Here’s The Red Pill: Deafhood

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.

Copyright © Jeannette Johnson. All rights reserved.

About A Deaf Pundit

A Deaf Pundit holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public & Nonprofit Administration. In her spare time, she enjoys fantasy novels, gaming and wandering the vast Deaf social media world. View all posts by A Deaf Pundit

71 responses to “Here’s The Red Pill: Deafhood

  • Amy Cohen Efron

    “The question of which pill to take illustrates the personal aspect of the decision to study philosophy. Do you live on in ignorance (and potentially bliss) or do you lead what Aristotle called ‘the examined life’…”

    I’ll choose the examined life! Gimme a red one! Red! Red!

  • Bill Creswell

    So, if I was to summarize my understanding of part 1 – you are saying that deafness itself is the sole qualification of Deafhood, but that there are different points on a journey, and due to the personal nature of that journey, it can lead in different directions?

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Bill,

    Yes, you pretty much got it. 🙂 However, all directions lead to one ultimate goal: self-actualization.

    I believe part of the problem is what do we consider a self-actualized deaf person to be? From my observations and understanding, people who believe audism to be real, believe that a self-actualized deaf person is free from internalized audism, and does not allow external audism to limit him/herself.

    But does that mean a self-actualized deaf person is part of Deaf Culture? I think that’s where the real debate lies. But first, we need to understand what audism means better before going there. 🙂

  • Dianrez

    Great essay! This leaves out the American adaptation of the Ladd Deafhood concept, which helps greatly in getting back to the basics.

    To beat the quibblers at their own game, not all people who produce more melanin are black, for example, Indians who are technically Caucasians. However, it is still up to the individual to adopt the “black” designation whether Indian and married to an American Black, (shades of the movie Mississippi Masala!) Or whether the “one drop” rule makes one Black even though one’s ancestry is nearly all Caucasian.

    So it is with the d/Deaf people: it is still up to the individual which designation to adopt or reject and does not always rely on a medical or functional determination. Some profoundly deaf people prefer to live and identify within the hearing society; and conversely some high-audiogram HOH adopt the Deaf cultural identity.

    I think you are going to argue that if every deaf person has Deafhood and that audism is the difference between the various degrees of self-actualization. If that’s so, you’ll have a big argument from people who prefer to opt out and see themselves as fully self-actualized “hearing” people. But let’s see what you have to say in your next essay.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful and well-analyzed presentation. Looking forward to them all!

  • Karen Mayes

    I really enjoyed reading your posting. ;o)

    Ah, red pill… from Matrix movies, huh? ;o)

    *cough* now I am seeing the similarities between Matrix philosophy and America’s Deaf Culture, especially on political ideologies now… Just make of what you read in my comment… I ain’t say any more ;o)

  • Karen Mayes

    I re-read your posting…

    YES. Exactly. Deafness is required for “Deafhood”‘s self-actualization.

    Now, me SHUT UP… haha.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Karen,

    Yup, the red pill’s from the Matrix movies. It’s one of my favorites, (I annoy my friends sometimes with references to these movies 😉 ) and I think it’s a very good analogy for what I’ll be saying in my upcoming posts.

  • p

    HI Deaf Pundit

    i think i would be able to follow this entry better had the YOUR definition of audism and audist been offered at the onset

    so anxiously awaiting more illumination

    Bill – re: must be Deaf (in whatever varying shape or form) to be able to be part of Deafhood – my impression of Dr. Ladd’s book and lectures has been that that is an open question still re: Hearing folks (children of Deaf adults, Hearing family members etc)

    to me lately i have been thinking about feminism and how a man can be considered a feminist – the requirement is that he believe the radical notion that women are equal to men

    i do believe that many Hearing folks do go on a journey of shedding the pathological view of what it means to be deaf to a cultural linguistic human rights view of what it means to be Deaf

    just folks can see the full context of my comment from Deaf Pundits previous blog entry here it is below:

    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

    i think that may be the heart of where the conflict lies

    some folks may value deafness, which is purely a medical pathological view of what it means to be deaf and excludes, ignores, minimizes or omits the cultural, linguistic component

    this might be the place of the great divide – of course there are many other cliffs and percipes along the way

    thanks for the dialogue

    peace

    patti

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Hi Patti,

    Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment!

    I just wanted to make a small point regarding your statement about feminism. Being a feminist is different than having womanhood. The former is a point of view adopted by the person, about women in general. The latter is the process of analyzing what does it mean to be a woman, and how does it fit in her identity.

    So a man can be a feminist, but not have womanhood.

    I think it’s important to recognize the differences there.. It’s a small difference, but a significant one. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if it doesn’t.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    I forgot to add about womanhood .. need to clarify a bit. The latter is the process of analyzing what does it mean to be a woman, and how does it fit in in her identity. To reach self-actualization, the woman has to do that. So, ultimately, it’s part of the self-actualization process.

  • Xiella

    wow.. big words! seems i have been too long out of the loop of both deaf and autistic blogs and forums… but sounds very tight and well-written. being rather on the fringes of things, and myself having only a vague understanding of the community and audism, i’m curious about your next post :p. keep up the good work sweets!

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    I also like The Matrix. It brings up different sorts of philosophies about life, reality, ethics, human and many other subjects.

