‘People who hear but don't listen concept: hearing people dismissing deaf perspective on deaf life.’ Written by Leonie Holley Leonie Holley is an 18 year old from the UK studying MSci Psychology. She wears cochlear implants since 2005. She raises awareness for all kinds of Deaf folks: inclusion and support. Follow Leonie on Instagram at hohawareness_x!
Firstly, there are crucial underlying factors that have fuelled the dismissal of the deaf perspective on their own lives. As far back as the 1880’s, speech was superior to any other form of sign language. This led to sign languages being banned worldwide from educational practices. Over the next century, deaf individuals were forced to only use speech, and failure to do so meant various punishments. This included their hands being tied together and/or brutally slammed in desk drawers.
This highlights the blatant ignorance towards the deaf perspective, as it took away their rights to use their own language and abolished their ability to voice how this construct detrimentally affected them. Their rights were shoved under the carpet to construct a normality where deaf culture was not present, which caused suffering stemming from a lower quality of life and prejudice and discriminations.
At this point, hearing people were not listening to us, it is very difficult to understand the way someone lives without listening to them, even more so when their very form of communication is taken away from them. Also, the prejudice around disability at this time allowed for such discriminating laws to be enforced. Deaf people were seen as ‘less than’ for being disabled. The whole ‘deaf people are disabled’ will be covered later as it amplifies how hearing people don't listen.
Nothing takes away from how morally unjust it is to take away someone’s main and likely only form of communication. As with that you take away their livelihood and ability to bond with others which is an essential aspect of humanity. That's like taping hearing people's mouths shut and making them sign. It's shocking to think about when sign used to be used extensively, before these laws were enforced.
Fortunately, in the 21st century hearing people began to acknowledge regret and apologise for the scarring effects of the banning of S.L. has caused for the deaf community. As @adventuresindeafed beautifully states: “our history of oppression and language deprivation at the hands of the hearing society has a direct impact on our perceptions when hearing people appropriate our lang/culture in the present day (especially when oralism continues to be heavily promoted over S.L.”
Furthermore, there is a whole deaf culture with its own set of values, art, history, socially accepted behaviours and communities. This culture is influenced at the very heart by deafness and the use of S.L. as the main means of communication. The fact that i was unaware of this as a deaf person until i researched it illustrates the prevalence of dismissal in our society towards the deaf perspective. I have had cochlear implants since i was 3 which has left me between the hearing and the deaf world. I was brought up in a world where oracy was the main focus. As an adult now learning about the deaf culture , it has revealed to me some start differences between the 2 worlds.
The inherent dismissal of my deaf identity by hearing people in my life has meant I haven't had the access to values that would’ve helped me enormously. The deaf culture seems to be commonly pushed aside, especially in mainstream education that I’'ll later bring up. This is a result of being a minority group. It also makes us prone to feeling misunderstood by those who don't know the values of deaf culture or S.L. There is a difference between the 2 that is constantly dismissed. This is evident by the facts that in the world there are roughly 466 million people with hearing loss and 90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents. Also, a million Americans are deaf whilst 10 million are hard of hearing. Still hearing people don't listen even when there are so many of us out here. Our perspective is never taken for it’s value.
If nothing else could prove how deaf perspectives are dismissed, then have the knowledge that some members of the deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability. It’s truly shocking the amount of people (me included) that didn’t know about the existence of deaf culture. 3 key differences i have learnt and that many do not know is: body language, direct language, and deaf not disabled (Relay.SD.com). Body language is extremely important in deaf culture, it’s considered rude to look away from someone who is signing to you. Just like it is rude to walk out on someone talking to you. A lot of people don't appreciate the power that body language has to change the meaning of a conversation to a deaf person.
Secondly, deaf people in the culture usually don’t classify themselves as disabled. Deaf not, disabled. So terms like ‘hearing impaired’ can be offensive and really hurtful. Dismissal of the deaf perspective is seen when companies use such terms to try and sell their products. Most of these companies are run by hearing people, selling products to deaf people, without a deaf perspective, illustrating their ignorance to deaf culture.
