Archive for May, 2010

Deaf soup and Surdo salad, anyone?

May 28, 2010

Upon reading Mike McConnell’s recent blog, “Very Special People Hate Crime”, deafherbalist’s comment under the article caught my eye:

“Next week they will come with a new name for a salad. I would not be surprised if they come up with “Surdo Salad.” I am not sure about the week after but they will come up with something. :-)”

Interesting observation, one that many deaf people have noted time and again on DR or DVTV and elsewhere on the deaf v/blogosphere.

I’m tempted to call this tendency to put a multitude of labels on D/deaf oppression or opposing views as “surdo salad”.

We’ve seen concepts such as deficit thinking, audism, linguicism, deaf eugenics, and now special “deaf” hate crime all hatched to describe what is considered discrimination or oppression against the D/deaf.  There’s been so many labels, I’m sure I left out a few.

So much academic hairsplitting, it’s ridiculous. Notice how these labels imply victimization.   When the labeling gets repeated ad nauseum, it’s like a neon sign flashing “kid glove treatment”.

Some of this labeling has arisen out of deafhood, when you look back on the deaf v/blogosphere over the last  three years. There’s this pattern of someone acting as deafhood’s mouthpiece, and the whole v/blogosphere suddenly takes up the label without question.  It’s getting to seem like a cult of the faithful who ardently believe deafhood will save Deaf culture and ASL.

Speaking of ardent belief, when I viewed Bunjer’s vlog, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a joke or a serious earnestness about  Paddy Ladd.  Bunjer signs what was a nickname that children came up for Paddy Ladd as he told them stories about deaf culture, the sign-name of “Jesus”.  We all know that Jesus told parables, as the Christian bible relates.  Now, I dunno about you, but I‘m taking that vlog with a grain of salt.  After all, it was Jesus who warned about anti-Christs, the imposters who will come after him, lol.

This Deaf soup called American deafhood ain’t a religion.  It’s a philosophy that was written by an English deaf academician and I can respect it as such.  Many deaf people relate to the journey of understanding their deafness and are relieved to realize that there is nothing wrong with being D/deaf.

However, deafhood leaders here in this country have cherry-picked concepts out of Ladd’s book to suit their goals for Deaf culture and have politicized what was a philosophy for understanding one’s own deaf journey into a cult-like ideology.

It is mindful to remember that Hitler took advantage of the German people when he called on their patriotic feelings for the “Fatherland” by harking to a previous golden age and calling for a pure Aryan race, which was his plan to rid the Jews and anyone else whom he didn’t consider “Aryan enough”.

American deafhood is taking advantage of D/deaf people when it calls on their feelings for Deaf culture by harking to a previous golden age of Deaf culture and calling for a pure Deaf culture which “weeds” out anybody who isn’t “Deaf enough”.

We D/deaf are no more special than anyone else.  Herein lies the problem of American deafhood.

Specialness spells elitism.  Just look at that bland Deaf soup.

Kid glove treatment spells victimhood.  Just look at that Surdo salad of labels.

Strange dichotomy, that Deaf soup and Surdo salad.

Not a wonder I don’t have an appetite.

Please note:  Any comments containing personal attacks, smear campaigns, name-calling on anyone will be deleted.

AB 2072: Plant a Seed, Part Two

May 3, 2010

This is a continuation of  “AB 2072: Plant a Seed”.  Please read “AB 2072: Plant a Seed, Part One” before continuing here.

A parent of a deaf child who supports AB 2072 stated in a 4-30-2010 email that regarding ulterior motives behind the bill as to why DHH groups were not consulted:

3.    “Last minute voting?  Really?  We all knew that the bill was going to the floor on Thursday.  In fact, Mendoza was contacted several days before by many individuals to delay it.  During their Wednesday meeting with Mendoza their lobbyist also asked for a delay.”

“I was told that there was a strong presence from a variety of groups at the hearing.”