    If I may offer a different interpretation, I don’t think that the moral of The Matrix is about freeing people from the Matrix. This was my original thought but over the times, I changed my interpretation of the trilogy. The moral is that people should have the choice to interface with the Matrix or to disconnect from the Matrix. Neo tried to make peace between the human beings and the Matrix and he succeeded. At the end of the third movie, the Oracle made sure that the Architect would respect the people’s choice to leave the Matrix if they want to. Rather than forcing people to join the Matrix or forcing people to disconnect from the Matrix, the choice is left to each individual. The Matrix is not necessarily bad or evil but can provide an alternate reality for people who like to be part of it.

    If I try to apply the moral of The Matrix to Deafhood, I would state that each deaf person should be able to make a choice to participate in the process of Deafhood or decline Deafhood. This brings up an interesting question, at least for me. Can a deaf person decline Deafhood? Or, are all deaf people stuck with Deafhood regardless of whether they want it or not (similar to the beginning of The Matrix where people were stuck with the Matrix unless they take the red pill)? If all deaf people are stuck with Deafhood, will deaf Morpheus be available to give us the red pills to free us from the dues ex machina of Deafhood? 🙂

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    *grins at Joseph*

    Yeah, these are good questions, and I definitely see how your interpretation of The Matrix works. We share some of the same ideas about The Matrix. I agree with you that the moral is that people should have the choice to interface with the Matrix, or to disconnect from the Matrix.

    But when I said “to free yourself from the Matrix” I guess I should’ve been more precise. When you free yourself from the Matrix, you start understanding what exactly the Matrix is, how it works, and how it constrains you. Not disconnecting yourself from the Matrix, even though *technically* that is freeing yourself from the Matrix completely.

    I think that you can still be within the Matrix, and be free of it. Neo was free within the Matrix – he was able to fight off the agents and do death-defying, extraordinary things, because he understood how the Matrix worked, and worked his way around the constraints of the Matrix.

    😉

  • kim

    I have never seen the Matrix, but I think I like where you’re headed. I hope you take into account that a person can be biologically deaf, and actualized as a deaf person within the medical model of wearing an implant or hearing aids.

  • Self-Actualization in the Real World–A deaf View « Face me, I read lips

    […] October 11, 2009 Self-Actualization in the Real World–A deaf View Posted by kim under audism, d-deaf, hearing impaired, hearing loss, late-deaf, self-acceptance | Tags: age at onset of hearing loss, Deafhood, self-actualization | Leave a Comment  Lately there has been a lot of discussion about “deafhood” and self-actualization.  See Deaf Pundit’s blog. […]

  • Anne Marie

    Kim, that is what I have been wondering too. How can one can consolidate her/himself to being actualized while acknowledging her/himself being a disabled? Acceptance of disability as a condition that brings out the gift of language/culture? It’s befuddling yet I have seen more professionals on the medical side have start to seeing us to be a cultural linguistic group through use of ASL language. I will be interested to see how this all somehow balances out. I believe it has to happen if that way Deaf and HoH people can have their own positive image and ability to self actualize to their own fullest.

    If we rather to be considered solely cultural language group, we would need to be aligned to state and federal bilingual programs with total assurance that anti-discrimination laws are really effective and that all deaf/hoh babies are assured of full language input supposedly signed language as mother tongue. Because of this, I knew we will always be both conditional and cultural and it makes sense to see how everyone should consolidate on every level as possible to bring equilibrium into everything. Mutual respect and supporting each others on common needs and goals are the key.

    I have to watch the third episode of the Matrix, I realize I missed that exciting part. : D

  • White Ghost

    Thanks for the good clarification. At first, I did not understand what a commenter meant what the self-actualization is at Patti Durr’s blog. This commenter didn’t make a clear. Until you blogged it. That’s a good blog.

    Can I have a red pill? 😉

    Matrix……I wish I could have a good eye to glance a bullet!

  • Linda Slovick

    Hi all!

    DianaRes – > the American adaptation of the Ladd Deafhood concept

    I personally don’t see this difference as being one of concept, but one of implementation or execution.

    Britain and the EU, Canada and many other civilized countries allow for protection of minority languages, which facilitates acting more directly to protect natural signed languages.

    In the U.S., we must still work within the disability paradigm, which just doesn’t always fit the prescriptions the British and E.U. Deafhood thinkers come up with.

    But I believe that Paddy Ladd made note that in the U.S., signing fluency seems to be somewhat more important than it is in Britain.

    Perhaps this difference is closer to what you see?

    Deaf Pundit – I was hoping to have a good healthy disagreement with you, but so far, we are in good agreement, so far as I can see…

  • A Deaf Pundit

    I think you’ll be surprised at how much we agree on, Linda. 🙂

  • Linda Slovick

    One small correction I’d like to make to what I said before… I believe that Paddy Ladd’s comment wasn’t about American Deafhood, but about the then-current American Deaf Culture (a few years ago), but perhaps somebody closer to the source will remember it more exactly what he said?

    Maybe this time around with the new explaining things, we can see where we genuinely disagree, and where we just had maybe slightly different definitions, or even the same definitions, but thought the other one thought differently.

    I agree with you that our differences are REALLY likely to be smaller for most things, and where they do make a difference, we can agree that we CAN work together on MOST things, and therefore get SOMETHING done…

    I feel like a newbie saying stuff that the old timers will be going, “Well, DUH!!!” about… But for everybody’s good intentions, this whole thing is right now a bad snarl, worse than it maybe needs to be?

    I don’t understand it all, right now, but I’m beginning to…

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Yay! The red pill is working! 😉

  • Karen Mayes

    Off of the point… thought you’d want to view this particular comment:

    http://www.deafvideo.tv/61166/comment-page-2#comment-442954

    So this word was tried in the legal system.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Aguabo’s definition of deafhood is different than mine, Karen.

