BEG oiled my brains :)

Yesterday, browneyedgirl left such a great comment that I responded to in comments and then decided that it was so insightful, then changed my mind and moved it up front to share it here.

BEG said…

Yes, actually there’s some bits of Blind culture, in some multigenerational blind families. And if you keep track of stuff at http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/ you will see similar issues discussed by physically disabled folks.

I know exactly what you mean about how the authors seem to cross a line, I absolutely do. While I was born deaf, I was wildly successful with hearing aids — you can’t tell from my speech that I can’t hear. So there is no question I grew up with, and accepted the whole hearing culture until the last few years.

However. I am only now learning to sign, precisely because the decision was taken away from me & my parents because of scare tactics by hearing doctors and such. And at my age (40+) I have finally realized that English is not my true language. It *cannot* be. I can send, but I can’t receive. Communication absolutely has to go both ways or it’s fundamentally crippled, no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig. It took me a long, long, long time to understand this, because it seems so *fundamental* to speak and try to hear if you can.

You might find some of my entries at my blog of interest — from the earliest entries on to the most recent (I’ve taken a summer break), you can see the progression of realization of just what the hearing world does to deaf people.

Now, I do agree that different approaches are needed to bring in the new-to-all-this parents of a deaf child; however the anger you object to is very real, and deserves respect in its own right. Deaf people have been colonized for centuries, the Milan conference and its consequences for the following century is simply the latest one.

September 11, 2007 11:24 PM

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BEG…
As always, your comments make me think a little harder. 🙂

Yes, I’m in a state of transition. Culturally speaking, I’m not Hearing any longer; but I’m not Deaf yet, either. From my position straddling the fence, it’s not comfortable; but I can certainly see both points of view. I can see how Deaf find Hearing ranging from insensitive to downright insulting; I can see how Hearing find Deaf ranging from puzzling to incendiary.

I am only now learning to sign (at 34) and am amazed at how comfortable I am at it. My parents could have employed the audiologists and hearing doctors OR taught me sign and raised me Deaf; they did neither (in their defense, we lived in a rural farm community with traditional farming mentality… ‘are you bleeding? no? ok, you’re fine’). All my life I had to fend for myself; taught myself to speechread, advocated for myself – told teachers I had to sit in front, and faked it as I smiled and nodded in social situations. I pretended that my communication ratio of 100% going out yet maybe 25%-50% coming in, was enough for me. I can’t do that anymore, because it’s not enough. I want to participate in communication 100%/100%! But the important thing is now, I feel I am being much more true to myself as I am telling the Hearing world “I’m not one of you” and telling the Deaf world “I wouldn’t mind being one of you” and trying to find a way to speed the process so I can eventually get off this mighty uncomfortable fence I’ve been straddling all my life. I wish I could find the words to convey how much I am looking forward to it. All I can do is read and study and watch native ASL signers to develop my skill and receptivity. I keep telling myself there will come a time when I can look back and say to myself, “I remember that. Thank God I am so much more comfortable now!”

3 thoughts on “BEG oiled my brains :)

  1. Does the fence you’ve been sitting on feel anything like the passenger seat on a 2002 HD Sportster? All pins and needly?
    Or is it more like a split rail fence, or even more uncomfy, an electric fence? I usually get off of things that make me involuntarily wet myself and jerk uncontrollably.

    Was that fence anything like that?

  2. I just left a comment over on your husband’s blog about this. And you know what?…I just now put it together that he was your husband. Yeah, I’m quick like that.
    You know, your story sounds exactly like the stories of so many people I came across in the Deaf community. The trying to struggle through. Smiling and nodding. When I was taking all of my classes, learning ASL, they were filled with Deaf and Hard of Hearing who were learning ASL after years of trying to get by. I admire you…and I admire your courage to “get off the fence”. 🙂

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