Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh, Your Child is Deaf, I'm SO SORRY...

Fuck you? Here's my foot, wanna see it up your ass? Ignorant bitch? Nooooooooo, we must bite our tongues and educate. Do you know how many times I was given a look of Pity when I told a person my son was Deaf? Can you even imagine the Anger? Yes, I am quite sure You can. I was asked the question, Deaf or Not-Deaf: Who is the more qualified Parent?

Just like my comparison between "qualified" and "unqualified" ASL Teachers, my reply remains somewhere in the middle. A Deaf child born to Deaf parents or Hearing parents will be happy if that child is loved. Here, the communication methodology is Not an issue, the quality of parenting skills is the determining factor.
In Val's The Haircut post, she wrote:
Unfortunately a different stylist opened her mouth (she's done this before!) and apologized to me for my kid being deaf!!!! I played dumb and when she said "I'm sorry" and rolled her eyes toward Gage, I said "excuse me?" and sat there until she made herself clear she was referring to my kid! I wanted to give her a chance despite her previous record. I quickly stated she needn't apologize, it doesn't bother him...I can't wait to go back though, I have a whole list of other things I'd like to say! I mean strike three and you're out right? Even a seven year old has more respect!

Been there, experienced that... and God there is just such rage that builds up to the point of explosion. However, instead of exploding, I educate, share and inform. I wear Cochlear Implant Awareness Gear,
keep my kid's hair cut really short
and write about our experience (in two different languages).

*Then, I let Jordan speak for himself about his Deafness*

People fear what they do not know or understand. When issues regarding Deafness, cis, and ASL/Signing Time etc. go mainstream, the population at large has a greater opportunity to become educated and that fear of the unknown disappears. Rest assured that in this Italian town, we are killing ignorance one person at a time.

I believe in God. I have Faith. 96% of Deaf children are born to Hearing parents (not Deaf parents) and a great number of US Hearing parents are ready to raise our children's voices and use our own. We even learn ASL.

Regarding who is the more qualified parent of a Deaf child, I am obviously unable to Empathize with many of Jordan's experiences in the way that a Deaf parent could, but I am raising my voice together with his and that has to count for something.

PS. This is a MUST-READ POST BY PAOTIE...I WAS ON THE FLOOR. (Dad, click on it, it's the most creative, spectacular take on the game of Golf I've ever read! Even makes the sport seem interesting...*smile*)


Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Amen Sister!

Abbie said...

I was waiting and waiting and waiting for a post about Val's blog from you!

People are so ignorant but this is where you get to educate at the same time. There have been many, many, many times that I have wanted to scratch some bitches eyes out for making a comment like that to me but golly, it just crosses the line sometimes.

Anonymous said...


Hey! Cool article!

When people state, "Oh! I am so sorry!" after I inform them I am deaf, I say things like, "Oh! I also have an extra nipple, a 4th testicle, and some tequila."




Mom to Toes said...

I handle it like Abbie... I use the comment as an opportunity to educate (and brag about Toes in the process ;).

People don't know what to say - and most feel "I'm sorry" is pretty safe.

The comments are said with good intentions, generally. So I don't let them get to me.

K.L. said...

You are sorry for my child being deaf? I am sorry you are such an idiot. Can I say that? Yes. Is it a good idea? Probably not. But I think it. Then I let my jabberbox child run roughshod over the idiot's comments. And laugh.

Karen Putz said...

Aw, Val, here's your comeback line:

"I'm so sorry you're missing a few brain cells."

Unknown said...

I'm gonna cry. I just wrote a page-long response and freaking blogger wiped it out.
*Starting over*
Tina: You are the type of mother that has "mess-with-my-kid-and-I'll-kick-your-ass" written across your forehead, despite your petite stature.
Abbie: Wouldn't want to get on your NJ bad-ass side...(I've had Val's post in the back of my mind and have been a little slow in's a little crazy right now...)
Paotie: The idea of you with four balls is kind of hot...boxers or briefs for those bad boys? And pour me a couple of tequila shots-relax yourself- no body shots tonight.
Mom to Toes: Toes' experience is already educating a cyberworld...she is just beautiful.
K.L.- see now, you seem like a potentially violent mom to me, yet I can see you dropping a kleenex on the immobile body of the woman you cream as you gingerly walk away.
Karen...I think you can do Much better than that...*smile*

Anonymous said...

There have been occasions where I've been told I'm sorry and my response has been "are you sorry for the problem with your own ears?" And they'd say "what problem, I can hear" and I reply "that may be the case, but the problem is that there is nothing between them" ;)

Unknown said...

