News Flash – Deaf people without CI can FUNCTION in a hearing world – gasp!

Response inspired by Jodi’s comment re: her view that hearing aids / CI are essential to function in a hearing world and her view on the word “hopeful”

Just wanna let ya all know that Deaf folks who dont have CIs – even Deaf folks who dont talk can FUNCTION in a hearing world

shocking yes

i know you only catch fleeting glimpses of us on Dancing with the Stars and as sex objects, victims, or crazed men on TV and films but i wanna let u know that we go to the bank, we pump our own gas, we hold jobs, we raise children and we do all of this in WHAT?…

drum roll…. “THE HEARING WORLD”

we not only live in the hearing world, we not only function in the hearing world, we not only make love, give birth, shout, cry, laugh, pray, die, but we actually excel at many of the things we do in the hearing world

and guess what …we can do this with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants

and guess what …even though parents go to all the great length they do to ensure that their deaf child can live and FUNCTION in the hearing world – they will still at times experience discrimination, being left out, prejudice, misunderstanding, identity confusion etc

being able to TALK on the PHONE does not ensure full “functioning abilities” in the hearing world

being able to say – hey, im me. i may be different than the majority but i am NOT inferior, i am NOT helpless, i am NOT pitiful, i am NOT defective, i am NOT deficient, i am NOT an outcast – i am a full fledged member of society whether u like and/or can accept my difference or not – i really dont care what u think cuz i am ME

now the “Hopeful” part – underrepresented folks cling to hope that the Dominant WORLD will some day be able to FUNCTION in their world instead of trying to obliterate it, demean it, destroy it, minimize it, etc

The hopefulness is oriented toward u and what u can be – not towards me

The potential that the US might soon have its first African-American or female president is more a testiment to the US’s legacy of discrimination and a milestone for our society than the individual achievement of Obama or H. Clinton

We shall overcome is not about becoming worthy – its about shattering injustice

if u believe that it is foolish or futile to hope because u r cynical that our society will ever change so instead u invest everything possible in changing ur child to fit society – so be it – i wish u well. at the end of the day though there will be a moment when a cloud passes over your child’s face and it will be one that u have been dreading and one you have been denying and failing to see and it is best that u do not stare into ur child’s face to see what more you can change in his being to cast away that shadow – instead it may be best for u to turn and look over ur shoulder to see what is it that is casting this shadow and turn ur energy to combating the real foe – society’s perception of what is NORMAL, DESIRABLE, ACCEPTABLE and what is FUNCTIONING!

since the time that Spilman (you can google her jodi) was quoted as saying “Deaf people are not ready to FUNCTION in a hearing world”
i have known that the essence of this message really is “Hearing people are not ready to FUNCTION in a Deaf world”

oh yeah – in case u didnt know – u totally insulted me and all my people by saying non-CI non-speaking people can’t function in a hearing world. This is audism plain and simply – “the belief that the ability to hear and speak are superior to being Deaf”

im doing a way lot more than just functioning sweetheart

re: hope – if u desire i have no hope that u will “get it” – that is fine with me

however i will continue to hope that the rest of society will – we have come a long way but it is slow going given the attitude that some hold so dearly



just saw these entries that seem to relate to this topic:
Quote near bottom from Children of a Lesser G-d really relates to what is discussed above
Discusses how to remain principled and passionate


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jodi
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 12:25:22

    I apologize since I obviously offended you and others, that wasn’t my intention. Nor was it my intention to apply my thoughts and actions with regard to raising my son to others. I have no deaf role models and there is no strong deaf community where I live, so this message that you are sending now can only help me now, it wasn’t there back then, when I began all of this. I can’t argue with anything you’ve said because I agree with everything…but I am not an audist, I’m just a hearing mom trying to do the best she can for her son, and who no doubt is making mistakes. I apologize that my blog made you so angry and offended you so deeply, it was not my intention.

  2. John Critser
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 12:42:03

    This is one of the most beautifully written blog entries and I agreed with every single word written. People need to acknowledge audism instead of denying it, whether there were good intentions or not, Jodi is a mother, and nothing more. But this blog will help her to understand, her first step was to apologize, and her second step needs to be in acknowledging that audism was inadvertently shown through her comments.

    What is in regards to raising her Deaf son also applies to millions of other Deaf people. People try to keep it between the parent and the child, but it affects the community, as well.

  3. Just a comment.....
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 12:48:22

    Not to try to downplay this but I wanted to make what I thought is a correct in reference to Spillman’s quote. I thought she said “Deaf people are not unable to function in a hearing world” this is actually a double negative which makes it a positive and it was however misunderstood, probably for the better, because it is one of the major factions of what led to necessary changes needed back then and more are still needed to this day.

  4. pdurr
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 13:31:06

    Jodi –

    thank you for your fast reply

    I know you are not an audist. This is why i did not call you one. The mentality that Deaf folks can’t / don’t / won’t function in the hearing world is an example of audism though.

    I totally support and love and care for you and ur son, Jordan. I know you are doing what you see as best for him. I know you love your kids with all your heart and soul.

    I in no way shape of form want to put u on defensive or make you feel bad about how you are raising him. I just wanna let you know that being Deaf in a hearing world is not bad except for when folks decide you are not functioning or your future is hopeless cuz u are different

    that p.o.v. is as old as time. that p.o.v. is the DISABLING CONDITION that d/Deaf folks have to combat daily. I do not want u to be part of that p.ov. i dont want u to buy into that myth.

