Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"My Son is Deaf, Finally!"

A few days ago, a good friend of mine sent me this link, and even now, I keep revisiting it in my mind. For me, it's troublesome, provoking, even irrational - but, sadly, not really surprising. I've met plenty of Deaf people who have this attitude about CIs. Be sure to watch to the end:

Still, expressed in this light, this man's sentiments come across as extreme. I keep wondering if he's totally justified in feeling the way he does. Maybe so, in that there is indeed a "double standard" between deaf and hearing people. While it's expected (and taken for granted) that one will conform with the hearing majority, it's not nearly as acceptable to be deaf, and to live as a Deaf person.

But the analogy doesn't quite hold up. Hearing is more than a bias: it's a wonderful ability that enables us to connect more fully with our world and the people in it. While being Deaf may be a culturally rich lifestyle, and while it may carry a unique communicative heritage, embracing Deaf culture will never fully stamp out the isolation that derives from not being able to hear. The two scenarios aren't completely equivalent.

So why the anger? As a recent CI recipient (albeit one who did choose for herself), I can't help but feel bothered by this example of reverse prejudice. This pent-up frustration, directed toward the hearing world, is upsetting. Yes, hearing people very often ought to understand more than they do. But, instead of this pointless antagonism, how about pursuing real acceptance and accessibility?


  1. A really powerful piece. I agree with your conclusions, it was the isolation that got to me.