  • Linda Slovick

    Ok, that video is Russ (last name) telling us what Aguabo did in court. This is hearsay, right?

    Can we get some evidence as to what the actual use and context of the of the terms “Deafhood” and “CI” were in the actual legal case?

    Anybody that can point us at the case # or has a copy of the filings with the exact wording that the court is considering?

    > Yay! The red pill is working! 😉

    All I wanna know is when I will be able to do those cool BulletTime effects! I’ve never been that limber in my life!

  • White Ghost

    Wish we could obtain the transcript from the court on Russell vs. Michelle Aguabo. I have no idea how to obtain through the internet. That’s what Russell said in the comment #36.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Yeah, I would agree that what Russell is saying in that video comment is hearsay until he gives us the case number or a way for us to access the court filings.

    I’ve seen people, including Aguabo, on DVTV confuse deafhood with other ideas though. So while Russell’s claim IS hearsay until he provides us with sources and evidence that we can look at for ourselves; that particular part about Aguabo’s remarks on Deafhood is credible to me, because I’ve seen it happen before.

    *laughs* I wanna to be able to do these awesome BulletTime effects too!

  • A Deaf Pundit

    White Ghost – yeah, I wish I knew how too. Because Linda is right.. overall, this IS hearsay so we can’t completely accept Russell’s story until we’re given the evidence to judge for ourselves. :/

  • gamas

    At this point, it is hearsay.

    Let’s suppose that it is true. I kind of question whether the term deafhood was argued, I think more likely the 14th amendment was argued. She filed (allegedly) a restraining order based on Russell violating the 14th amendment by harassing deafhood proponents and their anti-C.I. message. She asked the court to forbade Russell from accessing the internet to use youtube, DVTV, etc. So…we will need to see if this is true, transcript is a public information accessible to anyone that pays for it or to view it for free in the court in a reading room of some sort. Until then we can know for sure whether DH term was argued or if it was just the 14th amendment.

    Something tells me that it is true, simply because if it wasn’t true, it would destroy ALL the credibility that Russell has and my question is, who in their right mind would do something like that? If you notice, his wife was behind him. However stranger things have happened.

  • White Ghost

    Right, Gamas.

    Hopefully, Russell can provide the link and obtain the transcript so we all can learn from the court.

    If the transcript proves that the Deafhood tried to get rid of Russell from the DVTV because of his supportive for CIs. Also, if the Deafhood attempted to hijack the DVTV to get rid of the people who support for or has CIs, they will get hurt the credibility.

    We cannot discuss and prove it unless we can read the transcript from the court.

  • Karen Mayes

    Hmmm…

    This whole thing has gotten me thinking. About the personal biases of people who give Deafhood workshops. It seems that our buried pains have a way of being attractive to the personal biases (biases are usually limiting and sometimes negative… depending.) So the presenters allow their biases in, touching us on different ways. So the concept of Deafhood is not cut and dried… is in a semi-permanent stage of being molded or manipulated to fit their needs, in order to achieve the ends. The more enpowered they are, the bolder they become, and they cross the personal area into public area… hence Nikki’s latest vlog about personal decision vs public oppression. Hmmm…

    So, it’s necessary that the presenters of Deafhood workshops need to take care to set aside their biases and be more effective in presenting DH in a more impersonal way…less controversial?

  • Linda Slovick

    Joseph Pietro Riolo said:

    > If I try to apply the moral of The Matrix to Deafhood, I would state
    > that each deaf person should be able to make a choice to
    > participate in the process of Deafhood or decline Deafhood.
    > This brings up an interesting question, at least for me. Can a
    > deaf person decline Deafhood?

    In my opinion, you can’t really decline personal Deafhood… Your Deafhood journey will be, in my opinion, be more difficult due to the additional struggle to deny rather than explore your own nature.

    I agree with the self-actualization paradigm as the sort of “best case” personal Deafhood; the one with the least personal pain and struggle.

    What you can easily decline, however, is the Deafhood of your surrounding communities… In the best case for communities, we can help one another with the difficult process of self-actualization by allowing space to be different.

    You can be a more influential community member and try to define lower-status members, just like the majority world defines us all!

    Both are bad, but I am honestly seeing less of this definition-from-above than others seem to see. The others seem to see me as naive, and that is probably true to some extent… But I also feel that those with status in Deaf Culture are generally MUCH more careful about any sort of “abuse of authority” in defining other peoples’ Deafhood journeys, BECAUSE they recognize the similarities of the situation of “those who don’t understand well in groups of speaking people” to the tensions within other “subaltern” groups.

    What Deafhood (at the community level) DOES for me is point out that subaltern groups DO discriminate within, so we can be expected to do so, too… But the “good news” is that, because these secondary oppressors are themselves oppressed, it is possible to find more allies among other subalterns!

    Hence the success of other Rainbow Coalitions, and the Deafhood-inspired, but still quite tame, social activism of the DBC.

    The sort of communities Deafhood teaches us to look for is one of other subalterns and try on their activist strategies to see how well they work for Deaf subalterns.

    > Or, are all deaf people stuck with Deafhood regardless of
    > whether they want it or not (similar to the beginning of The
    > Matrix where people were stuck with the Matrix unless they
    > take the red pill)? If all deaf people are stuck with Deafhood,
    > will deaf Morpheus be available to give us the red pills to free
    > us from the dues ex machina of Deafhood? 🙂

    Ah, are we in the Matrix using the Red Pill of Deafhood to escape, or is Deafhood itself what has us in its thrall, and needs to be most firmly rejected?