    When a friend told my mom that her grandson was deaf – my mom replied “wonderful!”

    true – biz. it is not cuz my mom is Deaf (she is not) it is not because she is an ASL user (she is not) it is not cuz she is a militant (she is not) – it is because she actually thinks it is GREAT to be Deaf cuz she sees that im fine and all my friends are fine

    the mindset of “deaf folks can’t function in a hearing world” has inspired the oral/aural only movement

    many people have worried endlessly about Deaf folks ability to function and ironically have always chosen to tie their very hands in their quest to help Deaf folks function when all Deaf folks have been asking for is to be viewed as HUMAN

    feminist, african-americans, gays and lesbians… all of us have had this struggle

    i apologize to you for responding so strongly above

    the “functioning in a hearing world” is such an old and hurtful mindset that it set me off big time

    i do care for u and am very grateful for ur quick and thoughtful response

    peace and love


  5. pdurr
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 13:42:51

    john – apology was quickly given and joyfully accepted. see above

    re: inadvertent yes

    there is intentional and unintentional audism racism sexism – one doesnt make the other more acceptable – both r bad but of course intentional is far worse

    re: just a comment
    Spilman has disputed the quote and claims she was misquoted but even the NY times quoted her as saying:
    In her remarks Sunday night, Mrs. Spilman justified the selection, saying, ”Deaf people are not ready to function in a hearing world.”

    as u pointed out – even if it was an interpreter error or the student leaders misunderstood her (they claim they got the quote right) it did rev up the protest big time

    to me it is entirely possible that the quote is accurate because it makes no sense for Spilman to have said the double negative as u mentioned – what would be the point of saying that Deaf folks r ready to function… as justification for having picked Zinser over the deaf finalists

    also i find it believable that she said this because as we see daily folks continue to believe this notion very comfortably – sadly

    i do think things r improving due to increased positive images and Deaf folks asserting themselves, their language and their rights peacefully and endlessly



  6. dog food
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 13:51:24

    wow, hats off to jodi for such a wonderful comment; i’m so happy to see bridges being built.

  7. Jodi
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 14:11:45

    Thank you, really. It has been an emotional day, and this post kind of destroyed me, your comment made it a lot better.

  8. pdurr
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 14:15:46

    Thank Y-O-U jodi

    i always admire folks who can say sorry and r willing to examine their words and actions

    i was also very worried that my words might hurt u

    u r very strong and good

    pls feel free to email me any time

    MUCH peace and love


  9. Jodi
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 14:36:13


  10. moi
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 17:05:51

    Another home run, Patti! I was warmed to witness the exchange between you and Jodi as well, showing that bridges are indeed being built. Your post was spot-on. That mentality infuriates me big-time, because it is so patently untrue. Just because we do not conform to their idea of “function” doesn’t mean that we don’t. We buy houses and cars just fine the way we are without speaking or aided hearing. THANK YOU for speaking up.

  11. cuong aka buzz
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 17:54:05


    thank you for finding your true heart to write this blog in the wisdom and to forgive jodi with your grace and love.


    i did read your blog sometime, i was not sure to trust you yet. after you did apologize to patti is great for me to put some trust in you.

    the thumbnail rule in daily life is important for me to balance both i.q. (intelligence quotient) vs e.q. (emotional quotient) to function in our world.

    wish you and your son the best.


  12. Jean Boutcher
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 18:01:29

    Hi Patti, You write:

    “When a friend told my mom that her grandson was deaf – my mom replied

    WoW! Never have I ever heard any
    hearing person say, “wonderful.”
    What I have heard all my life is either “Oh, I am so sorry”
    or “How sad that she cannot hear!”, not knowing that I can
    lipread them!

    Your mother is a very intelligent woman! 😀

  13. Jean Boutcher
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 18:06:52

    Oh, yes, Patti is accurate. BoT
    Chair Jane Spilman said literally, “Deaf people are not
    ready to function in a hearing
    world.” She denied having uttered these words, but several interpreters and hearing staff did hear her say
    “not ready to function.”

    That was when Gallaudetians found the paternalistic mentality in her.

  14. Divided
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 19:21:10

    Patti….well done! You speak for the majority of deaf/hh folks who are functioning just fine in this so called, hearing world. Jodi is learning a lot from many of us and I’m glad for her to have this opportunity. Now…Jodi needs to get out there and learn LIS, ASL and start meeting deaf people in the flesh. She only knows us “on paper”.

  15. IamMine
    Mar 05, 2008 @ 19:32:42

    I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again…

    Patti, I love you! 🙂

  16. Aidan Mack
    Mar 06, 2008 @ 09:58:18

    Thank you for defending people like us. You rock! I work in the hearing community 99 percent of my time. I am doing good!


  17. yuma
    Mar 06, 2008 @ 10:16:41

    my deaf father had deaf friends and would be out in the community and hearing people would make fun of them signing and then would proceed to beat the crap out of them … stupid hearing people …. Deaf people kick ass

  18. pdurr
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 10:50:13

    Moi – big thanks. Loved ur blog re: being a passionate person – have listed at bottom of this entry

    Cuong aka buzz – thanks for u note – re: iq and eq – yes we need both

    Jean – yep, me mum rocks. And thanks for ur comment re: spilman

    Divided – do hope jodi will meet up with some Deaf folks in Italy – While I have met a few Deaf Italians at conferences and film festivals, don’t know anyone personally to put her in touch with. I do believe she will be pleasantly surprised.

    IamMine – again – back at ya!

    Aidan – de nada

    Yuma – I hope you don’t mean LITERALLY “beat the crap out of them” – I cant support violence but am all for standing up for what we believe in peacefully, lovingly, and firmly



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