“The opposition has hired a lobbyist (Richard Polonko).  Assembly Member Tony Mendoza (author of the bill) has been having meetings with the opposition and their representatives.  He met with NORCAL, IMPACT, GLAD, and a few other groups this week.  He will be meeting again next week with them.”

“The best part of this bill not dying is that it is forcing them to come to the table and work with us.  We’ve wanted collaboration for sooo long.”

“Based on last Wednesday meeting, I’m not sure they’re willing to partner.  At this time, they want only I communication option.  While I don’t believe in 1 communication option, the bill is fundamentally about giving the parents information and ultimately parent choice.”

“I’m hoping and desiring a working relationship can be formed but they do not want that yet.  Here’s hoping to the future.”

The opposition comprised of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition (DHH) claims that options do not work. They claim that language acquisition (ASL/Bilingual) works and should be the focus before any other tools are added on. They want information to show pros and cons and what works and how to use it.

The supporters of AB2072 indicated that they only want every parent to be well informed of all options available. They’re not out to push any one ideology on parents, rather they want parents to be aware of all language/communication/tools that are available for all deaf/hoh children.

It is apparent that one option only is not a realistic approach towards parents.  It is also unrealistic to expect that a deaf child will respond to one and same communication mode/  language the same as another deaf child may.  To say all communication options means only one option, the oral route, is simply NOT true.  NCHAM  and supporters of AB 2072 have never said that.  ASL is one of the options included in this bill.  That means any audiologist or related professional cannot leave out any option and that includes ASL when presenting written material to the parents.

On the other hand, the brochure itself does need to reflect more equal representation of all options, not just a mere blurb of a few sentences to describe an option.  Cochlear implants and hearings aids option should explain that a deaf toddler isn’t going to magically start talking like his hearing peers, that the “how” part, the parent-child commitment to AVT or speech therapy is a must for a child to successfully listen and communicate, that frequent mappings are necessary with CI’s, etc.  The ASL option should explain that it is a recognized, legitimate visual language with its own syntax, grammar and qualifiers and that it is a part of a rich Deaf culture.  That ASL’s “how” part involves a family commitment to learn baby signs together and acquire ASL through ASL classes, deaf mentors and community as the child grows up, along with an emphasis in reading and writing English. The other options of Cued Speech and Total Communication also need separate explanations with the “how” parts.  Karl White of NCHAM has indicated that he is willing to listen to new ideas and input from the deaf community, that maybe he can implement such suggestions for the NHSP program literature.

How can the opponents and supporters of AB 2072 come to the table?

Not with inflexible demands, not with one brochure that reflects an obvious oralist bias, and certainly not with the smear campaigns we’ve been witnessing online on both sides recently.

There’s a weed-choked garden for you, folks. Where‘d those weeds come from, dam**t?!

Umeusnthem.  That’s right, read it slowly, U…me…us…n’… them.  Yup.

Since the written materials will not be funded by the state as indicated in the bill (state of California is already bankrupt), perhaps DHH can raise funds through the deaf community and print their own brochure about the ASL option to be distributed along with the national brochure?  Would AB 2072 supporters be amenable to allowing more than one brochure to be included in a distribution packet for parents?

A double-delight  rosebush there… a purple hydrangea here.

In this issue the parents are being viewed as the adversaries, how about regarding them as allies and treating them with respect? They are the ones who carry the tremendous responsibilities of raising their children, not the deaf community.  In return, how about AB 2072 supporters listening to ASL advocates’ concerns?

Yellow bearded iris there…orange California poppies here.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)

A garden grows with flowers of every variety and color.  A sight  for sore eyes.

You get the idea.

For the reader, tend your garden. Weed out the assumptions and the dogmas so that the truth will stand out.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

This article is co-authored by Candy of candysweetblog.wordpress.com and by Ann_C of Ann_C’s ireflections09.wordpress.com.

Please note: You can post a comment under Ann_C’s blog.  Note that the authors have been respectful to both sides of this issue, so any name-calling, personal attacks, or smear campaigns towards anyone will be deleted.  Please stick to the subject of the blog, thanks.