Lastly, direct language was a very interesting key difference. As I was brought up as a deaf person in a hearing world, it shone light on some of the causes of my frustration. Mainly, it came down to my parents being hearing people. My parents knew I was deaf but did not encourage my deaf identity or any deaf values. They dismissed that part of me. They have been at times very disrespectful of me by dismissing my deaf values when I have shown them recently. I have exceptional hearing for a cochlear implant user so they must have fallen on the misconception that having implants restores your hearing so therefore i must be hearing fully. You couldn’t be more wrong, I heavily depend on lip reading. For this, I had to suffer muffled voices, their impatience, and their refusal to adapt communication in places of high background noise. Especially, whilst tying this into direct language, when they were not being concise, their beating around the bush and not getting to the point made me mentally exhausted a lot. As much as they do love me, they weren’t fully accomodating to my needs as a deaf person. They hear and see my struggles, but they don’t give me any relief as they don’t change. In deaf culture, speaking plainly like ‘she has a big mouth’ is seen as concise and an accurate description, whilst or others it is seen as rude.
So, even the people closest to me, I have grown to realise: ‘hear but don’t listen’. They are not aware of the deaf culture at all. This shouldn’t have to be a consequence for being a minority, an oppressed minority, even for the deaf children who have hearing parents.
When my parents are discriminating whether knowingly or not hurts, not listening to my needs as a deaf person. Sometimes i just want to scream “I am not just part of the hearing world because i have cochlear implants, i am very much deaf! Listen to me please!” I’m just so grateful to my partner and my friends who are open to listening to my struggles and adapting their hearing world to bridge with my deaf world. For example, my partner tries their very best to make sure i feel included in groups and repeats any of the jokes or the many witty one liners i may have missed. The other day, one of my closest friends gave me song lyrics in the car as she remembered I had difficulty deciphering the words. This is a positive light that those who are willing to listen will listen. They will engage in the deaf perspective if they have been informed of it and are caring people. As RelaySD.com states: “ as it is difficult to connect with someone with hearing loss without understanding their culture can make you come off as rude, however intentionally.”
This links into having knowledge about deafness and the barriers we face around it. I think that having the refusal to learn is the biggest act of dismissal. Being ignorant means they know there is inequality but they are not going to shine a light on it. It makes deaf people non-existent, you can't see deafness, like you can't see a deadly disease, but that doesn’t mean it's not there and drastically changing the way we live our lives and the barriers we face (that also brings about the deaf perspective).
There happens to be several imposed perspectives on deaf people and culture that shape the treatment they receive and their role in society. In the medical aspect, there is encouragement for deaf children to undergo surgery. This originates from the medical perspective belief to discourage sign language as they thought it would distract them from developing auditory and speech skills. Encouraging deaf children likely without any information on deaf culture to undergo surgery illustrates a calculated move to minimalism the deaf community; imposing the view that deaf people need to be fixed.
However, it is not their fault for being born deaf and it can be argued that it is a difference in human experience and not a disability. A huge 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, which makes me question why more parents are not adapting themselves to cater for their children's needs rather than vice versa. It is not a burden, only an anatomical difference. The idea that deaf people need fixing is even prevalent in many companies which I have mentioned used terms like ‘hearing impaired’ which is offensive.
It is just dismissing the whole idea of having a deaf identity, not incorporating deaf perspective on deaf life, not having any deaf role models, not being listened to because of those that refuse to listen. Think about the benefits of being deaf would have if there weren't so many barriers put in place by those exact people that don't listen, we would all be able to bond deeper.
Moving on, ethically speaking, the minority communities using sign language have had unsuitable construction of their group as a disability group. This leads to programmes that have discouraged deaf children from acquiring the language and culture of the deaf world, and the level of discouragement I'm speaking of is high. We’re looking at those trying to reduce the number of deaf births. These programmes are unethical and equally damaging to deaf people and their own narratives.
So, there are four key reasons why not to construe us as a disability group. It highlights the audacity of some hearing people to dismiss the hearing perspective. One, I will say it again that some deaf people don't identify themselves as disabled. It's disgraceful that some people don’t respect this. Two, construction of disability leads to medical and surgical risks for the deaf child. It's the same as viewing them as needing to be fixed. In this essay i read, it makes a case that our ethical standards for the majority of treatments shockingly depend on whether our representation of the deaf world is that of a disability or an ethic group which should be the case. Thirdly, it endangers the future of the deaf world. We need it to exist, especially when they are big for a minority group. There's around 466 million people worldwide with hearing loss. The fourth point is the disconnection brings bad solutions to real problems because it’s predicated on misunderstanding.