    May I suggest that since Dr. Ladd’s book was only published in 2003, that the unpleasant confinement to the Deaf Matrix existed LONG before Deafhood was ever thought of?

    I DO think some people worry about the spirituality of Ella’s own Deafhood… but Ella was a strongly spiritual person back when she first emerged as our poet laureate, so, OF COURSE, her personal Deafhood will reflect that self!

    Similarly, Paddy Ladd grew up oral, and was mainstreamed, so his own personal Deafhood reflects his strong dissatisfaction with that unnecessary personal restriction. I believe that John Egbert may have a similar path in that his own passion for activism is to try to prevent kids growing up today from having to struggle as he did.

    Good motives, ALL! I really don’t see anybody pocketting a bunch of money from this. What I see is people who genuinely believe that the Deafhood perspective has had a personally freeing effect for those who have taken some time to consider it…

    For those who “don’t need to understand Deafhood because they’ve been deaf 43 years,” fine with me… Just don’t go trying to tell us all what it REALLY means without knowing anything about what you’re arguing against.

    Glad to have Joseph on board for our Deaf Matrix Reload! NOW we can REALLY have a good discussion!

  • gamas

    Well, it cost money to get case information ONLY via the internet. All it takes is one person to go to Norwalk Superior court – 12720 Norwalk Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650 and ask for transcript for CASE # VS019551. Not sure how that court works, but where I’m from, one could just go in and request to read materials from a case for free. Any takers in Cali?

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Linda,

    I can identify one source of our disagreement. Deafhood is NOT something that is at the community level. It is solely at the personal level. If you read Ladd’s definition of Deafhood, it says nothing about community. It’s all about the person and the person’s processing of his/her identity.

    Identity is definitely a complicated thing, and there is no question that it is definitely influenced by the community you’re in, but a community cannot have a -hood. It can have a culture, but not a -hood.

    Some might say that we’re arguing over semantics, but I disagree, and this is explored in depth in my next post. 🙂

    Aside from that, Linda, I agree with what you said. Consider this a preview for my next post. It should be up either tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning. 🙂

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Karen,

    Yeah. You’re starting to understand. 🙂

  • Karen Mayes

    Hmmm…

    Check out ASLFreedom’s comment: http://www.deafvideo.tv/61166/comment-page-6#comments… #114, discussing collectivism. So some people have a strong sense of collectivism would be more likely involved in the groups while others more individualist are more likely to mind their own businesses.

    Brance said a good example also… #104.

  • Linda Slovick

    Karen Mayes says:

    > So, it’s necessary that the presenters of Deafhood workshops
    > need to take care to set aside their biases and be more effective
    > in presenting DH in a more impersonal way…less controversial?

    I expect that, to the degree that it is humanly possible, they try to allow for any biases of their own. Some of what are seen as biases, I think are just the passion for the possibilities. This passion has a strength that looks a lot like the strength of past oppressors, in my opinion.

    If there is genuine overstepping of boundaries, I expect that this is kind of a side trip on the individual’s personal journey… It’s more like they’re trying to facilitate exploration, than to tell you what you HAVE to do to be happy…

    Maybe you could explain more just where you see any fixed and persistent controversy from within the Deafhood supporters?

    Seems to me that everybody is too busy exploring and saying, “Hey, what about this?!?!?!?” to be too busy actively trying to oppress anybody. Maybe some idea works, and maybe it doesn’t, but it gets looked at and explored before the journey continues…

    Hope this makes some sense! Not trying to shut you down, but genuinely do not understand why people seem to be so… …afraid?

  • gamas

    Deafhood is a personal choice, I will agree. Can anyone decline deafhood? Sure, definitely! Personal choice means we can decline it.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Linda,

    Yes, what you said makes sense to me. But I do think that there are some people who DO tell us what we have to do, in order to accomplish self-actualization.

    That’s pretty much the key of why there’s such vehement disagreement between me, personally, with the Deafhood camp. There’s so much commanding going on, and so much labeling, so much emotive comments, that we all get off track and get mired into the emotional turmoil, instead of using logic, reason and what is universally held truths, to find our paths to understanding and self-actualization.

    Gamas,

    I’m not saying Deafhood is a personal choice. Being deaf is part of who you are. But you do decide what role and how significant that role is, in your identity.

  • Linda Slovick

    Anne Marie,

    > If we rather to be considered solely cultural language group,
    > we would need to be aligned to state and federal bilingual
    > programs with total assurance that anti-discrimination laws
    > are really effective and that all deaf/hoh babies are assured
    > of full language input supposedly signed language as mother
    > tongue.

    In Canada, and the E.U., there are laws protecting minority languages. Paddy Ladd, who wrote the Deafhood book is from Britain, where the deaf have argued for, and to some extent received similar “minority language” status.

    The World Federation of the Deaf supports the “minority language” status of natural signed languages.

    However, the U.S. barely acknowledges that languages other than English are commonly used, and what little assistance is provided to those whose home language is a minority language is designed to allow them to transition into fluency in the majority language.

    As even those of us who are late-deafened are coming to realize, if you can’t hear it, it doesn’t matter if you’re fluent in it, you need to use a language that works both ways if you ever want to communicate comfortably again. So, I feel that the “minority language” model for ASL, would be appropriate, but there is TOO LITTLE support for it in the underlying structure of U.S. law.

    You have put your finger on what I think is the REAL difference between Paddy Ladd’s Deafhood communities, and the ones we must try to envision for the U.S.

