The Audism Revolutions: Freedom

 

For those who haven’t taken the red pill or seen the Matrix, please see my two previous posts here and here.

Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” – Morpheus, The Matrix

This quote was in response to Neo declaring he didn’t believe in fate because he didn’t like the idea of not being in control of his life. As deaf human beings, some of us have that splinter in our minds. But what is it, exactly?

*leans in close and whispers* That splinter in our minds is … audism.

The flawed schema and social construct imposed upon us by human beings who share the notion that deaf human beings are not equal to hearing human beings, and thus are treated accordingly.

Flawed schemata are essentially known as stereotypes and they are generally defined as “unreliable, exaggerated generalizations about all members of a group that do not take individual differences into account” (pg. 18, Schaefer). Keep in mind stereotypes can be both positive and negative. What we term as a negative stereotype is called a prejudice. *looks back and forth at audism and prejudice, then nods*

By acting upon our prejudices, this leads to what is called discrimination. “The behavior that deprives individuals and a group of certain rights and/or opportunities because of prejudice or for other arbitrary reasons” (pg 41, Schaefer). This can be on an individual basis, or on a collective basis.

When enough people share a schema, this turns into a social construct, which is necessary for a culture to exist. Let me break it down even further: individual thoughts can lead to collective thoughts, which in turn becomes part of a culture. And since thought typically leads to behavior, this means members of a culture will behave similarly.

Generally, this isn’t bad but it can lead to problems, like Morpheus explains in the first film, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

In short, it’s a feedback loop. Audism → institutionalized audism → internalized audism.

And if one resists the attempt to internalize audism and it in general, they become like Trinity, Morpheus and the others in the Matrix movies. The freedom fighters for the deaf people, to destroy the idea that deaf are inferior to the hearing. But just how do we destroy audism, and how do we become like Neo, the best freedom fighter of them all?

One key aspect of what made Neo the way he was, is that he understood the Matrix so well that he was able to look at a program and understand how it was constructed. Trinity, Morpheus and the others could do this, but only up to a point. But what made him able to understand the Matrix so well? The first answer is that he knew the programming language of the Matrix. Remember, he was one of the best hackers out there, and that is one of the main reasons why Morpheus contacted him. But despite being one of the best hackers out there, he still struggled to discover the full extent of his abilities.

A main portion of the film is us watching Neo discover the extent of his abilities, and starting to truly believe in himself. There are extraordinary moments where we catch glimpses of his abilities, such as the now infamous bullet-time sequence on the helicopter pad when he goes to rescue Morpheus. But it wasn’t until the end of the first film that Neo was finally able to do this.

In other words, Neo self-actualized. The brief definition of self-actualization is to fully realizeyour potential, as I mentioned in my first blog post, but this doesn’t give a full picture of the concept. So, let’s look at Maslow’s concepMaslow's Hierarchy of Needst of self-actualization – see right for the image of the pyramid showing the hierarchy of needs. Two things happened nearly simultaneously for Neo at the end of the film. He finally believed in himself, therefore gaining the needed self-esteem, and found love and belonging when Trinity told him that she loved him.

When this happened, it led to several things – instead of denying the truth, he accepted it and ultimately, himself. Neo also stopped his prejudices from controlling him. This is significant, because he serves as an example of how even among the best of us, we can and do hold prejudices against our oppressors, and that is one major reason of what holds us back.

*leans in close and whispers with a nod* Reverse audism.

Mahatma Gandhi understood this, and this is what he meant when he declared that we had to be the change we wished to see in the world.

Now, the problem of reverse audism is also compounded by what I call reverse horizontal audism, and this is also illustrated well in the last two films of the Matrix Trilogy. In the Matrix Reloaded film, we meet Commander Lock, who is a natural born – born in Zion, the last bastion of free humans, therefore he does not have a jack in the back of his head. Lock doesn’t understand the Matrix as well as those who were born into the Matrix. He’s also quite prejudiced against Morpheus and his allies because of two main reasons: Morpheus is not natural born like Lock is, and Morpheus repeatedly flouts Zion’s rules.