It could be said that the imposed prejudice deaf people face leads to those who have acquired deafness to ignore the deaf world too. Internalised bias by those who have acquired deafness may become adamant that they do not identify themselves with the deaf culture or use its language, profess its values, rather they consider themselves hearing people with a disability. I had internalised ableism towards the deaf community and I refused to be identified as disabled, I completely dismissed the deaf perspective as I did not accept any notion that it may apply to me. I didn't go to events apart from the one hosted by my audiologist clinic out of shame, denial and no knowledge of the deaf culture. I refused to listen out of shame, it was a complex relationship. I didn't want anything to do with it because it made me feel ‘less than’, now it empowers me. To be deaf is to be strong, to be different and bold. To be more compassionate as a choice as you know how difficult it is to not be granted access to be who you are freely. I've only just begun learning about deaf culture and only as of last year began to accept my deafness.
Deaf people are prevented from integrating with the hearing world. This is illustrated in the essay 'ethnicity, ethics, and the deaf world’ by Harlan Lane, which states ‘the more deaf people celebrate their language and culture, the more they affirm their distinct identity, the more they reinforce the boundary delineating them from the hearing world.’ This means that the deaf perspective will certainly not be listened to by hearing people as some hearing people discriminate against deaf people and the culture. Schools, jobs, in gaining access are some of the areas where deaf people get discriminated against. But they get discriminated against for more than their bodies: ‘the major impact of deafness is on communication” -(Bayton 2000). And when people hear but don't listen, we become broken off into an island in the middle of the sea, and the notion of a deaf perspective is disregarded.
In mainstream education it is hard for deaf people to integrate into the hearing world as teachers cannot communicate with them fluently. It is difficult, in my case some teachers refused to cater to my needs that would have actually benefited the whole class. Deaf people miss out on important information when learning because it has not been provided in their language, and have difficulty getting jobs when a job requires good English.
On one level, many minority groups including the deaf community are often claimed to be biologically inferior. Oppressed minorities such as LGBTQ learn from each other on success and the value of diversity in order to urge ignorant governments in the right direction. It’s so ethically wrong and politically corrupt that deaf people should have to struggle for their rights. It’s stated ‘Deaf people have to ‘embrace’ their disability label it might help them in gaining more of their rights’-( Bayton 2002). It is very dismissive of the deaf culture as an ethical group as it is seen and heard but not listened to. Deaf people have to dismiss their own perspective over their own life in order to get rights from the government. Atrocious. For example, interpreters are only given under the disability umbrella not as an ethical/cultural group reason.
It appears to be all about hearing, which dismisses the deaf perspective on being deaf when 9/10 children that have the implant surgery, those with little or no hearing, were born deaf. (Allen,Rawlings & Remington 1994). These children also rarely receive the benefit sought which is fluency in spoken language. Which adds the harm to the risks of a deaf child who has to have oral educational programmes. These are put on the parents to discourage sign language (Tye Murrey 1992). So, if children with implants are unable to learn spoken English and are prevented from learning at the same time, they will remain languageless for years. It’s inexcusable to leave a child without fluent language for years on end. Medicine is coming to realise that it’s the overall quality of life of the person not just the concerned organ that must be considered (Reinsenberg & Glass 1989). From such a young age they are heard and not listened to. Their perspective on their own lives is taken away from them without being able to make the decision for themselves. No consent is given to living a hearing life so they are stuck between the hearing and the deaf world as implants do not restore hearing.
Lastly, I want to include the barriers in mainstream education for deaf people as it is such a big impact on our childhoods. We have all sorts of barriers such as with legal aid, health care and ultimately life. But one that really hits home is at school.
Many primary schools are now teaching S.L in the U.K., which is a privilege I wish I had growing up deaf in a hearing world. Many of them didn't face the class when talking, a lot refused to conceptualise the fact that having cochlear implants don't restore your hearing. They didn’t give clear instructions and to be frank, these barriers to an equal chance at education made my life a daily challenge. Constantly filling in the gaps by myself. They heard my Teacher of the Deaf telling them I needed more support but they didn't listen. The gap in attainment between me and my peers grew until I reached secondary school where there was a little more help. Also, I really admired what was said in an 2018 article I read by The York Press on the educational barriers Deaf children face: “deafness is not a learning disability and when deaf children get the support they need at school, there are no limits to what they can achieve.” I find it shocking when I saw that around 78% of deaf children in England attend mainstream schools. Especially, with the lack of awareness around deafness. Deafness has always been there, teachers know a child in their class is deaf, yet they don't support them in the most necessary ways. Shockingly, just 41% of deaf young people achieve 2 A Levels or equivalent by 19, compared to 65% of other people.