    The disability model doesn’t fit, and isn’t really all-the-way used right anyway. You will have to prove audiometric deafness each time you apply for Social Security, because, in between, you are no longer disabled. Or the classic examples of Deaf BART tickets and other transportation discounts, while still having to fight to get captions.

    But that’s currently where the money is for the hearing-centered model of how to be deaf.

    > Because of this, I knew we will always be both
    > conditional and cultural and it makes sense to see how
    > everyone should consolidate on every level as possible to bring
    > equilibrium into everything. Mutual respect and supporting each
    > others on common needs and goals are the key.

    YES!!!

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Responding to the comment made by Ms. Linda Slovick:

    Thank you for your time answering my questions.

    I would like to offer a counterpoint, if I may. This is not to put down you and your view. I enjoy this dialogue. It is just that not all of my questions were answered by the discussions that I read. Complete, lengthy Socratic method, or in more general term dialectic, is extremely difficult to accomplish through this kind of medium.

    Is it possible that Deafhood is just a social construct? What I mean by this is that a group of people who are usually culturally Deaf forms a concept called Deafhood that attempts to represent a phenomenon that they observe in all people who have deafness. Because this is a social construct, it is not as fixed as etched in stone. It is theoretically possible that this social construct may be discarded or may be replaced by other social construct in the future.

    Assuming that Deafhood is a social construct, it is possible for a deaf individual not to accept the social construct that is imposed on him or her by a group of people that adopts the concept of Deafhood. This is why I asked the original questions on whether a deaf person can decline Deafhood and can disconnect from Deafhood as one could disconnect from the Matrix.

    One way to prove that Deafhood is not a social construct is to show that Deafhood is an essence (according to the theory of essentialism). I am not completely convinced that Deafhood is an essence. I see it as a good social construct but not necessarily an essence.

    I welcome your response, as participants in dialectic or Socriate method would do.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  • gamas

    FYI, Russell’s claim isn’t hearsay anymore. There was a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) filed by Michelle which the Judge dismissed based on evidence from both sides.

    Detailed information obviously would be gotten from transcript which I do not have access to at this time. This link:

    http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/civilCaseSummary/index.asp?CaseType=Civil

    Will give you basic information, you will need to type in case number: VS019551 and hit “search” where you will see basic case information.

  • Karen Mayes

    Joseph,

    I am glad you brought it up… because Brance discussed it also under Nikki’s vlog…

    And I ask that you check out youtube… type jmhenner to find his vlogs. Check out his 2006 vlogs in which he discussed Deafhood as a product of social construction of deaf culture.

  • Karen Mayes

    Gamas,

    Thanks for more info. So… hmm… it’s a sad day, because of how Michele tried using the Deafhood card in the court in order to defame Russell, if I understand what Russell said.

    More reason why we need to separate personal biases from Deafhood concept.

  • Linda Slovick

    Joseph,

    Thank you for explaining your terms. I did not know those terms before.

    I remember Bernard Bragg suggesting that Deafhood would be better called “Deaf Essence” at the 2007 CAD Convention. And another Old Guard Deaf man from Florida (whose name escapes me) recently had an “aha” moment with Deafhood being “the Deaf Experience”.

    I believe that many who are already spiritual people will consider Deafhood as “essential”. Those who believe Deafhood is essential will often also tend believe that they were “meant to be” audiometrically deaf.

    Myself, I have tried to subscribe to a more “secular” form of Deafhood, mostly because I am a “meta-agnostic” (not sure if I am agnostic or not), and am not comfortable with ME claiming to know whether or not ANYTHING is meant to be (now DP will perhaps understand why I prefer physics to metaphysics!).

    I kind of treat Deafhood as Newton treated the Calculus. It would be another 100 years before the infinitesimal argument, so Newton did not know why calculus worked. He just gave the engineer’s explanation to the effect that we can use it as though it worked, because we have tried it and it does.

    That is, I guess I DO see Deafhood as a “social construct”, and very useful social construct at that, because if allows us to explore how other subaltern groups achieved better status through action, and what action did NOT work for them. We can then try to see how we might use this new knowledge to better our own lives.

    Seems, though, that this part only works for social groups. It is like individuals in a larger society pay a lot extra in energy and get less betterment of their lives for all that they must pour out.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I work in a hearing world job. It’s just not what I would do for fun if I didn’t have to…

    At least, that’s what I see at this point… Hope this make some sense!

  • Linda Slovick

    BTW, I DO like my job! I just also like my social life more now than before I could understand what people said in groups.

  • Linda Slovick

    Hi DP!

    I think I missed your comment before. The ideas are coming along FAST now! Had to catch up!

    You said:

    > But I do think that there are some people who DO tell us what
    > we have to do, in order to accomplish self-actualization.

    I would treat it as a passion for action… I think they are hoping to see anything other than the current confusion and apathy, so are trying to encourage us to go in pretty much any useful direction we can get enough people to go, cuz where we are statistically sucks for a LOT more “people who do not hear well in groups” than for the mainstream.

    > That’s pretty much the key of why there’s such vehement
    > disagreement between me, personally, with the Deafhood camp.
    > There’s so much commanding going on, and so much labeling,
    > so much emotive comments, that we all get off track and get
    > mired into the emotional turmoil, instead of using logic, reason
    > and what is universally held truths, to find our paths to
    > understanding and self-actualization.

    I don’t see the commanding. Honestly, I don’t. I see encouraging; I see vision and dreams, perhaps…

    I think people who know her recognize that Ella has always at least tried to work toward the long-term betterment of the greater deaf (however capitalized) community.