*looks around innocently* I don’t know about you, but this sure does seem familiar….

Fortunately, there are wiser heads who prevail and allows Morpheus and Neo to proceed on their mission, overruling Commander Lock’s objections and wishes to take the fight completely outside of the Matrix. Because of this, ultimately, Neo and the artificial intelligence reach somewhat of a truce, because Neo’s arch-nemesis, Agent Smith (which is what we could consider to be institutional audism) is such on a rampage that he threatens to take down both the artificial intelligence and the humans. So, Neo successfully takes down Agent Smith, and both intelligences live in somewhat of a peaceful co-existence afterwards.

They finally came to the realization that neither one could exist without the other.

So what does this mean for us? *puts on sunglasses* I think it means you have to know thyself, and of course …

FREE YOUR MIND!

—-

Acknowledgments: I wish to thank MishkaZena and Amy Cohen Efron for the countless hours of dialectic explorations into Deaf Culture, American Sign Language, the psychology of oppression, and Deafhood. And of course, I wish to thank all of the commenters who stop by my blog, especially those who respectfully disagree with me, thereby forcing me to understand my principles and point of views better. This would not have been possible without you. 🙂

References:

Racial & Ethnic Groups, 11th Ed. Richard Schaefer, DePaul University. 2008.
The Matrix, 1999.

The Matrix Reloaded, 2003.

The Matrix Revolutions, 2003.
Wikipedia: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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

37 responses to “The Audism Revolutions: Freedom

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Please keep in mind these guidelines when we discuss this blog post. Thanks!

    https://deafpundit.wordpress.com/communication-ethics/

  • Don G.

    Maybe I’m not thinking that well today, but can you make explicit what you are comparing Lock and his natural bornness and his prejudice to Morpheus et al. to?

  • A Deaf Pundit

    I would prefer not to name names, since that would defeat the purpose of this blog post. But I’m sure you can think of a few examples if you really think about it. 🙂 I also have to add that pointing fingers unless absolutely necessary, isn’t quite in the spirit of compassion and loving yourself and others.

  • kim

    DP,
    These past few days I’ve been at the ALDACon. I’ve been thinking alot about the matrix and some of the things you’ve said, as well similar thoughts expressed by some of the speakers. I like the way you have used the Matrix symbolism to illustrate your points. I am still digesting all I have learned. ALDA’s slogan, “Lost my hearing. Found a family” expresses really well what many late-deafened feel.

    I’m pretty sure our karaoke party shattered deaf stereotypes the hearing staff at the hotel may have had prior to our party. I saw some of them peeking in.

  • Anne Marie

    Maslow’s concept of self acutualization has always been one of my favorite theories. I mentioned that in my initial discussion about Deafhood in year 2006 on a temporary site. At that time and still to nowadays, we are still hovering in that level “Esteem”, self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect by others. I rather simplify these terms “respect” to more of “mutual understanding for others and by others”. Still..because of only small groups of extreme sides, simply put. Their attitude matrixized everywhere to the point it gets really ridiculously overblown.
    .

  • A Deaf Pundit

    *grins at Kim* That’s awesome about the karaoke! I hope you share your thoughts after you have digested them. 🙂

    Anne Marie, yup. I agree with you – many of us are either hovering at the love/belonging or esteem level. Mutual understanding is a great way to describe … I also like the word reciprocity.

  • Anne Marie

    Kim, we’re deconstructing illusions seemingly springing all over again and again until there is no longer matrix mirrors.

