Friday, September 08, 2006

339: FSSA/Oppression? Gallaudet holds... conference

What do people think about this letter, posted today on MishkaZena's blog?

I was impressed by it. I was impressed by the complexity and depth of the author's statement of oppression. There are obviously problems at many levels - gender, racial, class - you name it. Two paragraphs which struck me I quote here: joining FSSA, in standing behind the recent press release, I am apparently taking part in an "insubornation of the administration." I don’t comprehend this. In asking for freedom we are simply asking that people stop oppressing us. If this is insubornation, so be it. I refuse to subordinate to the oppressive majority and in doing so I am letting you know I am not willing to be a victim- nor am I willing to contribute to the problem.

I am tired of walking through halls of the signing community to find that people are not signing. I am tired of being second guessed because I am a woman. I am tired of wondering whether I got a job because I am qualified or because I am deaf. I am tired of patronizing looks and expectation that I'm not good enough because I choose not to use my voice. I am tired of seeing certain people move up in spite of their abuse of power. I am tired of unequal allocation of office space. I am tired of students of color coming to me and clearly not feeling completely understood but having no choice because there are no other staff of color they can go to. I am tired of the subtle insults about gay and lesbian people, the lack of sensitivity towards gender identity. I am tired of not being able to say with complete honesty that I feel cochlear implants send a subtle message that deafness is a disease when others are given free rein to promote such technology.

It also made me realize, a lot of these problems at Gallaudet have been festering for a long time. Well, I know there was a Principal kicked out of MSSD for his sexuality, but while I was there, it did seem like a very progressive school, with a lot of support. Black and white and asian - everyone was really mixed up. Towards my senior year, I remember seeing a little more divisiveness, but... I'm glad she got a chance to speak. This seems a lot like what happens when employees form unions to stand up to the oppression of an uncaring administration. Do Gallaudet employees have any union standing?

And I'm not sure how to deal with the author's view that CI send a message that there is dis-ease about deafness. Although I'm willing to accept it, for now, and think about how that can change.

I decided to go check out the news section at Gallaudet's website. It's about as complete as a channel without a television. Seems completely empty. What do Gallaudet people do for news these days?

Oh, right. They check blogs. There's no statements from the President about this protest. Instead there is a note about this conference:

Gallaudet hosts conference

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Hearing Enhancement (RERC-HE), in conjunction with Gallaudet University and New York University - School of Medicine, will hold the State of Science Conference on Hearing Enhancement on Sept. 18-20 at the Kellogg Conference Hotel.


Researchers, clinicians, industry representatives and consumers from the fields of hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive technologies, dual sensory loss (hearing-vision) and rehabilitation therapies will join together to assess the state of the science in adult aural rehabilitation and identify future research needs.

Posted: 8 Sep 2006

I guess Black Widow will continue to feel dis-ease. I wonder if any Deaf Studies specialists will be there. I think the key to the future is not refusing technology, but infusing ourselves in it. Let's take over tech and make it develop our way!

Thought experiment: if you could develop a device to help you perceive sound, but not necessarily HEAR it, what would you create? A watch that changed colors, like an iTunes visualiser?

I got my Deafhood book back today from the Demon Queen, THANK YOU! So more on Deafhood soon, probably.


Anonymous said...

Very nicely put.

Here's the reason I refuse to consider CI as treating deafness as a disease. In essence, a CI is nothing more than an implanted hearing aid. If a CI means the person is "diseased" then so does a hearing aid.

And that's patently silly. It's an assistive device, exactly like a hearing aid, a pair of glasses, a cane. It is a means of constructively dealing with a state of being in such a way as the person chooses.

It is their choice; and no criticism should be attached to it.

Wildstarryskies said...

deaf technology? Definitely a voice decoder (captions). That is small, portable, fits in my pocket, and I could use anywhere with a 16 hour battery. AND it costs less than $300

Queenalpo said...

Opinions about CI notwithstanding, her point really is that she doesn't feel free to express her opinion against while those for apparently have "free rein" to promote their opinions all they want.

Why this is, I'm not sure, but that was her point; freedom of expression on a collegiate campus should be a given, whatever that expression is.

Anonymous said...

I find that very interesting: on careful reading, she's saying (I think; damn double & triple negatives) that she actually does NOT feel comfortable saying that CI are bad. Erm. I would have thought that at Galloudet anyone in *favor* of CI would be fucking burned at the stake.


Well if she *doesn't* like CI that's great, that's fine, I would defend to the death her right not to have CI.

But if she tries to prevent *someone else* from having a CI, then that's completely and utterly unacceptable.

Who are we to decide what someone else decides to do?

An opinion is one thing. Forcing a closure of the door to *other people* is not acceptable.

I'm just saying.