I offer you all the red pill, in order to explore Deafhood, Audism and Deaf Culture. This will be broken up in several blog posts – at the very most, 3 posts. This will, I hope, free you from the the self and other imposed constructs upon ourselves. In other words – beginning the journey of freeing yourself from the Matrix. 😉
In my previous blog post, Patti Durr left a comment stating this: i believe there is one fundalmental principle within Deafhood though and that a pathological and audist view of being deaf is not part of Deafhood.
This touches upon a main point that I want to clarify and debate on, when it comes to defining audism, but since this is also connected to Deafhood, I believe it’s important to first establish my premises here before going any further. I happen to disagree with Patti’s comment – I think you can have Deafhood, but still be an audist.
A pretty radical statement, I know. But bear with me and read me out. Being a deaf person is a biological thing. It is a statement of fact on whether a person is deaf or not. You use scientific evidence to prove whether s/he is deaf.
A similar analogy would be the color of a person’s skin. Here in the United States, a person who produces a lot of melanin is called black, and a person who doesn’t produce a lot of melanin is called a white person. This is a scientific fact. A person’s color of skin, sexual orientation, gender, hearing status … physical features that are rooted in biological fact, does not have an inherent value to it.
This is an important distinction to make. For one to have Deafhood, one first has to be physically deaf, just like a person has to be physically a woman, to have womanhood and so on. If one is going to argue that a hearing person can have Deafhood, then it can be also argued that a man can have womanhood, which to me doesn’t make sense.
When we talk about -hood, we are talking about a person’s process of coming to terms with things that are an inherent part of themselves, and striving to become a self-actualized person. This means understanding and recognizing the limitations that you have within yourself, and the limitations that society puts on you.
Paddy Ladd’s definition of Deafhood is: A process by which Deaf individuals come to actualize their Deaf identity, positing that those individuals construct that identity to their heightened forms by various factors such as nation, era and class.
This fits in with the process of self-actualization. Now, there are many, many ways to reach self-actualization. What leads one to self-actualization, will not necessarily work for another. And in the process of self-actualization in the sense of Deafhood, you are processing how various factors, such as culture, society’s view of you, your self-perception, has an effect on you and your identity.
Therefore, it can be argued and I believe this is where there is great misunderstanding…. Deafhood is the process of understanding and freeing yourself from the limitations of audism. A self-actualized deaf person will not allow audism to impinge on the maximization of their potential.
Everyone who is deaf has Deafhood. But not every deaf person is self-actualized. Therefore, you can have Deafhood, yet be an audist.
The question now is raised – just what does audism exactly mean?
I will discuss my idea of what audism means in my next blog post, which will be posted within a few days.
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