    One difficult concept about deconstructing self is to getting to the core of self supposed to be source of all illusions. I keep on thinking how and what is it in me that keeps enabling audism or do we wait back for the world to change or if we change will the world finally change? This is what I am still hovering here.. : )

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Anne Marie,

    I think if we change, the world will finally follow suit. Like Gandhi’s quote I mentioned in my blog post. MLK Jr. also said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    This means if we are prejudiced against the hearing, and discriminate based on our prejudices – admittedly, it’s hard NOT to be prejudiced against the hearing after all of the abuse at their hands… our prejudices just feeds into THEIR prejudices, and vice versa.

  • Ann_C

    “This means if we are prejudiced against the hearing, and discriminate based on our prejudices-…”

    “I think if we change, the world will finally follow suit.”

    Interesting take, that we d/Deaf have prejudices against the hearing and discriminate against same. Some in Deaf culture would probably differ with you in this respect, as they would say it’s the other way ’round. That is, the hearing are prejudiced against the deaf, but that we d/Deaf martyrs are not prejudiced, but the victims of prejudice. Victim language actually contributes to the prejudice, the victim’s prejudice against the oppressor. Hate vs. hate.

    I think some people fail to see that this prejudice is a cyclical phenomenon as in the example of racism: white supremists regard themselves as a better race than blacks, blacks in turn call whites “honkies”and oppressors of their race, and whites in turn roll their eyes at Affirmative Action programs for blacks, blacks in turn complain of white privilege, and on it goes.

    It takes just one person to stop the cycle of prejudice and violence with his example. And the rest is history. Such was Gandhi. And MLK, Jr emulated Gandhi’s example.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    I think many of us, if not most, are both victims of prejudice, and are prejudiced. We just don’t want to admit that we *are* prejudiced. Who likes to? It takes intense soul searching to realize that in fact, you are.

    One one key concept that I agree with you 100% on: we need to stop viewing ourselves as victims. That will go a long way, definitely.

  • anon

    DeafPundit, since you like quotes, here is one:

    When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent
    human misery rather than avenge it? -Eleanor Roosevelt

  • kim

    First of all, it’s important to realize that ALL people hold stereotypes– not just deaf, not just hearing. ALL. I have mentioned that part of the late-deafened process is coming to terms with identity shift. (sigh) Part of the problem is the stereotypes we have of Deaf, and to suddently realize. . . wait a minute here. . .but I am deaf. . .but I can’t be because I am not like them. . . but I am because I’m like THEM. . .but I’m hearing, . . no I’m not. . .because I’m not like hearing people. . .This is a really HUGE shift. Anyway, eventually you come to the realization that people are people whether deaf or hearing, because I am the same ME I always was, except that I can’t hear anymore.

    This is where I would like to ask every Deaf person to imagine what it would be like if they woke up hearing tomorrow morning, but unable to sign. Trust me, you wouldn’t understand speech immediately because you would have to learn to make sense of that sound. Your entire world tilts as you learn to use your brain differently.

    OK– so there is not only hearing and Deaf stereotypes, but tonight I ran across a vlog where someone stereotyped deaf, and I wanted to write back to say, “but we aren’t like that. . .” And then I realized that I have said things that stereotyped Deaf before. But I know you can’t fit everyone from one group neatly into the same box. But we all do it.

  • kim

    I also wanted to discuss how we change others’ perceptions. In Buddhism you are taught to work on yourself first. I have spent months practicing a specific metta centered on self. The main idea is you can’t learn to be compassionate towards others until you adopt compassion towards self. In the case of Deaf, that means it starts with self-love, then extends to love of other other Deaf and deaf and HH and finally hearing.

    I’ve also been thinking about young women and self-esteem. Women have earned their respect by rising above the stereotype. They have changed the world’s perception of them in just a few decades. Education is key, not only for deaf/Deaf, but also for hearing. When I was a young girl it was very much a man’s world. My generation changed things gradually by being better than men. Women are still under paid, but I think my daughter’s generation will see more equality.

    Equality for the D/deaf can happen but it won’t be given to us. We have to take it.

  • Mel

    Good morning, too good not to say a few words. Great write-up, DP.

    I also want to say that I’d dare say that almost none of us are free of prejudice.

