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- About Me
- "You Are Deaf, Congratulations! My Deafhood Journey and Understanding Audism" eBook Now Available!
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Forgetting he was deaf, there was no way David Jonsson could be Deaf. So, not fitting in, he quits wearing hearing aids for 10 years after college. But the problems with society continued until he identified with being Deaf. In “You Are Deaf, Congratulations”, he reveals his anger and his humor, with stories and feelings of his experience discovering his Deafhood and unveiling Audism.
Being mainstreamed with hearing classmates, David was taught to act hearing. Armed with a hearing aid and instructed to sit up front and lipread, he was told he was fixed.
But knowing that life was going to be a struggle, he would just have to work harder. Identified as Hard-of-Hearing, and trying to be a hearing person, but failing, David finally explores the dark side… identifying as Deaf! But not without controversy in the hearing community and the Deaf community.
How to BE Deaf is what nobody taught him, so he had to learn about Deaf Culture on his own. This book will help you make sense of society so you can be happier. It helps to know who you are, so you can navigate in this world more independently, and understand why some interactions are so frustrating.
The oppression of Audism is “the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears, or that life without hearing is futile and miserable, or an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear.”
Those who see deaf as a disability, such as audiologists, want to fix you with hearing aids and cochlear implants to force you into listening and speaking, while discouraging sign language.
Using harsh language like cultural genocide and epistemic violence, David’s no-holds-barred approach is invigoratingly refreshing. Linguistic minorities, who regularly experience discrimination, will feel relief after reading this book about someone else who has been through the same. It will validate and legitimize your emotions.
David shares his story so you can be free from dysconscious audism and have Deaf Pride.
Mainstreaming takes Deaf kids away each other and “assimilates” them into hearing society. That is the theory. The problem is that there are no Deaf teachers. Other minorities have teachers, but linguistic minorities do not.
Here is an article about black teachers that reminds me of Deaf teachers. I copied a few quotes and made some comments.
“I never had a teacher that looked like me,” Blue said. “I wanted to become a teacher because I wanted to influence future generations, and have kids see that I’m here, so you can be here, too. You can do this, too.”
“And also a sense of belongingness,” she said. “I have a greater sense of belongingness as a kid of color if I know there are adults in the environment that look like me.”
In my case- I had no Deaf adults to guide me in how to BE DEAF! I only learned how to pretend to be hearing.
“There’s an implicit message that we are sending to our students, that there’s a certain racial makeup (or level of hearing) we consider competent and professional.”
“We don’t have anyone to look up to…When you come into our schools, you see your white principal, and your white teachers. For some students, that can make them feel like those positions are only meant for those kinds of people,” said Teanna Brisco, 17.
Likewise for Deaf students in hearing schools with only hearing teachers, we feel the same- so we need Deaf teachers in hearing schools if we think Deaf students should be in hearing schools.
The Source Field Investigations: The Hidden Science and Lost Civilizations Behind the 2012 Prophecies
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning
Benjamin K. Bergen
When someone loves you they don’t have to say it. You can tell by the way they treat you.
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. -John C. Maxwell
Amplifying what is great within you will accelerate you life faster than trying to fix what you *think* ‘limits’ you. -Brendon Burchard
“You cant really be proud unless you know your history.” Nelson Mandela
Be the type of person that makes everyone you come across feel perfectly okay with being exactly who they are.
Ours choice of words are so vulnerable and weak. It’s always been the case as far as mankind could remember. People grossly misinterpret words on daily basis because there’s no accountability if they do. People even abuse words when they felt the need to misguide other. For that reason, scholars after scholars created grammar rules after rules in their desperate but foolish effort to try and strengthen the words, failing to realize that words were without souls. Words are not living things. ~ Barry Sewell
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear -Rumi
“Man’s concept of his world built on the experience of the five senses is no longer adequate and in many cases no longer valid.” —SHAFICA KARAGULLA
There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. -F.A. Hayek
The voice, I don’t need it. I even know how to sing in silence. -Atahualpa Yupanqui
“A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.” – James Baldwin
Before you judge others or claim any absolute truth consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
“People … don’t want to be cured or changed or eliminated. They want to be whoever it is that they’ve come to be” Andrew Solomon
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to understand. -Kushandwizdom
Don’t believe what they SAY. Believe what they DO. -Sam Stephens
“The problem is not that the deaf don’t hear, the problem is the hearing won’t listen.” -Rev. Jesse Jackson
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou
The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. -Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island
“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” -Deepak Chopra
An honest enemy is always better than a friend who lies. Pay less attention to what people say, and more attention to what they do. Their actions will show you the truth.
