Humane Intervention is Required
i am sad. i am blue. it is true. why you ask?
because we whos and whoville are starting to tell the truth – we are starting to let that mighty collective yelp come forth from the shadows where folks have stored them – kept them tight, sqeezed them shut with all their might, numbed them with addictions – be it booze, pot, coke, meth, women, men, both, gambling, and/or violence.
this is what oppressed folks do
and to escape the hurt they turn to things that will numb the ouchie (see this very POWERFUL blog entry http://sayno2hate.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-have-i-lost.html – warning graphic pix when you scroll down. READ it in FULL because it is part of OURstory)
in addition to addictions many will contemplate suicide. some will attempt it and some will succeed. I remember reading long ago about how there was a much higher rate of suicide for gay lesbian bi and transgender teenager due to the stigma and stress of trying to be something they are not and i thought what of our Deaf youth. And since that time i have known many Deaf people who have shared with me their thoughts of suicide and some have attempted suicide. Still others have succeeded. Of the ones who shared with me – their pain was often related to their family not accepting them as Deaf people. Some of them can hear and speak a plenty but still were Deaf beings forced to be something they were not. Some of them could not hear and speak and felt if they could then they would have been loved and accepted. Which is false. They were lovable from the beginning. the intervention they needed and deserved from the get go should have been a humane one – not one that required extraordinary means and not one that always makes them feel not quite good enuf.
This is painful for me to write about because in doing so i see actual faces of these people. People i love or wish i had the opportunity to know better. They also encountered this rejection for who they were as Deaf people in school – from their teachers who tried to make them hear and act like hearing people do, from their peers who could be very cruel especially during adolescence. Of course all the while there is the “specialist” and the “professionals” who have been advising and at times even intervening in the parents wishes (see the case in Mich where the CPS tried to mandate two Deaf boys be implanted – that must have been such a confusing court case for those kids. see the case Mississippi where specialist testified against a Hearing mother because the specialist felt the son should be implanted and needed a guardian that would ensure he used it all the time and worked on his speech skills etc., see how a judge can court order a child to wear her cochlear implants all her waking hours against her & Deaf father’s wishes)
All of this stigma and negativity towards BEING Deaf is harmful folks. Nothing wrong with speech and hearing but there is plenty wrong with overvaluing it and using it as a bullyclub and a rationale for oppressing and excluding sign language.
while i myself was not raised with ASL and thus i was raised accidentally orally – no one OVERTLY denied it to me, my hands were never slapped, my body was never manipulated and contorted to do things it really wasnt comfortable doing. I did have speech therapy K-12 which was no fun and tedious and i dont think it really improved my speech much at all. but if the SYSTEM found it important for me to have speech and to sit in the front of the class (no notetakers / cart or interpreter – this was pre-ADA days folks. yes i am OLD) they should have found it fit to give me some sign language and to have someone come to my home and teach my family some basic sign.
Thankfully my mom is Italian and she can NOT NOT use her hands to save her life. she is a gesturer and she can read my mind before i even speak it but see here – the beauty and the truth of things: my mom at the age of 80+ still endeavors to learn sign language. She first attempted it when i began to learn ASL in my 20s – i came home to find her signing “Sunshine on My Shoulders” – yes it was slow but a beauty to behold because SHE WANTED TO. I just wished the BOCES teacher had taught them conversational signs because you can only say so much with “sunshine on my shoulders.” And again many moons later i see my mommy is learning some signs from the Signing Times video – for me and her twin Hearing grandbabies. And this reminds me of how my mother in law in hospice before slipping into a coma and i was struggling on a word she was saying with her tired lips – lifted up her fingers to fingerspell to me and then said “see Patti you will get me to learn sign” see how she shined!
these beautiful folks never had any opposition to ASL – there just was none to be had in our town and in my school while i was growing up
There is no reason why ASL can not be provided today – we have the technology and we have the skills and we have all this beautiful data that shows that signing is good for babies. so aint it interesting how the 2nd wave of Oralism is trying to push their way back into state legislatures to validate, sanction, and finance their unjust and inhumane practices.
Do we really want to see more young folks experience childhood like the Sayno2hate 23 year old blogger?
I definitely do NOT and pls do not fool yourself to think that everything is fine now that they have cochlear implants. I can not tell you how many young people have had cochlear implants fail them, how much they fear another failure for fear of another surgery, how many of them wished their families would sign.
This is an ole cycle folks
there is absolutely no EXCUSE or JUSTIFICATION for making children work for their words when ASL is a fully natural and accessible language that could be at their fingertips along with English.
oh and do ya know that Olof Hanson, Deaf architect and advocate, wrote to AG Bell asking him to endorse a proposal that fingerspelling be taught in all public schools to which AG Bell replied something to the effect – it is not right to expect the majority to change for the minority (see A Place of Their Own)
He was xenophobic and propagated language bigotry that we r still suffering under. im sorry ag bell but i gotta call it like it was and is. lives are at stake.
so while im VERY blue to be seeing these truths – i feel them so incredibly deeply that i weep – i am GRATIFUL and UTTERLY THANKFUL at the courage folks are displaying in the singing of their songs of freedom
no more secrets folks
Deaf survivors of Oralism say – we will NOT forget and we will NOT let this happen AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN….
see u in st louis folks – EHDI does not understand HUMANE and HUMANITY and we aim to help them SEE!
AFA rally plans