    The teacher gave us a private personal prejudice test that did not require to be turned in but it was up to us to acknowledge them and understanding how prejudiced we were.

    I was shocked to find out that I was; although not too much but still disturbing nonetheless. Like you said, it takes soul searching and constant acknowledging what you are doing – your thoughts and words. Always.

  • Linda Slovick

    For some people, it helps to reframe “victim” into “survivor”.

    That emphasizes that the person not only went through bad things, but that they came out the other side, and therefore are strong enough to face the uncertain future that might include similar bad things….

    Still thinking about the whole Matrix metaphor… So far, I keep coming back to its usefulness to both “camps”. That is, Deafhood could be seen as the Red Pill freeing one from the Matrix, or (as I think YOU intend), Deafhood could be seen as yet another structure that must be demolished so that the individual can be seen to be seen to be of primary importance.

    Gamas pointed me at John Egbert’s old post talking about “deficit thinkers”. In the matrix metaphor, I could see a similar accusation that one’s opponents (on EITHER SIDE!) could be dismissed as being “still stuck in the Matrix”.

    To me, such an overly-flexible accusation is especially disturbing, because, by definition, the person stuck in the Matrix cannot perceive their imprisonment, hence has no real ability to respond, “No, I’m not! It is YOU who are still misperceiving things! Therefore, it is YOU who are still stuck in the Matrix!”

    I did think the sunglass thing at the end was ever so cool, tho!

    Still thinking, but wanted to share where my thoughts seem to be going on this…

    – Linda

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Linda,

    I agree. It is far better to consider yourself as a survivor than a victim. It is more freeing that way. If you consider yourself a victim, then where can you go? You can’t see a way to escape. For those who don’t know ASL, the sign for victim is often the same sign for stuck, and survivor is also the sign for life. So I think that’s quite fitting… 🙂

    As for Deafhood, I think it’s a great concept, but it’s a bit limited in the sense that it doesn’t recognize two things: One is that we can be prejudiced against the hearing, and we need to overcome that. Secondly, in order to self-actualize, you need to recognize and overcome *all* of your own prejudices, and not allow others’ prejudices to control you.

    For example, we have other prejudices against other groups as well. Gays, atheists, blacks, Latinos… you name it.

    Back to Deafhood .. for it to happen, we do definitely need to look at our own prejudices about the d/Deaf, *and* the hearing. I personally have prejudices against the hearing, and for some d/Deaf. I do admit that, and that’s something I’m working on everyday.

    So, I don’t think it’s very honest for us as a people, to deny there’s prejudice against the hearing. That needs to be recognized and worked on, just like the hearing’s prejudice against us.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    And btw, thanks for the sunglasses comment. *grins impishly*

  • anon

    Here’s another quote:

    “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

  • ireflections09

    “There are better things to do than call another d/Deaf person’s or d/Deaf organization’s efforts as “audism”. Before attacking another d/Deaf person or organization, realize that none of us ain’t perfect either and have work on ourselves to do. That’s truly our bigger fish to fry.”

    The above quote is the last paragraph from my “Bigger Fish to Fry” blog article. Anon’s above quote about “…no one thinks of changing himself” is also relevant.

    Ann_C

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Ann_C,

    I agree it’s a waste of time to label someone or an organization something. I consider that generally to be emotional violence.

    BUT – the other reason why I think it’s a waste of time is because it doesn’t help them understand what’s the problem. We need to engage into a dialogue with them, and explain how and why what’s taking place is wrong.

    We do absolutely have to look inwards, and recognize our flaws and work on ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we should sit back and allow others to impose their will on us without our consent.

  • Ann_C

    Having work on ourselves to do doesn’t mean being passive. When one works on oneself, one is trying to set an example for his family, friends, work colleagues, and the deaf organizations he associates with as well.