    Labelling, I agree with you. LOTS of that… And with all the different definitions, it’s impossible to know when a label is even intended as a compliment or an insult except by “already knowing” what that (kind of) person meant! Sparks around dynamite!

    For example,I genuinely don’t know how best to capitilize the word d/Deaf, and THERE’s a label we MUST use, no matter how much you would prefer to get rid of labels.

    I think there are so many different connotations now even to the English word “deaf”, that you have to guess which discourse the person subscribes to, then guess again which way they meant it that time.

    I REALLY like your early-on idea that we must define our premises. We might HAVE to define, “for the sake of my discussion, I am using the d/D convention”. or “the D-for-all” convention or “deaf because I don’t do culture” convention, or whatever.

    I probably haven’t been really good about forming premises (been thinking more free-form to get the ideas out at all), but will try to figure out how better to say things that way.

  • White Ghost

    Gamas!

    Your’e genius!

    Oh F**k and I have no idea how you obtain the link in California. In Fact, it’s not hearsay. TRO dismissed. It also stated Petition denied. I wish I could read the transcript. Hopefully Russell can provide the transcript somehow…..

  • p

    joseph – cha good question

    what r ur overall thoughts on it? not sure if u have read the book but some of the ethnographic testimony excerpts are marvelous

    Damned for their Differences: The Cultural Construction of Deaf People as Disabled, Silent Poetry: Deafness, Sign, and Visual Culture in Modern France, Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community, and Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign against Sign Language are also excellent text that help us see overlooked universalism of the colonization of Deaf folks (physically, mentally, linguistically, etc) individually and collectively

    ——–

    and why are we being called to call the court house and not the dept of justice about the falsehoods in the letter sent to the DoJ – u know the statement “We know for a fact that ‘hard of hearing’ term is no longer in the by-laws.” WHICH IS A TOTAL UNTRUTH AS THE WORDS HARD OF HEARING APPEAR E-L-E-V-E-N times in the CAD bylaws and Deafhood appears while Deafhood (that naughty naughty undictionaried word, concept, theory, construct, essense – vhatever thingy) only appears F-I-V-E times.
    Disability appears T-H-R-E-E times in the bylaws and deafness appears T-H-R-E-E times in the bylaws. The word deaf in the document many times as lower case “d” deaf

    so again the evidence that there is some GREAT DEAFHOOD CONSPIRACY to exclude and omit – just isnt holding up at all as:
    1. they do included hard of hearing – throughout the document despite the false FACT sent to the D o J
    2. they recognize hearing disabilities
    3. they recognized lower case d – for deaf
    4. no one has been shown the door for not being Deaf enuf in CAD since the “lions, and tigers, and bears – oh no Deafhood” word was added

    its been there for 4 years folks – doing what it was intended to do – have an organization that recognizes some folks see themselves as disabled while others see themselves ad a cultural linguistic group and all have the right to have EQUAL rights and that is what CAD is for

    the whole open letter and accusations are unjust – plan and simple

    if folks want to expand their ring of defense from the primary false accuser to encircle Russel as well – tread carefully. The protection u grant them now they may soon use if and when they decide to target u

    these are strange days folks

    re: 39 DP – i have seen folks in the other camp make pretty commanding and judgmental statements of how someone should or should not conduct themselves in the past – i dont think its solely from the “Deafhood camp” as u call it

    And i really havent seen any Deafhood camp but if anyone knows of one – let me know, i might just pitch a tent.

    peace

    patti

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Patti, now we’re playing semantics over the word camp. You’re an intelligent woman. You know what I meant.

    Peace.

  • p

    oh gosh – u know i was just playing off the word camp with my tent comment

    thank u for the “intelligent woman” compliment though

    seriously i have not seen a Deafhood camp yet – in the figurative sense that u meant it

    so im sorry if my playing at the end seemed like a slight

    if u feel there is a Deafhood camp – so be it. does that mean there is a anti-Deafhood camp or a pro-deafness camp? and do they not at times engage in less than comely conduct?

    would that we could all be less threatened and look for the good, challenge the bad and always remember to be glad

    peace

    patti

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Patti,

    Yeah, I do feel that there are at least two camps, unfortunately. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    A good example of that is FloridaGirl over on John Egbert’s blog, where she criticized me, Amy and MishkaZena. So yeah. I’m glad you didn’t mean it as a slight. So thanks for the clarification.

  • gamas

    Deafhood….deaf essence….

    It’s interesting how those that are not deaf of deaf tends to over analyze their deaf experience. I guess it is natural that they do. I take my deaf being for granted. Like many deaf people, I work in the hearing environment. We all know how life is in the world at large and for the most part we do get along and do well in that world.

    I do acknowledge that there is an experience that deaf people similarly experience, that itself is “Deaf Culture” Deaf Culture would define the many deaf experience we all have. Many will find that before they were immersed in the actual deaf culture, the experiences (not all) mirrors the experience they had from the onset of their being deaf. Deaf culture marker is kind of inane, if you will….I think so. Comes with the territory.

    Another word that I tend to use from time to time is not one that I invented but one that was part of a large event years ago. Deaf way.

    When something happens and its similarities shows its true face, I tend to say that’s “Deaf way”. For example, growing up in a deaf household, deaf people tend to some how merge into the kitchen. It’s always been a place where deaf people end up. That’s deaf way. Even with company over in another part of the house, one can find missing people in the kitchen. Look no further! Check out the kitchen! Deaf way.

