just throwing some thoughts out on the table…

I was working at the Homecoming football game (yes, I was one of those people sporting those *ama-za-zing* buff shirts that read bison crew go me) and experienced a rather :- (for the lack of words) moment. One man asked me for something, and signed pretty please and I retorted with with sugar on top? This guy stopped and asked me if I was hearing. When I told him I was Deaf, he said that he was surprised that I knew that, because most Deaf people don’t.I understand that that saying is a very hearing thing, but doesn’t mean that deaf people don’t know what it means. I find it irksome when people are shocked when a deaf person knows a certain saying, thinking that person either can rely on phonetics and was raised in the hearing world, or is/was hearing. While the former technically applies to me, I know a lot of people who don’t hear a drop of sound, but know that saying, among others, as well. Why can’t people know how to say it because they’re literate? Or why can’t we just know it simply because?This led me to think about other issues that we have within the Deaf community. We continue to put each other down in diverse ways, and I never really realized it until Homecoming weekend was approaching and the alumni started arriving and it was then I realized that contrary to popular belief, current Gallaudetians are pretty open-minded about things that previous students never accepted.A friend of mine told me that she came across someone while listening to music through her iPod. That person stopped my friend and asked her if she was hearing. My friend answered no, and the man said, okay then you’re forgiven. Nowadays on campus we pass people who listen to music without a second though; it’s something that has become widely accepted.We have gone a long way in terms of technology. 30-odd years ago, hearing aids were not even generally accepted at Gallaudet. Now, not only do we seeing hearing aids on people, but we see people with Cochlear Implants as well. There are people, of course, who feel that they’re not necessary (I admit, I feel the same way sometimes too – hearing aids, CIs..forfor? You don’t need to be able to hear here! **I consider this place to be a break from home meaning what?? NO HEARING AID!!**) but we are starting to look past what is in/on the ear, and more at the person and their signing abilities. I even try to look past individuals signing abilities (we all know that I’m not really one to judge!) but look at their attitude; do they want to be here? Are they willing to assimilate themselves into the Deaf world? Do they have a superiority attitude towards others?…and these questions apply to everyone, not just people with HAs and CIs. It was just weird to see older alumni come on campus and gape at people with hearing aids and CIs.There are also a lot of divisions at Gallaudet, which should be confronted and altered in order to change the outside Deaf community. Divisions include how well people are at signing. People who come from Deaf families or grew up signing ASL all the way tend to clump together, and the people who are asi asi at signing clump together, but can swing between the strong-ASL users and the weaker signers, which is the third group. One thing that bothers me the most is when people come up to me and ask me if I’m hearing. They look at how I sign and automatically assume. While yes, I can understand their view, I wish they would try to understand mine, and not make assumptions without knowing my history. I grew up oral and did not truebiz sign until 7th grade (about seven years ago) and even then, I did not sign on a daily basis.I signed maybe a total of 24 hours in one week, if I was lucky. I have no confidence in my signing, but I must say my receptive skills are pretty good. I’m done going on about myself now!…I just mean to say that people should get to know other peoples’ backgrounds before labeling them or better yet; don’t label people at all!Just some random rambling!A penny for my thoughts! How about a penny for yours?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: