted your line of thinking. You wrote:
Now, to clear up one common misconception, the Deaf world is no more limiting than the hearing world is. Anybody who says otherwise, is a frigging liar. The limits of the Deaf world are those that have been imposed by the hearing world. For all the choices the hearing world has at its disposal, it still values hearing above all else!
People are people and are limited by ignorance, insensitivity, immaturity, envy and indignation. Sometimes ignorance can be a blessing, because only those who are able to evolve, suffer, can understand why they're suffering, but can't do anything about that, although there is always the power to choose. Insensitivity is a form of self-protection and an unwillingness to "go there." Immaturity, I am sure has to do with age and past lives and a need to learn and grow combined with a willingness to do so in this life. Envy, envy is one of those emotions that I do not and will never accept. Envy arises from a lack of self-acceptance and pride, fear and resentment that someone has something you do not.

Indignation, anger at something unfair is a hard one to overcome if you genuinely feel that you have been done wrong by life and are helpless to overcome that situation. Anger stems from a lack of control over circumstances.

When do I lose it? When Jordan was younger he used to push all the right buttons to piss me off and I would get that helpless feeling that only anger could drive away...until I realized that if I took control of situations before they got out of control, I could avoid the anger and manage my child.

This sentence:

"The limits of the Deaf world are those that have been imposed by the hearing world. For all the choices the hearing world has at its disposal, it still values hearing above all else!" a product of indignance and anger. The Deaf world's limits are only those which they impose upon themselves, and the hearing world could give a shit about "hearing," you don't value something that is an inherent part of yourself. You generally only place value on something you don't or can't have...superficial or otherwise.

The strength of the Deaf community lies in the fact that they can't hear, so the use of other senses assumes a totally new meaning. Dancing, enjoying music, smelling Spring is done on a deeper level, without the sense of hearing for some. KW wrote an amazing post "Yes Mike, I Get It" about this different perspective as a Deaf woman viewing the hearing world...
She wrote, insightfully as always:
"I guess the waitress decided Kate was capable of dishing up her own food. After all, Kate could speak. You have to wonder what they think sometimes-- Hearing people. That you need a voice in order to dish up food? I don't get it. But that's when it hit home how different the world is for culturally Deaf people."

Deafhood, Deaf Identity, Deaf Culture, whatever label you want to use, it's all about the collective experience, the interaction with a world full of sounds...and cochlear implants (which are sexy contrary to what another blogger wrote), hearing aids, ASL, progressive, moderate, profound hearing loss, all of you have those experiences -the journey- and are effectively Deaf. The only thing that can limit the Deaf community are ignorance, insensitivity, immaturity, envy and indignation.

BTW- I am a big Rachel fan *smile*


Anonymous said...

You say that the hearing world doesn't value hearing. I beg to differ. I've lived as someone who does not have the amount of hearing people expect me to have. I've had to deal with negative reactions from people. Technology usually progresses in a sound-based direction before they move in a visually-based direction. Why is that, hmm? Take your recent lengthy post about music... sound IS important to you, Jodi. What I'm trying to say is this: the idea that hearing/sound is not valued is patently untrue.
And, BTW, about being a Rachel fan... I do think she is her own person, independent of her mother. She's more willing to listen than her mother is. I left this on another blog just now: There is a huge difference between a hearing mom like Jodi Del Dottore and a hearing mom like Melissa. While I wish Jodi were making sure Jordan learns LIS ASAP, she is open to everyone. She is not indoctrinating Jordan with the idea that Deaf culture is bad and scary, unlike Melissa. I believe Melissa made it so that Rachel thought Deaf people were bad. So when Rachel sees a tiny bit of anti-CI from a few of us (and it's just a few of us!), she immediately thinks "Mom was right," and reinforces what she learned from her mom - Deaf people are to be avoided.
So I appreciate that you're in here, actively trying to engage us in dialogue rather than huffily dictating to us from a holier-than-thou perch. Thank you, Jodi.

Karen Mayes said...

Beautifully written!

I have commented on that often, about ignorance, fear, etc... and how when one's perspective does not mesh with another person's perspective, the disagreements would result.

Anonymous said...

Nice one, all the young dudes needs his ass kicked for playing to the gallery too... he does the very thing he attacks in others, BLAMES everyone else !


