reversing who the minority is to prove how accommodation should be taken seriously #wheelchairs #Deaf #ADA
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.
Crazy dreams last night.. Working in a warehouse and I couldn’t hear co-workers. Instead of pretending to hear or trying to do the job based on partial perception via auditory receptions, I just told them, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Perhaps my subconscious is finally coming into my consciousness of my true identity or whatever.
It’s a lot easier to accept my ‘lot in life’ when I know who I AM. I’m not saying not to have ‘unrealistic’ expectations, but you ain’t gonna play ‘normal’ football if your legs are paralyzed. My whole life I’ve been told I could, and when I can’t, society blames me for not trying hard enough. So I spend disproportionate amount of time trying to be something I’m not, because Audism of doctors sell lie that Deaf can/should be fixed. Fuck ‘em.
Oh well. I’m middle aged now. tired. dont care. Im just gonna wake up each day saying thank you, for what I have, for who I am. Instead of fucking striving for my salvation. NO! I am perfect NOW! Fuck you if you think I’m broke. There is no normal. There is no perfect standard. It’s all a spectrum. Celebrate Diversity! Linguistic Minority.
So the issue is epistemic violence and identity. Do we call people in crutches hard-of-walking? No. and neither do we say they are fixed. Hearing Aids don’t fix Deaf either. Being “handicapped” and/or “disabled” is not a problem. The worse injustice is being that, but yet held to standard of expected to be able to play ‘normal’ football even though in wheelchair. That’s the problem with HOH label- It divides Deaf Community by not allowing the bulk of us to learn ASL. Being denied sign language and mainstreaming and oralism actually is, in fact, what disables us. We deserve 100% access to a communication form that can be understood. Fuck lipreading.
This spot is too loud for my ears now, too. I think it is the accumulated perpetual machine hum frequency over time that wears out the hyperstimulated recruited hair cells on cochlea, creating ringing. So I got noise-cancelling digital signal processors (hearing aids). Machines to beat the machines. I think I might like to build a 12×12 off grid, quiet place with woodburner. Start a garden. Give my ears a rest from def con 4. This hypervigilance and lipreading wears me out. But I’m not in the Deaf World either, yet, thanks to mainstreaming and oralism. Society thinks it is easier for them, but what about me and my access to complete a language (ASL)?
Damn work truck in the park and road noise hum coming at me from other side. How long must I suffer? I am just going to have to keep walking I guess. My life with sound.. My audiophonic journal.. For some reason, they tell me I listen wrong. They say I don’t use my ears properly. Maybe that is why I am judging my sonic experience right now. These are MY ears. I am fine. I do what I want with them. #MyBodyMyChoice
For some reason, all I hear is the bandwidth of machine vibrations, not voice frequencies. Industrialism is the problem, not my ears. It is a conspiracy to unsettle the masses (432hz sacred healing vibration vs 440hz the Devil’s interval). These sonic weapons in the name of progress and jobs, keeping us busy and confused. But some people say that tinnitus is god.
Being Deaf in the Holographic Universe, I am connected. Not by virtue of hearing aids, which is an external, but by an internal feeling. Ultimately people just want to feel good. If I am happy now then I don’t need to be fixed. But when I grew up they told me to try to be more hearing. So I felt incomplete and disconnected because of the lie they told me that unless I buy their product and communicate like they do, I will be less than them. This is Audism. I cant be hearing. I’ve tried. It’s exhausting.
Normal people spend 5% energy listening, Deaf/HOH people spend 50% trying to lipread and focus, etc. Fuuuuuck that. def con 4 my whole life gave me PTSD. I just want to be conscious of my connectedness, not the medical disability diagnosis. The problem is trying to hear, not ‘not hearing’. Im learning ASL and I wanted digital hearing aids for the compression of certain frequencies that cause noise recruitment and tinnitus. But this is not for you. Because if our communication connection efforts were equal, you would sign to me, yet you speak so I try to listen. But you don’t try anything. Expend zero effort.