So, to conclude the concept that hearing people hear but don’t listen appears to be a very real issue based on how they treat deaf people historically, socially, culturally and ethically. It is also highlighted through the many barriers we face such as in mainstream education, health care and jobs. This ignorance has shown to be harmful socially and potentially fatal in the medical aspect of being deaf and having cochlear implants. However, when facing towards the future there is still hope and a constant stream building into a river of change heading into the right direction for the deaf community. I would like to finish by saying that I am so proud of how far we have come in terms of deaf awareness, despite all the aversions that we have had to face in trying to show our brilliance as a community.
Note from Alexis: You are reading Deaf perspectives in a world where in the U.S. Deaf people did not have the right to work until 2008. Most content is published by hearing on Deaf issues or conforms to hearing norms. We are here to tell you our Deaf perspectives. We are the primary source. No citations needed.
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
If you want your ass kissed when you’re being told shit about discrimination, this is not up your alley and you are why we have this compilation of personal rants.
People say all the time, why don’t you write more personally on the blog?
As Bilbo Baggins would say, “I don't know more than half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
I write about shit that triggers me which is hard to do. I try to keep my emotions out of it so that I can be the solution and use my platform as a place to share all the information I wish I had before.
Easier said than done. I am the type to tell people to suck my fucking dick from the back.
Emotions don’t invalidate facts. Facts don’t invalidate emotions. Our toxic patriarchy has created an environment where quantity goes before quality so that money can go before people. We don’t have conflict resolution because we are repressed as a society in order to be controlled.
My research can be summed up by intersectionality: the idea that our society is based on a system that uses overlapping discrimination to allow a select few to benefit off of the majority's struggles.
Jumping from thought to thought, it does not all seem related on the surface. Stay with me here. It is all connected. We just have to put the pieces together as we realize their meaning.
Properties of Sound:
Information from the Sound Properties and The Waveform View chapter of Dan Hosken’s An Introduction to Music Technology. Check out noladeafchild.com/reading-list or noladeafchild.com/online-classes-list to find resources for more info.
Sound involves three components: generation, propagation, and reception. Which is amusing to me as my friend Eyona Nelson was just telling me that my messages have to be palatable in order to be received.
There are corresponding perceptual and physical properties of sound: pitch/frequency, loudness/amplitude, timbre/waveform, articulation/amplitude envelope, rhythm/transient patterns. What happens in the world is not what happens in our minds.
Dan Hosken says on page 19, “In the act of perception, our ears change the physical properties of sound in various ways, such as emphasizing certain frequencies, and our brain analyzes the perceived sound properties in relation to perceptions it has encountered before, such as identifying a sound as the harmonic interval of a perfect fifth played on a piano. In addition, the ear can be fooled. There are a variety of aural illusions in which the brain’s perception of sound differs from the sound’s actual physical properties.”
The idea that people have different thresholds of hearing is a case study for how we all perceive the world differently.
Got my hearing aids 2 years ago. The first time I put on my hearing aids I was overwhelmed with sensory overload and not understanding the new information I'm processing. It was fun experiencing everything new in a thrilling way, but it was still hard to communicate at first.
The joy came when I heard new sounds for the first time like the wind, the rain, and my favorite songs in stereo. The joy came as I learned about how my hearing aids work, as I began to understand that the hearing aids can't give me back my hearing, but it can convert sounds into frequencies my brain can understand. This is why the assistive device is useful because with just hearing aids the frequencies are muddled with everything else.
So with my Roger Select I have an omnidirectional mic that allows me to hear specific things. I can also connect it to my phone, TV, any computer, or most audio interfaces. It's pretty cool because before it was very hard for me to talk on the phone or hear anything in conditions where I cannot control the sound. Without my hearing aids, especially in group settings, I am mostly just trying to figure out what the fuck is happening which puts me in my head.
I believe sound is a natural balance that hearing tech gives me access to. Not having hearing tech is a struggle to communicate with people that do not sign, but is otherwise simply another way of existing.
I don't like most videos of Deaf people hearing for the first time because I believe they are often ableist as fuck. But between overthinking a video of me hearing Music Never Stopped for the first time and lyrics to Sound of Silence, I do think that Deaf people experience the world and perceive frequencies through an intimate mind body connection that can be easily understood through sign.