    Setting an example is taking action from within instead of just talking about or criticizing others’ actions, audistic or not. Criticism is the vinegar that repels. When others see you and your deaf organization doing their part to solve a problem and succeeding at it, other organizations are going to want to know what your organization is doing so well and want to do joint efforts on mutual goals. Setting the example and following the mission of your organization are honey that attracts. Only you can allow others to impose their will on you… or not. It’s a choice.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Ann_C,

    Thanks for the clarification. I agree with what you said. However, there are instances where people do impose their will on you even when you don’t allow them to.

    An example: Netflix. They are denying the Deaf Community equal access to their online videos by refusing to caption them. We need to fight Netflix on this – obviously not by going off half-cocked and calling them names and such. But by pointing out how this is discriminatory, and promotes the concept that the deaf and hard of hearing are not as worthy as hearing persons.

    Another example: A doctor refusing to provide an interpreter or other forms of effective communication access. He is imposing his will upon you when he does that.

    Those two examples are prejudiced discrimination, and we do need to criticize these actions in an appropriate way.

    Now the question is, when someone says something prejudiced to you, like that guy did to Kim (see comment #45 on the previous post to see what I’m talking about) does that impose upon your will? Generally, the answer is no. They are *trying to* … and it is at that point where it’s YOU who decides whether to allow them to or not.

    I think it’s important to make that distinction, because I think that’s where the confusion and conflict between me with others like Linda.

  • Tayler

    I read your post and the first few comments on my pager while I was in D.C. (curious about posts on Hurwitz). I’ve not read the new comments since then, but wanted to stop by and tell you that this is a really great post! When I was reading it, I wanted to say “HEAVY THINK!” 🙂

  • A Deaf Pundit

    *laughs!* Thanks, Tayler. 🙂

  • handeyes

    Deaf Pundit

    ive read ur red pill / matrix framing non-framing framework – smile

    i think i need a pill – seriously i cant follow it much not due to any fault of ur own

    its just that:
    1. im a pacifist and i really couldnt want the full Matrix fill – is very violent for me
    yes i know its fiction but i like the 4 agreements – totec traditions and they caution us about what we feed our brain can really shape our “reality” so i really dont watch violent stuff

    2. its pretty science fiction stuff – fiction being the operative word

    i did get the overall meaning of things being illusions etc and i did like the topsy turvey stuff about what is reality and what is illusions etc etc

    i think me feet r to firmly planted on the ground (or is it really the ground?)

    things i know to be true and thus real – hearing babies are provided with accessible language via the spoken word or sign language from the time of birth (unless they are Victor of Aveyon or Genie of LA) and that is basically a birth right

    to me that is as kindred to Maslow’s physiological needs as is air or water

    LANGUAGE – humans – in order to have their full humaness need to be socialized with other humans and in order to UNLOCK the rules of language – they gotta be introduced to language before the critical period (3-5 years depends on who u talk to)

    Victor and Genie proved this

    so dont Deaf babies deserve the same right to have a FULLY natural and accessible language so they can move up the pyramid?

    re: self-actualization – my understanding is its a rare lass or lad who can achieve it. Gandhi MLK Jr are cited as the prime examples of self-actualization. Deafhood is not gonna get me there – its gonna get me alot closer but what is gonna get any of us full self-actualization is a complete selflessness

    a deep and profound and REAL love of the oppressor that we will challenge them directly, peacefully, and endlessly

    very few of us believe in social justice for all to the extent that Gandhi and MLK Jr did

    MLK jr often said – we have to shame folks into doing the right thing

    its a shame but necessary

    i thank u for wondering about all this stuff and for sharing ur thoughts.

    much peace

    patti

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Hi Patti!

    Yeah. I do think that we need to emphasize on the very simple fact that it apparently is okay for hearing babies to learn sign, but not for deaf babies.

    I think if enough of us repeat that simple but profound message, the world will listen.

  • Linda Slovick

    > Yeah. I do think that we need to emphasize on the very simple fact that it
    > apparently is okay for hearing babies to learn sign, but not for deaf babies.

