Friday, February 11, 2011

Understanding Disability - Part 1

This whole thought process started with a homework assignment from my professor in my Disability Theory class. The questions, on the outside, seemed like they would be simple enough to answer. I was grossly mistaken. I thought, thought and thought. I researched, read, and studied. I even resorted to asking friends on Facebook what they thought so I could get more opinions and ideas. Little did I know that it would be quite the controversial topic. The official question was this... "Why should deaf people exist? Why should we care?" The first response happened within the hour and I sighed upon reading it, virtually smacking my hand against my face.

Andrew had blatantly replied with, "
Sounds like someone is looking for an excuse to commit genocide." Great, just great, was the first phrase to come to mind. We now have the idea in mind that this question leaves the questioner looking for an excuse to commit genocide. That was the last thing I ever wanted coming up, but Andrew did make a great point, which then stemmed my next thought and honestly lead me to the basis of my response. I said, "Well, [my professor's] thought is that if we are going to be advocates for the Deaf, then we have to start by advocating their life. [I do agree with him about this] ... I personally believe we are all God's children and that we should treat one another as we would want to be treated. That is my short answer..." The comments from that point varied, and I appreciated all of them.

The next great comment made was written by Jillian, she said, "[Deaf people exist]
Because differences exist - to make us realize that we have to tolerate others. We should care because if deaf people ran the world, then we would be the minority and we'd want them to care." She made a brilliant point with this, especially in recognizing that deaf people exist in a minority. The next comment made was from the mouth of a teenager. Teens are stigmatized into a social category of not really caring about anything else other than themselves.

Kevin, who is also my relative, made the following comment, "
A deaf person can accomplish anything a person who isn't deaf. ...we should care for them because they are still human beings." If Kevin had been there in person, I swear I would have kissed him on the cheek for his youthful honesty.

I save the meanest, but best, for last. I must note the acting antagonist in the thread of comments. Peter, who can also be found on blogger, gave us a taste of reality with his comment - because sadly, this is how many people see it.

I could argue in defense of the beautiful language that is attached to deafness that would disappear, but our society already frowns upon the language, encouraging Cochlear Implants and Oralism. I hope you understand what I mean with that statement. If not, let me know and I will explain further.

I could also argue in defense of the incredible culture of the Deaf, but our society is ignorant to its existence anyway. Its preservation would only be for the "burdensome" minority and its "sympathy" followers like you and I.

Lastly, maybe one could argue that God made them that way, and they are perfect just the way they are. But we all know that God wouldn't do that to someone... put them through the pain and struggle of being deaf. It is clearly the best choice to allow science and technology to "cure" them of their ailment."
I didn't feel terrible about this comment because I know Peter is a good guy and he was only re- opening my eyes and the eyes of my peers to the reality of society's views. It was good to think about. It was good to have dignified view in opposition of my own. Peter later suggested that I view this video on YouTube. I urge you to view it as well.

There were many other great comments and I wish I could quote them all, but if you are one of my "friends" on Facebook, then you've probably already read it. Until then, click on the link below to read my paper for further information. 


Please Comment!


~Aud Fariy

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