Taking off hearing aids at the end of the day feels better than taking off a bra, heels, or anything else I’ve ever had to wear for 12+ hours at a time. I love being able to fully experience sound more than anything in the world. I have loved being able to tune in with my hearing aids after years of speech therapy, surgical procedures, trying/being told I can’t use hearing aids, and not knowing what is happening in social situations.
But no one tells you about the sensory overload. No one talks about how it feels like you have q tips in your ears all day/how uncomfortable it is. When I try to speak up about how much I go through to communicate with people I feel isolated by, I feel like it doesn’t matter because the people who can actually hear don’t want to listen. Don’t want to learn.
I wish the world had access to sign, because I wish people would communicate with me in a way that is comfortable for me too after everything I go through to talk to them.
“BuT yOu DoNt LoOk DeAf"
"BuT yOu CaN sPeAk"
"BuT yOu KnOw WhAt We SaY sOmEtImEs”
Watch this: https://youtu.be/Q3eMg55igZ8
If you take Deaf issues seriously, I appreciate your basic sense of humanity. Everyone else, 🖕!
Do you have access to a DAW? You can simulate my hearing loss by applying the following to an entire song... First cut out the sound above the following intensities and frequencies: 15 dB at 250 Hz, 20 dB at 500 Hz, 10 dB at 1000 Hz, 5 dB at 2000 Hz, 10 dB at 3000 Hz, 15 dB at 4000 Hz, 20 dB at 6000 Hz, and 35 dB at 8000 Hz (I prefer graphic EQ as hearing loss isn’t linear). Then pan your mix all the way to the right and bring your gain down half way.
If you can understand how much I miss out on, please use this experience to make an effort to communicate with me or any other Deaf person. Relying on body language, emotions, and lip reading along with any sound or vibration I can process makes me an emotional person because I am using those emotions to figure out what the fuck is happening. My mind just interprets information differently.
I pretty much cannot hear a third of the alphabet even with hearing aids. Had a magical moment realizing more specifically what I can and cannot hear. So you know what I understand, some sounds I can't hear at all are f, s, th, k, and sometimes I also have problems with z, v, p, soft g, and h.
The rest I can tell the noise is happening. It is just hard to make it out because it is only through my right ear. Because my Deafness is gained at various decibels across frequencies, sometimes yelling does help and sometimes it doesn't matter because the Deaf gain is so high I still can't hear.
The lexicalized sign for I love you is my favorite sign. #ILY means to represent I, love, and you simultaneously. Love is what connects you and I. My name is Alexis and I am short. To shorten a sign means to lexicalize it. For those who don’t know, #(insert word) means to fingerspell if you are ever reading an English notation of ASL.
I got this tattooed on me to remember to love myself and my body. For Deaf pride. To give my ass a hand. To wear my heart on my sleeve. To show others love. To communicate. I also really love the fact that the Illuminati sign is ASL for vagina upside down. I call it the backwards ass pussy.
Watch Your Tone- How I Perceive You:
Where is the Deaf Pride Month at? Every month is Speech and Hearing Month. How about a Sign Language Month? Better Speech and Hearing Month is like having a Straight Pride Parade fuck all ya’ll still.
PSA: if you use a disability as an insult, I will not kindly explain to you the problem. I will go off on your ignorant ass.
Body language and facial expressions are essential to sign language. Deaf people have a very hard time getting interpretation for live events. If I see you making fun of sign which is discrimination we will have words and fuck you.
If you say things like fall on deaf ears and you legit don't understand why this is offensive please read through what I share. Hearing people don't get to have an opinion on Deafness ever. Learn sign! If I see you call Deaf/HOH people impaired I'll go off. I don’t fucking care who you are!
An aggressive reminder to not use Deafness as an insult in any form including hoh/tone deaf/impairment slurs. Stop using Deafness as an insult. Not knowing any better isn't an excuse. Being Deaf does not make you dumb just like being hearing doesn't make you smart.
Would you stay in a relationship with someone who used your name or identity as a negative word for an insult or to explain that something is wrong as part of their everyday vernacular? Someone who when you said it makes me feel bad that you use me as an example of something being messed up told you to just be less yourself/get over it. No? Then why do you expect me to do the same about Deafness?