“They meet every once in a while to hear financial reports, pass resolutions, and adopt policies, without inviting any deaf man to their councils to give them the benefit of his experiences or views in bettering the education or welfare of the deaf children. If you doubt my statement, try to “butt in,” and see what’s coming to you. They will, as they have in the past, ignore you with cold, silent, proud contempt.” (Albert Ballin, 1861).
We all rely so much on speech, but there are so many other forms of communication, so much transmitted through the eyes and the heart. The deaf world has a huge amount to teach the hearing world -Bella Bathurst
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
— Andrew Carnegie
“It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.” -Seneca
Help me pick cover art for my book-
“You Are Deaf, Congratulations: The Deafhood Journey and Understanding Audism”
reversing who the minority is to prove how accommodation should be taken seriously #wheelchairs #Deaf #ADA
I’m watching Blackhawks hockey game and this guy at bar says, “That’s what I said!” because I said or somehow responded wrong. He was L.A. Kings fan and I was nodding in acknowledgement, not agreement (again, like Misunderstanding At Coffeeshop). What is wrong with people? They assume my nonverbal is an affirmation of their position rather than acknowledgement of interaction. I have not yet made judgment of agreeability to the statement. I am only nodding because I’m aware, not agree. Apparently, Hearies expect stillness from me until they are done blabbin’ their yakjaws about with whatever their position or opinion is and done stating it. Fuck off. I’m processing what I process, and I communicate what I communicate when I want to give info acknowledging interaction- shouldn’t that be appreciated? To know that I’m aware?
I guess Hearies assume I hear and don’t want any nonverbal communication from me that would misinform or befuddle their assumptions about what they expect based on Hearing methodology of communication, which I am not completely privy to. They interpret visual cues within their minimal nonverbal vocabulary. I should remember their limitations and dumb down my nonverbal output for them, so as not to confuse them. They are disabled. Not me. Fuck your poker face, stiff neck, and suit and tie. Staring me down like I’m an object supposed to respond to your soundwave projections. You are so boring to look at. Fuck you for misreading my nonverbal. You ignorant fucking Audist Hearie. What, you can insult Deaf but I can’t insult you? I’m neither anyway! So fuck all. Maybe Hard of Hearing is more like bisexual, interracial, or whatever third category. Its a spectrum.
Audist Hearies presume my submission and compliance as if my response was an indication that Im asking “how high” when you say “jump”? No. Im just letting you know I recognize that you are attempting, in your limited way, to communicate with me. Unfortunately ignorant, due to Audism, their common refrain is, “But I didn’t say anything!” When you know damn well over half of communication is nonverbal. The attitude that Deaf should do speech therapy and lipread and wear hearing devices is derived from Oralism, Audism, colonialism, evangelism, monoculture, monolingualism, ethnocentrism, and privilege. Language and communication is two-way street. I feel that the Deaf have long strived to meet more that halfway.
Hi, My name is Ginny and I am hard of hearing. I grew up in Spokane and was mainstreamed in the public schools. My education was supported with speech therapy, lip reading and use of hearing devices. I learned sign language in college and eventually used interpreters for the remaining of my courses at SCC. I am currently enrolled in EWU and working towards my certificate in Disability Studies. This quarter I have chosen to work on a Service Learning Project in which I am researching information pertaining to Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture. This information will be compiled and presented to my professor to use within the classroom. Could you take a few moments to answer the following questions? Your views and experiences are important as it allows students to learn how to gracefully approach a diverse population.
1. Do you consider yourself to be Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing?
Hard of Hearing (HOH) was the identity I was raised with, but I’m embracing my Deafhood, so I’m OK with being ‘Deaf’.
2. At what age were you diagnosed with hearing loss?
Three. My ears hurt so my mom took me in and they drained fluid from my ears. For awhile we thought there was an infection that caused hearing loss, but I’m starting to think it was congenital.
3. Please tell me about your use of hearing aids and assistive hearing devices throughout your life. How do you feel of the technology advancement of assistive hearing devices?
I was 5 when I got one hearing aid even though the ‘loss’ was bi-sensorineural. I think they thought I would adapt socially better? I got two hearing aids (one for each ear) when I went to college. The tech back then was mere analogue amplification and so hearing aids didn’t really help me. They only made the garble louder and background noise louder too. After college I quit hearing aids for 10 years, because I wanted to get in tune with my self (embodiment) and be non-dependent. I now have pair of digital aids and they are great because of noise compression and different programs for different listening situations.
