Monday, March 20, 2006

No pity, no nothing?



Jamie Berke of About.com, the great comprehensive website which has a ton of Deaf resources, has this to say about the No Pity bits:
Actually, It is a Typical Deaf Experience
The Deaf in the City blog has started a semi-regular feature, the "No Pity" edition, in which blogger Joseph focuses on news articles about deaf people who seem to feel sorry for themselves. In this blog post, he links to a news article about a deaf woman who had social challenges growing up. I read the article and her experience is actually quite typical of deaf people who grew up decades ago. My own experience was like that.

Yeah, but I haven't seen you whine about it or use your pain and suffering to get attention. I had social challenges growing up. So does pretty much any minority. But almost weekly some story about how horrible it is being deaf pops up in the news and I'm sick of it.

I grew up in a mainstreamed school. At the age of five I had other students bang my head on the ground to get whatever was blocking my hearing, out of my head. At the age of nine on the first day of class my math teacher decided Deaf people shouldn't be taking math. I wasn't allowed to be involved in after school activities until I got to a Deaf school. And god forbid I get a certified interpreter.

But I hate people complaining about it just to get pity, or reporters writing stories to pull at people's heart strings. If an individual wants to share experiences with other Deafies to gain strength and understanding that is one thing-is great and very important. But these are just "human interest" stories to make people go "Oh how terrible" and it's hard to see how they benefit Deaf or hearing people. Hearing people usually just wind up thinking our lives are worse than they really are.

What do you think? Thanks to Jamie Berke for beginning this discussion.

1 comment:

CK said...

I was not allowed to play junior high football because I was deaf and couldn't "hear" the whistle. My mom sued the school for violating my civil rights. I finally played the following year.

The same thing also happened with my wife. In elementary school, they told her mother that she would never learn English.

Furious, my mother-in-law took my wife out of that school, forever snubbed her nose at them.

Now, look at my wife, a doctoral student at GWU -- in English literature.

I can so relate with your experiences.