Medical community, Deaf people complaining about audism in medicine are no different than us complaining about how much we pay for healthcare. It’s about systemic issues and how individuals make up the system. Who else should Deaf people talk to about their healthcare if not their healthcare providers?
Let's talk about intersectionality via the Deaf experience. Please watch this video on giving birth while Deaf and Deaf culture: https://youtu.be/Y45RbeeGf9Y.
Systemic issues in discrimination are intertwined. Violence against one of us is violence against all of us. Please research or ask me about Deaf identity, Deaf culture, the indigenous Deaf, history of sign, audism, and Civil Rights Movement.
White people isolate the Deaf. If it weren't for people of color we wouldn't have sign language, protection under ADA, or Deaf Communities. Ableism is a product of white privilege. Deaf pride is inclusion. Same construct for adaptability goes for ethnicity. White people colonize and appropriate so there is no white culture only white privilege. Protect people of color. Protect culture. Reject dehumanization.
I am really starting to hate hearing society. Specifically white people.
Unapologetically Regressive- Examples of Audism:
Black Civil Rights Deaf History in a nutshell:
Deaf isolation itself is the fact that hearing society is based on oralism vs Deaf culture is based on sign equity. Basically sign languages have been around for all human existence and before colonialism most people used sign intertwined with speech. Then in like 1800 some French dudes that were murdering, raping, and enslaving the fuck out of Native America was like let's include their signs with French, and thus ASL was born.
Relevant side story, audism began with Aristotle. He used to teach you can only learn through hearing so Deaf people were incapable of functioning in society. Well Alexander Graham Bell became a thing when he made the phone, right? Only he wasn't trying to make a phone. He wanted to make hearing aids, but he failed. But even though he didn't make what he wanted, the same radio frequencies used from phones are how hearing aids work so without him we wouldn't have modern hearing tech for the Deaf. But Bell was also really into Aristotle's theories on audism and he basically started the oralist movement and eradicated sign from our mainstream society when he got big on the phone.
It was around the same time we have heightened Black isolation in the Deaf community as discrimination is intersectional therefore so is equality. Too many Deaf whites had taken pointers from Susan B Anthony and fought for white equality over Black lives and Deaf equality. And so ever since then Deaf people have not only had language deprivation in our society we also don't have equitable access to barriers of entry in education, legal aid, healthcare, life. Especially social situations.
What access we do have Black Deaf people achieved for us off the Civil Rights Movement through the ADA, as Black people not only fought for people of color but Deaf rights and people of all abilities/backgrounds. Even still hearing society has labelled us as impaired, and dismisses our capabilities to even give us remote opportunities for equal rights, which is a form of discrimination itself. It is only due to Black and Indigenous Culture, Protests, and History that Deaf have been given any opportunity to succeed. So from the Deaf perspective, Black Lives Matter. Black Lives know true equality. Black Lives know peace. Same can't be said for white people.
Why is there Black ASL? Many reasons that are all connected. First of all, look at the origins of sign. Sign (like everything else about humanity) goes back to Africa. Everything about language has been transformed due to geographical, cultural, political influences since the first human. White people were kidnapping/enslaving/how the fuck do you deduce the horrors to one word (you can't) people of color 100 years to 200 years and even after ASL/BSL/FSL/any modern white sign was formed depending on where we are at in our colonization timeline (side thought: even if colonize is meant to summarize, it whitewashes atrocities through cognitive dissonance).
Alright now back that ass up in the timeline. Pre Aristotle most communities integrated sign with verbal communication (Deaf people were even given special treatment as massage therapists cause baby we know how to read ya body). But then this ableist ass bitch probably couldn't get a happy ending. He taught some bull shit about audism that white people used as a way to eradicate sign from mainstream society and marginalize Deaf people. And that's how Deaf isolation became normalized.
Moving forward from ancient times through the middle ages to modern times these ass holes began to get bigger and bigger on this empire bull shit, which led to using discrimination (mostly racism) as a means for power and control that has yet to end. And white dudes who love playing devil's advocate about issues that don't impact them decided ArIsToTle was a genius. Dude thought the world revolved around Earth and we wanna place our faith on how Deaf people learn in him, but not from Deaf people yet that's not ableist? Okay. I see a "logical" pattern in our society.