    And with that we come the full circle, with a brief, but hopeful moment of agreement between Deaf Pundit and John Egbert… 🙂

  • A Deaf Pundit

    *grins at Linda* He and I DO agree on that. That part was never in question. 🙂

  • kim

    I also believe deaf babies deserve a language from day one. All babies need a language from the beginning. That’s a no-brainer.

    As to your comment #22. DP– I find most people who make stupid audistic comments regarding my hearing are basically just very angry people who carry around a lot of negative energy. They try to project it onto those who are easily targeted. If it wasn’t my hearing loss, he probably would have targeted my weight. That’s just the way it is. I don’t believe most hearing people are audists to that degree, though I do feel there is a lot of misinformation out there about deaf and Deaf people.

    Secondly, here’s the thing. Many so-called ‘normal’ people are what I think of as unenlightened. When you have suffered a loss of some kind, you often move into a different phase of enlightenment depending on whether it was possible to overcome your grief.

    I also think many ASL Deaf reach this heightened stage of enlightenment due to never actually being considered ‘normal’ in the first-place. They may not realize their loss consciously, but it’s in their subconscious. Their normal is different and I believe many of them may grieve during childhood for the isolation caused by lack of friends and family interaction. But most get it out of the way, and eventually actualize, because they’ve been given the gift of enlightenment.

    Simply put– we all know things the others don’t know whether deaf or Deaf. What we know is a riddle. No one is normal and everyone is normal. Normal is temporary, and a fantasy. After you break the mold, you’re free to be who you are. Most ‘normal’ people are so afraid of being seen as abnormal that they are never truly free to be themselves, and they are frightened to do anything perceived as abnormal. It’s like having a great big chain and ball. You have no excuse to act different.

    So back to hearing people who make audistic comments. . .THOSE people are often angry over some other type of loss. Anger is a reaction to fear, which is a reaction to insecurity. I can get beyond that by realizing the problem is within THEIR personal matrixes. Not mine.

    We don’t have to internalize, label or even waste our time thinking about it so much.

    Let’s aim to educate those who are less angry.

  • WAD

    Your excellent trilogy blog reminds me of one topic from a book I read. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink!”, he discussed about how our mind works especially with first impression. The author covered Harvard Implicit Association Test. It’s an interesting test to measure our brain’s “decision making” and attitude toward cultural stereotypes and self-identity. I would like for Neo to take this test. (hee hee)

  • A Deaf Pundit

    You make an excellent point, Kim, and I think that’s something more of us need to understand. Because we do need to know when to just walk away from the person. Frequently, it’s just not productive at all to try to engage in a dialogue with a person like that.

    However, I do believe that sometimes they should be called out on it. It really depends on the situation, though. A judgment call, and that’s a hard thing for many people because oftentimes, it’s hard to know what to say, if anything at all, in those situations.

    Especially in the Deaf Community, where communication is SO important. It can be counter-intuitive for some, to just stare at jerks like that then walk away. So that’s something we need to look at and discuss a bit more, in my humble opinion.

    And absolutely, our main focus should be on educating those who are less angry. No doubt about that.

    So now, the question becomes, how exactly do we go about with our educational efforts? 🙂

  • Linda Slovick

    Kim says:

    > I also think many ASL Deaf reach this heightened stage of
    > enlightenment due to never actually being considered ‘normal’
    > in the first-place. They may not realize their loss consciously,
    > but it’s in their subconscious.

    Since I’m late-deafened, too, I’ve also thought about this… I feel that late-deafened are often handicapped by their grief, because for us it IS a hearing LOSS.

    For the 90+% of those early-deaf born to hearing parents, grieving very similar to that we late-deafened go through is not done directly by the deaf person; there really is nothing so directly lost to the deaf child!

    The grieving is done by the hearing parents, who have lost the child they imagined, and do not start out having a healthy image to replace the lost child with.