Anonymous said...

Comment from ASL98


I have to disagree about who puts the limitations on Deaf people. If some Deaf people play a role in limiting themselves, it is often because they are a part of institutionalized oppression by the majority (Hearing people) who perpetuate certain beliefs and values which are in turn unconsciously internalized by the minority (deaf people). Deaf people coming into their own has been an evolution of sorts...just as women used to be collectively submissive, but then raised their voices for equality...just as Blacks used to be submissive, but then raised their collective voice for their civil rights.

I have lived and worked alongside Deaf people for 28 years. I would have to say that the ignorance and flawed beliefs of hearing people about the value of hearing in determining the value of human existence has been pervasive over centuries and has put real limits on deaf people.

It begins in America with education. For centuries now, Hearing people have placed the highest value on speech over sign language for deaf people. You are in the country where the conference which determined that was held in 1880 (Milan). In fact, firing deaf teachers, banning sign language...condemning generations of deaf people to miss the mark of their human potential because language was kept from them. It was thought that deaf people would not go to Heaven if they could not speak to God and would be condemned to Hell so it was of the utmost importance to impose speech upon them to save their immortal lives.

You need to do a little more research on the history of deaf education and language policy and planning in deaf education and how it has limited the deaf community and kept them out of positions of power so they can effect change in their own community for their own people. I guess it is easer to point the finger back at deaf people. I know you said you are not an audist, but you need to examine your theory. It sounds somewhat audist to me. I am saying that in an objective way, not an accusing way. All of our thinking has biases and we need to stop sometimes, nay, often, and question our thoughts and this really true? Can I know absolutely that this is true? That this is without a doubt the cause?

I have seen firsthand oppression of deaf people. I am not against speech. I am not against technology, neither are most deaf people...but I am against keeping accessible language from any child, including deaf children.I am against gambling that an oral method or cochlear implant alone will be enough to give a child fully accessible language. I am against not using a deaf child's strengths, which often lie in vision.

Without full access to language, language and cognitive development are delayed. When these things are delayed, it affects social relationships, theory of mind, literacy, eduction, etc. Without a language, one cannot become literate, without literacy, one cannot succeed in school. If one cannot succeed in school, one cannot choose to go to college. One is kept out of higher education. One is kept out of professional positions and positions of power. And who controls deaf education?????? HEARING PEOPLE! Make no mistake. The flawed thinking of hearing people about the deaf and the rejection of the instrinsic value of a natural sign language for the majority of deaf people in allowing them to reach their full human potential is what oppresses and keeps deaf people down on the whole. They are trying to come out of it and what you are witnessing is an evolution of deaf people trying to find and express their "voice." They may not say things the way you want to hear them and some things may swing to the far side of the continuum in a backlash, but they are trying to empower themselves and evolving in learning how to do that...just like women, just like Blacks...and whatever other analogy of oppression you want to apply.

There are many well-researched books which document this history and the dynamics involved. Please think about what you said here and where you pointed your finger and why...just as an enlightening excercise of pushing your ego aside and getting at the truth. You strike me as a potentially spiritual and open person, so I hope you will see my words as one person to another giving you a different perspective perhaps to help you learn and see things in a different light with greater understanding :)

If you have not read it, I recommend a book called The Mask of Benevolence by Harlan Lane. He is an extremely thorough researcher and an eloquent writer.

I would also recommend checking out the website on the National Deaf Education Project and take a look at Lawrence Seigel's work. He is a lawyer and was the president of the National Deaf Education Project here in America. He has also written several books on parental rights and IEP's. America is not the only country struggling with these is Britain, Canada, Australia, etc. There are more progressive countries such as Sweden and Norway which we could learn some real lessons from regarding their Bilingual-Bicultural deaf education programs which progress has now been documented for going on ten years.

Happy reading/researching :)

Comment from ASL98

Kim said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog Jodi. :-). I think most of us take everything we have for granted--hearing, sight, the ability to walk, . . . Of course we value hearing, but we don't realize how much until its gone.

I'm a Rachel fan too.

Unknown said...

ASL 98,
Thank you for your comment, I will try to comment tomorrow, feeling really sick, right now...Jodi