Wednesday, October 13, 2004

keep it up yanks

just a little note there... watched the yankees with my father last night. lots of fun.

in other news, kind of frustrated with deaf politics these days. why does so much of it revolve around entertainment? yeah, captioning movies is cool. but it's not exactly the kind of thing people rally around. movies? television? how about taking back our community? our schools? how about forming foundations to tell the government more about deaf people (since Gallaudet refuses to adopt that role?) how about forming a cross-cultural and cross-social group to help unite various oppressed groups with one voice? god knows we have plenty of issues in common with women, racial minorities, and other social minorities.

right now most deaf-politics seems to revolve around the meme that we want to be the same as hearing people. access same, equality same. yet we want to remain different. we want to value our cultures and our indigenous languages. the two aren't always contradictory. but it would be unproductive to not recognize that, yes, sometimes, they are. like: if we have equal access to schools, is it possible to retain a healthy identity as a Deaf person? okay, possible, but likely? what about our linguistic development?

you know, i'm what international signers call half-deaf: i live in both deaf and hearing worlds, not really because i'm hard of hearing (i'm not) but because i was raised by a very loving hearing family. and while i love deaf people and the deaf world, i'm not going to let go of my family. and that means being open to the hearing world, being interested in what hearing people do. as an outsider and observer, yeah, but still, interested. i went through mainstream programs like a bowling ball. and finally, one day, i was given the choice: try a Deaf school, MSSD, or keep going to hearing schools in New York.

and I chose MSSD. and it changed my life forever, in ways I'm still trying to understand. I know a lot of you reading this went through the same thing. i mean, before then, i didn't really have many friends. a few people here and there. but you understand, the friendship was limited. it was like... saying hello, that kind of thing. how are you. and then all of a sudden i realized i could predict how someone would react, and I could do stuff i knew they would like. i had people i felt comfortable with. i didn't always need to talk to them because i knew how they would feel about things, and they were the same to me. and i became a part of people's lives, and they became part of mine. it's called community, and based on personal experience and stories shared by others I feel this is what's denied to mainstream students: the opportunity to be part of a community, specifically the community that is a school.

mssd was cool because gally was right there. we were part of a bigger community. and kendall was there too, which meant we could see ourselves as we were, to some extent. it can be kind of mind blowing for those of us not born into deaf families. but what bugs me is how this isn't... admitted to. community isn't seen as important. but we find ourselves through other people. yeah, you can go off and soul-search all you like. but growing up? as a teenager? adolescent? we have all those friends, all those phone calls. because we want to find ourselves, and we do it by talking to other people, trying on opinions, attitudes, ideas like excited girls in the mall try on clothes. i'm not sure someone who doesn't have that, and isn't lucky enough to happen onto a community elsewhere, will develop into a multifaceted person... i dunno. whatchall think?

and bringing it back to the yankees - i stopped watching them when i became deaf. now i think this is largely because i didn't have anyone to watch with... now i do... galore... and it's fucking awesome. plus ive rediscovered my childhood ga-ganess over pitchers... YO MOOSE!

1 comment:

merfz in da h00d said...

what in the fuck!? nobody's commented yet!? heart-touch same. half-deaf...sounds like me. i just got back from watching kenton country regulators perform bluegrass; the mandolin player, brad, has been promised a tee as soon as i make it.

deaf politics--mm-hmm. well-meaning hearing people are everywhere flubbing up still, and they ARE well-meaning in the society we maintain. if we wanna get pissed at them, we have to change the norm, make it so they can no longer be viewed as sweet darlings who just went OOPSIES.