Anyway for a thousand years there sign was not really taught or encouraged in what became white countries as it continued to flourish among Black and Indigenous communities all the way until they were impacted by colonialism. Then white people were like damn we need to figure out what the fuck they are saying so we can fuck their shit up a little more for ourselves. After that some of em were like oh we care about our white Deaf people now so let's educate them in sign.
So we get some Deaf schools and "human rights organizations''. The National Association of the Deaf has claimed to be the oldest human rights org in the country (since 1880), but they only ever fought for white Deaf up until after the Civil Rights Movement (only doing the bare minimum of what they were required to do to support Black Deaf). Black Deaf isolation has sooo many fucking layers. And then between Civil Rights and white people initially realizing this is a cool thing we can use to connect with each other personally, AGB advocated for oralism and basically erased sign education (except for like 2 schools at that time).
Any progress that had been made for white Deaf people between 1800s and 1900s was stifled up until Black Deaf people pushed for all human rights. Which was essentially a small percentage of white people in charge creating stipulations to make legal loopholes for what they have been doing. Okay now that you got the separation of ASL from other signs, history of sign, how we became an audist society, the use of limiting information as a means of control, advocacy, let's put that into context of Black American Sign (which is something I do not have the honor of knowing).
Because of the amount of dialects there are in sign and even signs there are in a dialect, it is impossible to learn and share every word even if someone wants to try to do that. But obviously Africans and African American people only ever taught white people what they want us to know of their sign and they are careful who they teach, if anyone willfully. So we have evolved from all of these countries that people were stolen from another specific signed language that is not only used to help people escaping white supremacy, but also used to retain ownership from culture through language that may be imitated, but can never be copied.
Contemporary Deaf Racism:
We are finally seeing Deafness on tv and in movies but why are we only seeing white Deaf? Wish we could see some Black sign, but at the same time wouldn't want white people appropriating that too. It's cool we are starting to see more Deaf representation, but it's like we can barely count the non white Deaf whereas white Deaf get rep in Weeds, Greys Anatomy, Station 19, Feel the Beat, Dark, Sesame Street, Stranger Things, Glee, Switched at Birth, and that's just what I've seen all white Deaf.
There are many Deaf talented people of color but they aren't mainstream. Society doesn't know their names, faces, or stories. Deaf people make up 15% of the population. Where is the representation? Deaf people have fought tooth and nail to get access but what access there is is primarily only for white Deaf. It's awful. And even still Deaf people don't even get cast as leads. We have to recognize the disparity in opportunities. It is discrimination to look the other way.
Ooh and other white Deafs I've seen... The Society, Hush, The Shape of Water... I don't see Black Deaf culture or sign representation. Even though we say there's Black Deaf actors when are they showing Deaf/hoh accessibility/cultural issues or signing? It's as if Deaf people have to be what hearing people want them to be portrayed as just to get the role. In The Magicians they got white women signing (to look culturally diverse?), but they don't ever let you look at a whole conversation with the ability to see signs. It's as if since it's not considered entertainment for hearing people, let's tease the Deaf by letting them know we have the ability to script sign, but make it so they can't see it since it isn't normalized. What the fuck bull shit is that?!
Only white people are ever like, “Speak English! This is America!” to Deaf people... Uh bitch why don't you sign in our American Sign Language then instead of speaking a language from England? And for the racist Deafs, this concept is why there's Black ASL. Intersectionality dismantles the bricks of oppression.
And before you come at with me with some of that it's selfish and insensitive to bring up Deaf people in terms of Black isolation fuckery (I've been told that before about Corona): Deaf people make up 5-15% of the world's population while America only makes up 5%. So if you think Deaf issues don't matter, statistically you should think our national issues matter potentially three times less which doesn't make sense because one contains part of the other and vice versa. And using the fact that a majority of a community is harming a minority as a way to dismiss their specific struggle is only evidence that an issue is systemic.
Black Deaf isolation isn't only just from white individuals, but from the ableist stigmas perpetuated by cultural assimilation in a white privileged based society. Black Deaf people have been fucked over so bad as a community they have to keep a language to themselves that others don't have access to just to be able to process it. The thing about intersectionality is making sure no one is left behind. In the Deaf community, there's plenty of white privilege. The NAD makes sure of that. Who is looking out for Black Deaf people? Black Lives Matter. Check out the National Black Deaf Association to learn more or for anyone you know impacted by racism and ableism.