I guess I wish that “the hearing people” would see Deaf people as equally valuable. One way to achieve that is education. The idea of Holographic Universe tells us that we are all connected and therefore each one of us has the whole universe in us, individually, as a part of the whole. The whole is in the part. So if I dont hear something, that does not mean I am incomplete or unwhole, but rather that I have a different mode of being, or way of living. Stop the medical judgements and condemnations of Deaf people. Accept the enlightened perspective that we are all a spectrum and have different methods of communication.
I say it alot, but we are a diversity, not a disability. Each person has equal value. The only thing that is broke is Audism industry that says we are broke. How would you like to live your whole life being told you are broken. At least with religion you can get ‘saved’. But the lies from medical field who seduce parents to drill cochlear implants into babies heads and brainwash with useless speech therapy, all the while neglecting actual education of real content like history, etc. They spend all the time in school trying to change deaf kids, instead of accepting us and using our language.
So I do my part by blogging on the issue. The best way I can think of shifting the discourse from medical people monopolizing the conversation about the Deaf, is to encourage the actual Deaf populace to fight back with sharing content of our actual feelings and attitudes and experiences on the matter. It angers me that the bulk of organizations who set out to work with Deaf people are comprised of Hearing people with the sole agenda based on a judgement that we need to be fixed. How insulting. I am tired of it.
Again, the Holographic Universe idea, like the Jeweled Net of Indra, is to emphasize our interconnectedness, or pratityasamutpada. The goal is love, which is accepting people as they are. If you think “helping” Deaf people is to make us different, please read Mask of Benevolence.
Question: Isn’t to say, as a vegetarian, that to not eat something with a face- wouldn’t that imply your presumed superiority of life forms that have a face over purportedly ‘inanimate’, face-less life forms? As if having a face precludes exemption from consumption? I say that is being speciesist against plants! We are all equal, face or not. Everything has consciousness, or a ‘within’ as Teilhard di Chardin calls it. At what point in evolution- when between the slime and whatever walked out of the swamp became a reptile perhaps then monkey then human- like suddenly because something has a face now it becomes uneatable? What difference is there between plant and animal? Is it the existence of a face that defines the owner as having a higher form of consciousness or life-force? Don’t some animals not have a face (corals)? Butterflies have fake faces on wings. I suppose some plants might have faces or permeations/permutations thereof. Its not so cut and dry.
Its all a spectrum. To me, when I hear a vegetarian say dont eat faces, I think that is the same self-righteous dualism of christians who say be not unequally yolked or whatever. As if one were better than the other, in terms of ‘gods creation’. Im not saying eat somebodies face off, by no means. Im saying that plants have feelings too, and it is discrimination against face-less life forms to say ye shall be eaten only, unlike the superior face-wearing creatures of the earth whom I so falsely attribute glory by not eating it. Maybe the animal is pleased to be respectfully sacrificed that we may live. Native Americans tell of deer hunts or something, some animal anyway, that will make eye contact and communicate to its hunter that it is OK to attack it as prey. It submits to the life cycle honorably. The Indian gives thanks to the Great Spirit that is in ALL (in plants also, not just animals).
This leads me to the Holographic Universe idea that the whole is in the part. The Divine Spark is in every molecule. Even dirt and rocks are endowed with living, breathing energy, albeit slower and more dense. But in quantum physics, if you look at microscopic level of all matter is mostly empty space and otherwise moving particles/molecules or whatever the little things are. Point being, the fucking desk and chair is as nonexistent as empty space. We have merely solidified and collapsed the wavefront to create furniture due to social agreement and collective consciousness. Anything, without having an Observer to collapse the wavefront into particle form, will ‘deteriorate’ and decompose back into nothingness of dirt which grows life of plants. So it is ALL life! Everything and every step of every process has value.