4. How did your parents and family approach your hearing loss?
My family was Audist and Oralist (except for my brother, who introduced me to be conscious of my Deafhood in 2011). I never knew a single deaf or hoh person growing up. I had no idea about sign language. I was encouraged to act hearing, so I often lied about whether I heard something or not, because I wanted to be ‘good’.
5. What were your thoughts and feeling about being deaf/ hard of hearing as you grew up? What impact did those who you were close to have on your feelings about yourself?
I ignored my deafness, to my own peril, because every time I had a communication problem, it was always attributed a ‘bad attitude’ or ‘disobedience’.. everybody around me growing up treated me like a hearing person. My mom was careful to articulate and face me when talking, and interpret everything to me through her fundamentalist christian worldview. My parents divorced when i was three. Sometimes I wonder if my ears caused that. My dad didn’t think of me as hard of hearing or deaf, so I don’t think he understood my struggle in life, until recently.
6. Did you receive your education in a mainstream program or a residential/deaf school as you grew up? What are your thoughts about your educational experience and about mainstreaming and deaf schools? If you could change anything within your education, what would it be? Why?
Mainstreamed. Every deaf/hoh child needs ASL and a Deaf mentor and peers. Period.. no question about it! If I had people around me who understood my ‘worldview’ that would have gone a long way in validating my feelings and perspectives. But as it was, nobody understood me or had true empathy or whatever to allow my feelings about matters from Deaf perspective to be legitimated. So I always fucking doubted myself, as if what I thought about things was wrong. Because nobody mirrored those things back to me, but rather always told me my attitude was wrong. I was even taken to a faith healer and he threw my hearing aid- after the service I had to crawl on my hands and knees under the pews to retrieve my hearing aid- on the way home I had to confess my sin as to why I wasn’t healed.
7. What are your thoughts about Deaf culture? What impact is mainstream schooling having on Deaf culture?
Deaf culture is under attack from second wave of Oralism. Deaf culture needs to be respected. Hearing people who profit off ‘fixing deaf’ will continue to lobby govt to be allowed to infiltrate and dismantle Deaf culture to keep us disempowered and dependent on their technology instead of organic ASL.
8. What is your preferred means of communication? What means of communication do you usually use with your family and those close to you? What are your thoughts about how your family chooses to communicate with you?
Spoken English is my native language but I’m bitter about being denied ASL. Active listening is such a fucking energy depleting activity that an 8 hour workday in hearing environment is like working 12. I don’t really go to family events anymore. I don’t hear everything in group situations. My parents defend raising me how they did (it was the 70’s) and so it is difficult to converse with them on matters regarding MY Deafhood and MY experience without resorting to defensiveness and justifications. My brother is my biggest supporter, though.
9. How much do you associate with others who are deaf or hard of hearing? How important is it to you to be connected with deaf/ hard of hearing folks?
I remember as a kid once I saw another kid with hearing aids and I intentionally avoided him (dysconscious audism). I joined Deaf club couple years ago, though, and I made some deaf friends on facebook. In that process, I felt discriminated against by facebook because of how Deaf communicate. I actively seek friendships now with Deaf/HOH. I took some ASL classes at community college.
10. What advice would you offer to parents of deaf and/or hard of hearing children?
Your Deaf kid needs ASL and other Deaf people to associate with! DO NOT do cochlear implant. It is still experimental and should only be given to consenting adults. Never deny a CI baby his/her rightful use of native language of their ethnicity- ASL!
11. What advice would you offer to your community in regards to deafness and/or hearing loss?
Deaf people need equal rights that have been afforded other minorities. Deaf is not a disability. Denial of accommodation causes disability. It is a social problem, not biological. Bilingualism is the answer. Deaf people have perspectives that are an asset to any organization. Deaf are not a liability. Deaf is beautiful.
Deaf Rights means equal access to information. It is the right to independence, the same as a wheelchair has right to have a ramp to enter a building, Deaf have a right to information in public building or workplace via text, captions, teleprompters. Most already have flashing lights on fire alarms, but we can do better.
I learned about noise sensitivity recruitment related to deafness and how it causes pain in the ears. Why some sounds frequencies are louder and all words rhyme and sound mumbly. I thought I had tinnitus but I think it is actually recruitment because I don’t seek to mask the ringing with more sound, but rather seek to avoid sound that causes the ringing. I get vertigo sometimes. When I was three I had inner ear fluid infection possibly from Meniere’s Disease or Labyrinthitis, had tubes put in to drain the fluid. Nobody knows if my deafness is congenital, but I suspect is it. I was just at a Jonsson wedding and I found out it runs in the family.