Anonymous...oooohhhh, very, very creative-lol, Jodi

PJP said...

okay, so you probably won't believe this but in 3 years, I haven't had this happen yet... No pitiful faces, no, condolences!Heck, even when I am trying to "excuse or explain away" my son's sometimes terribly embarrassing, typical 4 year old behavior by mentioning the ears, the CIS, the deafness... I get nothing.
Now I'm p.o.-ed that I'm not getting my proper disrespect!

---Kidding aside though, I'd be quick to "educate" any poor, unfortunate soul that tried to patronize us. So, God must be keeping an eye on things over here. ha!

Valerie said...

Last day of school, so I'm last to check in...."I'm sorry your child is deaf" is more common then we would like them to be. The best response is simply and short - I'm not sorry. My child is loved and wanted.

My mom's come back was always the same, trash is trash, it needs to go to the dump.

Like Abbie, I have been waiting and waiting for your post on this. You kick ass, Jodi...keep it coming.

Now I am off to 4 days of Jenna's dance recital. 6 dances, 3 costume changes, countless hours of yelling kids, priceless. I just thankful that she is mine and I get the joy of raising her.(I have been stopped so much to ask what country she was adopted from, uses to break my heart how bold others are, now I realize ignorances is a growing problem. I ignore it no sense in feeding it.)

break a leg,

VBnBama said...

Pamela, you are killin' me!Don't worry...disrespect will come your way one day! I will say that this stylist's first remark was an over-dramatic pout as she touched his head and said "oh, poor thing!". I thought the look I had given her was enough, apparently not. That was the visit before this one. I tried making her look stupid this time so if she does it's on!

Unknown said...

hahahahahahaha...Pamela, so funny...Valerie, there's something so wrong about a teacher like yourself using improper language and drinking Long Island iced teas, tell the Dancing Queen to kick some butt, Valllll- You know where you can put that pole the next time she opens her ignorant mouth, girl! - just kidding, be the good Momma you are, breathe in, spit out info. Hugs, Jodi

Anonymous said...

Oh man! Perfect timing! There's a debate going on under "Alex's Story" on my site. Some people are arguing that Alex and I succeeded in school only because teachers felt sorry for us! Give me a break!

I've actually never came across comments like, "Oh, You're deaf, I'm so sorry," or maybe I have, but I can't remember. I'll have to think about this one...

Divided said...

Many of us (deaf people) are used to these comments all our lives. People will stare, mock, or shoot over a smile, smirk or whatever. When someone comes up to me and say they're sorry that I cannot hear then I say back to them (using my voice) if they know sign language...their response is usually no then I say back to them, "oh, I'm sorry that you don't know." smirking....

Anonymous said...

i like beer. I like buying beer when someone's sorry; 99 sorries a day makes the doctor come right-away.

Valerie said...

Jenna had to weigh in with her comment. I asked her that question in the car - what would you say if someone said, I'm sorry your momy is deaf? I have to share her reply.

You should feel sorry since you didn't get her as a mom, she is the best!

It turns out Jenna has really had people say that to her. The only differences is she uses the mouth I gave her, and she does not accept pity from anyone. Looks like we are going to add a few more choice words to our vocabulary.

Abbie said...

I asked my mom the same thing and she doesn't recall anyone saying that to her. I followed up with asking her what if someone did and she said,

"I'm not sorry and she isn't sorry, she is what she is and she doesn't need pity from the likes of you."

leah said...

I am so seriously glad that Val posted her blog post and that Jodi decided to discuss it! We had the "I'm sorry" comment the other day at the audiologist's (an older woman there for her kid's speech therapy). Usually I just say, "No, he's fine- nothing to be sorry about. His hearing aids help him quite nicely" or something along those lines. But this woman wouldn't SHUT UP! She kept going on and on about the "poor little thing" and "isn't it a shame." I was about ready to knock her out.

You can't fix stupid, unfortunately.

Abbie said...

Unfrickingbelievable! Now that would piss me off. I can forgive sorry because people have a habit of inserting that word whenever they deem it appropriate but when they go a little too far, there is no telling what would be flying out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

How about phone calls?

I don't hear everything on the phone. Often I'd have to ask the caller to slow down and to speak clearly acknowledging that I'm deaf. I get this "I'm sorry" crap. I try so hard to have them repeat a few times but they would hang up. I don't like not knowing who called.

Funny there is a small pool of people still think deaf means or sounds like death. Once at a movie theatre, a manager thought one of us was dead! Oh puh-lease...


Anonymous said...