Every human has value. Example: Deaf People don’t need to be fixed. Sound is not the superior wave form for communication. Audism believes so, in the same way vegetarians are dualist and zoocentrist saying face-less life forms are superior nutrient providers on the basis of assuming being face-less means not having feelings or consciousness.
You have to know and accept you are Deaf before you can perceive that you are not hearing. The reason this is important, and why the HOH label is potentially epistemically violent: one, because of its disability/deficiency model, and two, because it denys the right of HOH to BE DEAF! It is an onerous burden to try to listen. I am not genetically predisposed to process audio sonic EM frequencies, therefore it is like the whole gay thing. Let ‘them’ be, let me be. I have a right to not be held accountable to anything spoken to me. Do not assume I hear. Until you know how I communicate, please defer on the side of me being what you would perceive of as being deaf. But then how do you talk to me? I know. Its not easy. Its like a foreign language. I think differently because of embodied cognition. Therefore, y’know, how I basically think and do everything is thru a template that cannot be ‘fixed’ with more EM frequencies. Hearing aids make me a different person. period. not better, not worse. sometimes easier, sometimes not.
Its like Swiss chesse. Hearing aids do not fill the holes. Hearing is just a different slice of cheese with holes (deficiencies) in different locations. or a different type of cheese maybe. Wearing hearing aids is like a behavioral modification/drug, like Adderall, lets say, and what Im saying is we all resonate at different frequencies and each of us has value to bring on the basis of our individual energy. Each slice of cheese has its own assets. No one cheese is better than another piece. Accept who you are. You are not broken. Being a linguistic minority is not a disability. It is society’s non-accommodation and non-inclusion, albeit dysconscious or unconscious, that is debilitating. Don’t blame the victim for not getting out of the wheelchair that you can’t see. thank you.
Im not saying failure to communicate is your fault. It takes two. And a meeting of the minds is simply a choice to connect that shouldn’t be determined by, or limited to, communication style. Connecting doesn’t require hearing aids. It comes from empathetic heart and open chakras. Understanding Holographic Universe and Quantum Physics helps us get beyond limited thinking.
Fuck you. yeah, Im feelin’ it. angry. wanna break somethin. Im done. dont know with what. Maybe I can fast tmrw. I can. but while driving job? It’ll make me more alert actually? and I dont know, just skip the evening coffee? whatevs. 24 no food tho. tired of it. then next day no smoke. every 24 minimize one thing instead of doing everything everyday. one day no music? no real estate. no talking… I miss being alone. That part of me is dead right now and Im getting angry about it. Im having a hard time keeping this ‘game’ up. What is it. I just miss myself OK? fuck you. everybody. Maybe its a Deaf thing, I dont know. Writing to write… My fuckin brain is out of sync. blame the woman? the job (driving)? This stupid fucking real estate wholesaling business? Maybe I gotta get outta Madison. The vibrations of industry and infrastructure… y’know, my fuckin ears been ringing since I moved up here. but lately I just ignore it. wear hearing aids to cancel certain frequencies. but its also a perception thing. Im interested in Sound Art. or sound studies anyway. The history of Aural Architecture and all that Sonic related y’know physics of it and linguistics of it and whatever else the fuck. particularly Deafhood of it. How I, as HOH, define what sound means to me, not in terms of medical deficiency model, but as an art form, an EM frequency to be used at MY discretion + will, as a Deaf Person. I choose to respond or not. Whether I hear it or not is for me to decide. You dont tell me what I hear and you dont tell me how to respond to sonic cues, as if I were a mere Audio-Reactor. No. My attention is on visual and or how i feel or what I’m thinking. Wearing hearing aids puts me off center after awhile. Im more comfortable being who I am, not bionic. the tool is not necessary #nondependency. Nor do you have a right to assume it so. #MyBodyMyChoice
I’ll be alright. I’ve just gotta let go more. To resist what I perceive I don’t want, empowers that over me. To let it be is to empower yourself that you are centered, not needing to react or push away.