I now have a vocabulary to describe the problem that I’ve been having that was related to the discrimination of my disability at former employer. I asked for quieter work environment twice, I asked for Leave of Absence, my ears hurt but they denied my requests for reasonable accommodation for my disability. Instead they put me on probation for communication failure then terminated my employment when I ran out of sick days. They accused me of lying and said to me ‘You should just use discretionary time, for days you want off because it’s a nice day outside.’
They denied my request for visual L.E.D. text scroller ticker to accommodate in conjunction with public speaker announcements. I didn’t hear my name being called over the P.A., which got me in trouble, which led to me trying to tell coworker I didn’t hear my name -the communication failure was that I was speaking in a manner that customers could hear me. But how could I know that customers could hear my voice when I can’t hear theirs? Here is a link about “voice accidentally too loud.” I got in trouble for not using phone properly when calling in sick and they don’t allow text or email. I got in trouble for not answering the phone, that I didn’t hear. She lied about that. My phone record showed no missed calls.
So as far as my communication failure, in regards to using phone properly, I was supposed to speak to a specific person. But I don’t use phone as preferred method but when I have to I will call and say my message then hope I dont have to hear anything. I’ll probably misunderstand so I didnt want to be transferred and have to have a dialogue with someone else too. Its like making someone in a wheelchair go up that one extra step as punishment. Making me communicate on phone to more people, having to listen harder.
The essence of the discrimination is from the fact that they did not accommodate my needs for visual information, quieter work environment, or time off- even with specific requests and doctors notes. At the end of the day I failed probation and it was discrimination.
One time my boss sat me down for my first review and told me co-workers don’t think I’m doing my job. I explained it is because I am Deaf. I am always responsible to advocate for myself with pre-emptive FYI’s about my ears. Sometimes they don’t get it, or I fail to tell them directly (how often and specifically am I supposed to do that?), or they forget (because it is an “invisible disability”), but the axe always falls on me.
I am protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). I am Deaf. I deserve to receive compensation from this complaint I filed with Civil Rights Department of City Madison. Disability Discrimination is a real thing and it needs to be treated seriously. Without protections in place, to give leverage for enforcement through litigation, employers are not and will not be held accountable unless employees file Disability Discrimination Complaints. Unless we utilize ADA protections, future Deaf will continue to suffer the effects of Audism, albeit dysconscious, but ignorance is not an excuse.
“Sabino v. Ohio State University: Mr. Stein represented a deaf sports fan who could not understand the aural information projected over the public address system at Ohio State University’s home football and basketball games. The parties entered into a consent decree calling for Ohio State University to provide captioning at sports events.”
1. I made reasonable request for accommodation and was denied (text for P.A.).
2. I made request for L.O.A. (I was 1 month short of F.M.L.A.) and was denied. I needed to rest my ears. I had two doctors notes on the matter. It was later determined I had hyperacusis, tinnitus, ear aches, hair cell fatigue, cochlear dead zones, on top of congenital bi-sensorineural hearing loss. (I just got new hearing aids since then, which may it be noted, I did not have hearing aids while working at former employer. So obviously, they kept forgetting about my day-to-day reality of being Deaf/Hard of Hearing because they didn’t have a visual reminder like a wheelchair.)
3. When I filed complaint of disability discrimination to City of Madison Department of Civil Rights, they found No Probable Cause. The former employer hired a corrupt attorney who filled the response with lies, distractions, and non-issues to skirt around the real issue. I contacted over two dozen attorneys, but nobody would represent me. I did not file an appeal.
4. They denied my unemployment insurance benefit.
5. They cut my Cobra insurance short of the mandatory 18 months, which cost me hours and hours of time to rectify, even having to bring in a lawyer to make them comply to law.
6. I got a letter saying I had 90 Day Right To Sue at Federal court. So I explored my options, and determined not to keep fighting. At this point I feel my energy and resources are better allocated to writing. I did what I could, but I am moving on with my life. Perhaps in the future, we will have more lawyers to fight for the Deaf.
Update (7.17.14) I googled “Noise Induced Vertigo” and learned about Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS), Tullio Phenomenon, conductive hyperacusis, and Hennebert’s Sign that help explain the conditions (noise and vibrations causing me ear pain) I was having towards the end of my employment. But instead of my employer working with me to determine the problem, they assumed I was lying and fired me. I have spent over 2 years now, since employment was terminated, researching the issue I am having. I finally feel equipped to present a case, only to find out statute of limitations has expired so I have no recourse for justice for being fired for my disability. I am upset the doctors and lawyers did not help me.