Enablement of Racism:
If I see one more if they just weren't doing something illegal post.... They shot Breonna Taylor in her bed while she was asleep mother fuckers! These laws only exist to protect white supremacy otherwise white people would have practiced what we preach and not colonize the fuck out of- which is a cognitively dissonant way of saying rape, murder, and enslave- entire countries. If you're worried about upholding the words that keep the same people profiting and not about the words that protect entire communities please don't act like you give a damn about the law you are just racist.
Slavery never ended. The 13th amendment maintained its legality. Criminalization is a tool used to make billions off of detainees. The U.S. has 5% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners. 2010 incarceration stats: white people- 450/100,000; Black people 2,306 per 100,000. The U.S. mainly imprisons the lower class. Black Indigenous People of Color are an easy target for police. The difference between night in jail, death, or home is money divided by skin color.
Policy worsens racial wealth inequality. This extends into the justice system. System is just gettin free labor... Money is valued more than lives. Ongoing mass incarceration research summary: noladeafchild.com/free-your-art. Please share any links you got with me.
Past time for education on Defunding the Police. If you are pro police you are racist.
Racists really be like: You just don't understand the history of monuments. Without them how will we uphold white supremacy? We need participation trophies to feel adequate. How will I have any culture if you abolish racism?
If you are comfy financially supporting the corrupt GOP or regressive Democratic initiatives then you're not actually behind Black Lives Matter. Looking at you AEG, Buku, WCP, and Jazz Fest supporters! If you can overlook white supremacy to make a buck or see some art fuck you you're racist.
As we pretend like there is a reason to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment remember that it only gave white women the right to vote. The B in Susan B Anthony stands for Bitch cause she said she would rather "cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work for or demand the ballot for the negro and not the woman." I can't even begin on the ways that statement is fucked. Which is what suffrage was based on. She would be like everyone deserves the right to vote one min and say shit like that the next. Remind ya'll of anyone today?
People say the most racist shit then be like you don't know me when called out. Mother Fucker I don't need to know you to know you said what you said and what you said was racist as fuck. If you're not actively anti racist you're a fucking racist!
Can't get over when people justify discrimination as it's taken out of context. What in the Susan B Anthony? If you say, "I don't discriminate. I just don't argue when others do," you're basically one of those people!
Can I have only Black Lives Matter with a side of prison reform, hold the white fragility, and supersize that? Don't say let's keep the peace. There is no peace. If Black Lives being in danger is peaceful to you, you are a piece of shit!
It shouldn't take white people circulating trauma to open our eyes to the privilege of not experiencing the pain of the everyday racism we benefit from. If we dismiss Black lives from the source with pics or it didn't happen mentality, then we are saying it isn't enough to just not be racist but we must believe we are racist to stop. It should never have gotten this far. Just be a decent fucking human being and stand up. One love. Black Lives Matter.
Don't forget: the owner of BUKU Music + Art Project, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, as well as any Winter Circle Productions events donates mega millions to Trump and the GOP! You can make a difference in our administration by not supporting activities that fund corruption. DISMANTLE THE PATRIARCHY!
If you want to cut into a mega millionaire's funding to Trump's campaign, anti marijuana, anti LGBQT, anti immigration organizations you can by not supporting BUKU Music + Art Project, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or any AEG Presents events (*cough* *cough* Winter Circle Productions). Ask yourself what's more important, cutting funding to ICE or getting fucked up for the Gram? If you don't give a shit you're why I fucking hate society.
If you stopped financially and emotionally supporting racism, you wouldn't have to protest it. I really want any influencer that sees this to do their part to reach out to their contacts in these organizations and tell them we are done with them til they get their shit together.
You can throw all the parties in the world, spend all your money to further community careers/organizations, compliment others as much as you mean it, help out as often however you can, smile as much as your face can take it, and people will still say you're negative or a bitch for being neither able to control your emotions nor capable of expressing yourself in this white male ableist socially privileged society based on income disparity and rape culture.
Companies be like it's not personal when they're fuckin you over, but when you discuss their business practices they wanna act like they're attacked… Places where it is taught to only obey keep people from thinking for themselves. To me loving humans includes hating concepts like ableism, audism, racism, misogyny, rape culture, income disparity, and white privilege. Yin and yang can't have love without hate.
This is a great time to learn ASL! So was yesterday and the day before that. Get with me. Like if you really cared to talk to me you'd learn some sign…
62. What is Audism?
64. Audism (1)
65. Audism (2)