    Another example would be banging on table, or stomping the ground to get another person’s attention…deaf way and it is part of the deaf culture.

  • kim

    You know, Gamas– many have asked about deaf culture (and I mean little d, not big), and I laughed when you said banging on the table, stamping on the ground to get attention was common to Deaf culture, because it’s the same with the deaf. We also tend to gather where you can sit around a table and talk face to face in a well-lit space. Kitchen sounds good. 🙂 I don’t really care if someone wants to use the diminuative d or the big D. I have to say I find it a bit offensive, but not sure how to clarify one from the other. I agree it should be clarified. Perhaps Dianrez’s idea of ASL-deaf vs non-ASL deaf, but lots of deaf use ASL even if they aren’t fluent. A combination of voice and sign is more typical though. I really do not understand all this hullaballo about Deafhood. I just want everyone to get along.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Banging on the table, or stomping on the ground is not a Deaf culture thing. Like Kim said, it’s just something that deaf people do, regardless of what culture they belong to.

    Gamas, I am wondering what your definition of culture is?

  • kim

    I don’t mean to be contrary, but I have seen arguments for and against Deaf culture. Deaf Americans are still very American since we share a history, eat the same food, celebrate the same holidays and even appreciate the same music– though differently. I’m not an anthropologist so not arguing against Deaf culture exactly, but it does seem kind of murky. There are definitely some Deaf behaviors that are culturally different from the rest of us and I guess you would see these same behaviors among international Deaf. But I could also say the same is true for deaf/HH. We do behave a certain weird way that’s hard to put a finger on when together. We share customs that cross all cultural barriers. I will tell you that I can recognize someone who is HH/deaf just by watching them. It sometimes seems like I have a sixth sense about HH/deaf people.

    Then again, you could say the same for Buddhists who always serve decaffeinated tea after meditation, and analyze everything to death. Is Buddhism a culture, a religion, or philosphy? Or all three? I don’t know. When people speak of Deafhood it almost seems like it’s more of a philosophy of life, rather than a culture– a philosophy shared by many, but not all. And you see the same kinds of rifts in any group of people. Even Buddhists. Some meditate one way, some a different way. Some may claim that their way is more ‘pure’ while others believe meditation is purely individual– and this Deafhood argument almost sounds like the same debate.

  • Can Someone on Disability Be Self-Actualized? « Face me, I read lips

    […] answering here as it seems off-subject and overly long to post in DP’s blog. On a personal level it wasn’t until I began seeing my hearing loss as a […]

  • gamas

    DP,

    It’s a way of life, behaviors, social norms, beliefs, etc.

    Another example would be at social events, when it’s time to close down, deaf people tend to stay on longer and continue to mingle when it’s really time to get out of the building. Communication and keeping people informed is another trait of deaf culture. Deaf people tend to always have to explain things, why they’re late. Oh…in DVTV, you see the same thing too…they have to explain stuffs that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Oh, and HOW rude they can be, they ask personal questions that is none of their business…yup…that’s another one. Behaviors and way of life.

    Not surprising that even a late deafened person would pick up that certain behavior that is related to hearing loss such as banging on a table, etc.

    There’s more to deaf culture than that…there’s this social thing….deaf clubs, sports events, etc etc etc.

    My family is deaf, I have been part of the deaf culture within a big city.

    Some people would say that deaf culture also has a belief that oral deaf or CI does not belong, but I disagree. That is why I always say that deaf culture is evolving, and from what I can remember as a child, it is way different these days. Which is why some deaf people will say that deaf culture is dying, but I think it is evolving.

    I have not studied deaf culture. I lived it. Am still living it. That’s all I’ll have to say on this.

  • gamas

    Also, does anyone know the history of d/D??? Do you know how many times that definition have changed over the years??? Big D didn’t used to mean culturally deaf, not in the beginning, it didn’t. Hence, the reason why I don’t bother with it. I follow the English rule.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    The 2nd post in my blog series is up. Enjoy reading… hopefully it’s not TOO technical for some of you.

  • gamas

    Kim,

    There have been difficulties in defining deaf cultures due to different levels of deaf identity, in past there were no ASL/deaf culture curriculum, different educational background among the deaf and obviously: 90 percent of deaf are from hearing families.

    So, how does one search for an example? More likely those that are deaf of deaf, deaf people in residential schools, and perhaps deaf in mainstream. Late deafened wouldn’t be used as a model…however, I do notice they do pick up similar patterns in behaviors. Attention getting behavior is considered a small part of deaf culture behaviors and while DP obviously does not agree, I am not going to argue. I know what I know. Do hearing people flicker their lights? And, what happens when deaf people try to get attention of other people in a room when lights fails (yes, deaf people tend to ignore that…conversation with others takes precedent 🙂 ) so, the resort to floor or table pounding. One more thing, hugging is a big thing, even among people one never meets. Not all deaf people do that, but it is pretty common. I forgot how that was until I started to work for a deaf company where I had to meet deaf customers, and it all came back when the deaf person moved forward to hug me. Wow, it just brought back what I forgot after working in the hearing world for so long. We’re not talking about hugging by people we know but deaf people tend to be very affectionate with other “new” deaf (that they never met before) that they “approve” and see to be acceptance or validation of being part of the deaf culture.

    I hope I’m not going off topic, but…I think I am, so…am sorry for that.