    How the hearing parents handle this grief, while their deaf baby is learning about the world around him or her, will determine a lot of how “broken” the child grows up feeling.

    That’s my crackpot theory of the whole thing, anyway… 😉

    – Linda

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Nah, that’s not a crackpot theory at all, Linda.

    You just emphasized a point that I was making in my blog series. 🙂

    Social reality is important because it has an effect on how the individual will perceive themselves, and if enough individuals share a similar perspective, it becomes a social reality. It’s a loop.

    If parents think deaf = bad, the deaf child will think deaf = bad. Social reality in action.

    The question is, how do we change the social reality to be deaf = not bad ?

    I think that’s where the real friction lies.

  • Linda Slovick

    > You just emphasized a point that I was making in my blog series.
    >
    > Social reality is important because it has an effect on how the individual
    > will perceive themselves, and if enough individuals share a similar
    > perspective, it becomes a social reality. It’s a loop.

    Ok, I think I misunderstood your point before. I had thought you considered pretty much ANY “Social reality” as a sort of Matrix, and that pretty much all Matrices needed to be destroyed so that the individual could be free.

    I had been trying to argue that we are social critters by nature, that deafness (or even HoHness) restricts SOCIAL interaction because of the prevelance of noise. That seems to be another area where we actually pretty closely agree when I thought we disagreed.

    > The question is, how do we change the social reality to be deaf = not bad ?

    It seems to me that the Culturally Deaf folks have a better handle on this than those of us who spend a lot of time “nearly assimilated” into the mainstream.

    In my opinion, “nearly assimilated” is actually further from “fully assimilated” than “not-at-all assimilated” is!

    Like what Kim says above, if you’re “not-at-all assimilated”, you can give up on the whole “normal” fallacy, and get on with your life more realistically.

    If you’re “fully assimilated”, you never even have to think about it. You just swim unconsciously in the ocean of American culture as fully hearing people can more often do.

    But if you’re “nearly assimilated”, as so many late-deafened, HoH, oral, and ex-oral folks must try to be, you have to think about how you are not really assimilated, and how you can keep your stigma hidden so much of the time, that you can’t really relax and live.

    I guess, I see the “nearly assimilated” situation as a more insideous kind of Matrix, than anything like Deafhood, or even Deaf Culture could be. If you are “nearly assimilated”, you can get to the point where you keep stressing over what is really not healthy for you so much that you can’t see yourself stressing anymore… You just get to thinking that it is a “hearing world”, and you don’t fit in all the way, so need to try even harder to fit in.

    What you win if you succeed in appearing to assimilate, is that nobody knows how hard it was to do, or why you are so cranky, exhausted, and still a bit stupid (you don’t always know when you made a mistake).

    Seems to me that the Deaf Culture folks have a psychologically healthier way to live, at least for that part of things…

    $0.02

  • kim

    DP– I’m going to have to blog about this because my answer is way too long.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Linda,

    I think that’s part of the problem people have with Deafhood. Paddy Ladd seems to conclude that in order to self-actualize, you have to become culturally Deaf.

    For the most part, I do agree that Deaf Culture is the psychologically healthiest way to live… but when people start going around demanding that ALL deaf people join in… and start to make the implication that hearing = bad…. That’s when problems arise.

    It HAS to be people’s choice. They have to freely choose it.

  • Linda Slovick

    That’s another difference, I think… I think that Paddy Ladd just agrees with you and me that, in general, “Deaf Culture is the psychologically healthiest way to live”, therefore he is suggesting, encouraging, urging a move toward what he sees as health.

    In my opinion, your idea that Paddy or the others who support Deafhood are either “demanding” or saying that “hearing=bad” goes too far in its portrayal of how much more power “the Deafhood camp” has, or even expects to have in this dialogue than, say, you do….

    I believe that the “Deafhood camp” is just trying to find ideas that work to better peoples’s lives. If they are not doing that, it seems to me, that a discussion under rules similar to yours would, given time, reveal that.

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