No matter how upset you get about this and we all have gone through it at one time or other, you need to watch your language on Deaf Read. There are children that see this. And some of us adults don't care too much for seeing this language in a main title on Deaf Read.
You are an adult and what example do you set for yourself with that kind of language? How do you educate people by calling them names or cussing at them. That only turns them even further away from knowing the truth.

Unknown said...

Dear Anonymous,
I agree with you about the language issue and I apologize if my word choice offended you or others. However, I NEVER use the "F" word and I Intentionally used it in this post to convey the Strong emotion associated with the issue discussed in this post. Language is a powerful tool and I selectively chose to use a powerful word (highly offensive to reflect the nature of the post).
I hope that you can understand and respect my decision to use such inappropriate language as it was not used casually.
Thank you for your comment, and thank you for taking the time to read.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous ..

This may surprise you - and I know you are a DeafRead reader - but you are absolutely correct!

Jodi should NOT have said, "FUCK YOU?"

She should have said, "FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!"

Oh! And before I forget - if you have a problem, then you need to tell DR editors.

Not Jodi.

Not to worry - I know you already knew that, too.



Dianrez said...

Completely understand that. I'd bristle too every time someone said "I'm so sorry" to me about me or my kid being deaf.

What helps is thinking it's the SHP(stupid hearing person) being sorry that they didn't know how to react or how to communicate with us. It's them they are apologizing for, not us.

Unknown said...

Paotie...ya just never know what's gonna come outta your mouth *hot*
Dianrez...totally agree with you, well-said.
hugs, Jodi

Anonymous said...

Christian is now a ROBOT!!!

Kimberly said...

Jodi, somehow I missed this but I gotta tell ya.....recently we went to a revival, yeah where Christians gather to worship and hear about the Lord and praise him, and after it was over a woman, huge with lots of make up came over to speak with my husband, something about her 40 years of praising the Lord....and while talking she looked at me and my children and I literally saw the "Look" of shock and her face change as she noticed my son's CI. She then proceeded to tell us that we should have the revival preacher "pray for my son". WHAT? I have to tell you I've had all the comments but that literally threw me for a loop. I feel that I already got my miracle. I got my son who is so fantastic; literally, he melts my heart. He has a terrific sense of humor (a prankster), he scares the beejesus out of me with his "No Fear" attitude but it's something I LOVE in him. He is the best cuddler on the face of the earth, he is joyful and LIVES his life...and is only 3!!!! (I can only imagine all the joy he will bring as he gets older) We got the most awesome surgeon, who is now part of our family, the best SLP, AND my son is making leaps and bounds with his CI. Every single day I witness the "Miracle" of my deaf son learning a new word, putting short sentences together, pointing to his ear because he HEARD something. EVERYDAY SINGLE DAY!!!!!! This would have been unheard of 20-25 years ago. I got my miracle and I got a lot more miracles that I didn't even ask for! This remark honestly was new one that left me speechless, and coming from a woman bragging to be a christian for 40 years!!! Does she not realize how lucky I am? I think for most of us with special kiddos, once we get over the initial shock of the diagnosis, we realize just how freakin LUCKY we are, everyday is a miracle, we've met fantastic people we wouldn't have met otherwise, we view life so differently than before; in a positive way, heck we might even write books!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, the older I get, the more I have learned that STUPID is the best way to appear in all situations. It puts others at ease and a great level of comfort thinking they are above me mentally in certain areas. I usually couple STUPID with sticky sweet kindness and graciousness. I find that these two tactics together usually leave the other person in such a fantastic comfort zone they do not even realize that I have gone for the jugular. (Think of the black widow spider but without the sex.) Sometimes, they are in such a state of euphoria, that they don't even know my true intent (again the jugular) and will sing praises about me. Or, in the alternative if they do figure out they've been had, they don't know if it just happened that way or if I truly masterminded the whole thing because dang, "she was just so sweet." Or lastly, they end up feeling so ashamed of themselves they couldn't even guess that it was my whole plan to begin with. So that's what works for me. My husband is amazed at how well I have perfected my art. He can now actually pick up on it, and I think he actually enjoys watching a whole episode play out as alternative entertainment. Anyway, I guess that I'm just a little tearey still from Val's blog about Maw Maw's Miracle, which was Tuesday also. (What was I doing Tuesday?)

Dianrez said...

Kimberly, what a've said it all!! Also what a character you are...gotta make notes for writing a novel!

Anonymous said...

re: those who go on and on saying they're sooooo sorry--I recently saw a t- shirt that said "I can tell you what it's like to have a deaf child; you'll have to ask your mama what it's like to have a dumb one..."

re: deaf/death...another t shirt said, "The word is deaf. Death is the guy with the hood and scythe..."