    Why do we need deafhood when we can discuss and analyze deaf culture and deaf identity in that vein? Everyone has their own deaf culture experience. I have noticed that deaf from mainstream is taking a hold of the deaf community more so than ever before and from what I know in this one big city, the dods seems to be ok with it, a lesson learned was that we needed younger people to become leaders and take place of the older deaf generation. They had to welcome the deaf mainstream product deaf people in order to keep deaf clubs alive. In that city, there used to be so many deaf clubs but now the numbers have cut in half or more. Many mainstream deaf people and their way of deaf life and behaviors have changed the face of deaf culture. We also have more deaf with cochlear implants that are part of the deaf culture too. Definitely evolving. If deaf of deaf rejects them, then deaf culture will dwindle and die. It is clear as sky.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Gamas, no, you’re not going off topic. In fact, I think I’m starting to understand your point better, and I do see common ground where we agree.

  • Jean Boutcher

    Deaf Pundity wrote:

    “I’m not saying Deafhood is a personal choice. Being deaf is part of who you are. But you do decide what role and how significant that role is, in your identity.”

    Good exegsis!

  • Linda Slovick

    Jean,

    I thought it was a really good way to say things, too, but your way, I get to learn a new word that fits more exactly!

    Kim, sometimes I see you being more cautious now… I can understand it given the world around us, but please don’t feel cautious for my sake. I will most certainly ask if I feel there is some difference, and prefer our current discussions where misunderstanding may be assumed before malice!!!

    DP, I have only read through the new posting once, and have not yet followed the links and though about it enough to respond, but please know, I’m smiling through my work today knowing I have some “goodies” to learn as soon as I get a break!

    This is fun! – Later!

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Jean, thanks. 🙂

    Linda, I think this is fun too!

    I really, really hope this kind of dialogue continues on here, and spreads to the other v/blogs. It is so sorely needed.

  • Informal Comparison/Contrast of Deaf culture to deaf culture « Face me, I read lips

    […] | Tags: deaf vs Deaf culture | Leave a Comment  OK– Again I’m referring back to DP’s blog on the Red Pill, and I hate to keep piggy-backing off her, but several good discussions are coming […]

  • kim

    Linda,
    If I’m cautious it’s because my goal is understanding. It seems the more I learn, the less I feel I know.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Kim,

    That sounds like what Socrates said: The only thing I know, is that I know nothing.

    😉

  • Hilda

    Very interesting dialogue! I thought I was going to read Dan Brown’s best sellers THE SYMBOL tonight, but I ended up reading this long but worthwhile dialogue instead. I look forward to reading your next post. Thanks for sharing…

    Jean and Karen — Thanks for drawing my attention to this blog. I’m really out of the
    loop!

  • Linda Slovick

    DP,

    > I can identify one source of our disagreement. Deafhood is NOT
    > something that is at the community level. It is solely at the personal
    > level. If you read Ladd’s definition of Deafhood, it says nothing
    > about community. It’s all about the person and the person’s
    > processing of his/her identity.

    We do disagree, but I believe you also disagree with Ladd about the importance of communities (note the plural) for deaf. Chapter 1 of his book is titled “Communities”.

    Other than that one quick thing, I am still thinking about all that has been said recently, but am still mulling it all over in my head.

    Hi Kim! – My friend Margaret told me that when the ball of learning gets bigger, so does the surface… Where you can SEE how much you don’t know… So I guess it’s a good sign! 😉

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Sorry for being late. I am going to respond to three comments within this single comment, rather than spreading them over three separate comments.

    Ms. Karen Mayes’ comment (#43): Thank you very much for informing me of the video comment made by Brance and videos made by jmhenner. They did a good job in explaining what is social construct and subjectivism. I notice that some of your comments (in text and video) touched on how people can see different things on a subject. I share the same position, at least from my perspective. 🙂

    Ms. Linda Slovick’s comment (#45): I am pleased to see that you learn something new about social construct. This is a very important philosophy that changed the way the field of sociology is being done. How the scholars conduct studies on people is usually affected by their philosophies.

    Social constructs have huge influence on how we live and think. A good example is the social constructs on women. For thousands of years until recent times, too many societies created their social constructs where women are treated as the properties of men and are treated as inferior to men. Now, these social constructs are being replaced by better (from my view) constructs where women are no longer treated as the properties and are no longer treated as inferior to men.

    This is also true for people with disabilities. It was only recent times that the people with disabilities are gaining more independence and commanding respect from the society, thanks to the changing social constructs.

    Along with the social constructs, there are also individual constructs. Very rarely, few of these individual constructs eventually become social constructs. The idea that all people are equal started with very few people’s individual constructs few centuries ago. These people disagreed with the dominant social constructs where there are different classes for people (i.e. feudal society). It was only many years later, that a society (like the U.S.) started to adopt one of their individual social constructs. Your example of calculus is good and shows how a new paradigm can be developed over a very long period of time.

    Yet, it is important to understand that social construct is not the only one way to use. There are other philosophies that have different understanding on people. So, it does not surprise me that those who support Deafhood may not accept social construct. They may insist that Deafhood is the truth. This is understandable. I am not going to force them to accept social construct. I have to learn to let them be what they want to be and learn how to co-exist with them by developing my tolerance for them.

    Ms. Patti Durr’s comment (#49): My current thinking is that Deafhood is merely a social construct. Given that it is a social construct, the deaf individuals can choose to decline or reject it for a better or different individual or social construct. But, the other deaf individuals can choose to adopt Deafhood if they incline to do so. I do recognize the positive merits in Deafhood but my current thinking is that just because a person is deaf, it is not necessarily that he or she goes through the process of Deafhood.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

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