Friday, September 22, 2006

347: Gallaudet; The Healthy Deaf Person

It's funny. I mentioned many times during the Gallaudet protest last Spring that it was Jane Fernandes who began to put out the word that the protest was about her not being Deaf enough. Even her aides are spreading the word. y3 has noticed the same thing, and Ridor points out that now the Student congress has rejected Jane Fernandes, the administration is objecting based on the fact that the faculty and students thought the interpreter wasn't good enough; that they are claiming AGAIN that people are trying to divide the Deaf community. It sounds very much like Republicans saying if people want to be bipartisan, they have to vote Republican... These statements do nothing but inflame people's feelings. They do not repair the damage to our community. And to me, the fact that the administration is upset because people claimed the interpreter wasn't good enough? Did anyone ask if the terp was certified? And why a terp was needed at Gallaudet University at ALL? What is Jane Fernandes' strategy for improving diversity and acceptance of diversity at Gallaudet? They actually used the phrase "purebloods" and "mudbloods" in a letter for Goddess' sake! They are fighting against the concept of Deafhood because Deafhood would remove these divisions by encouraging people to RESPECT each other's paths in life and supporting each other in examining those lives. This would help eliminate division and create community - isn't that what they want?

I don't know what will happen with the Presidency but for the sake of the students I hope they get the courage to protest the oppression of their freedom of speech. The fact that the administration isn't more concerned about interpreter quality feels like it has some connection with that. They don't want a dialogue. They want to give the appearance of dialogue, and let the community fight amongst themselves. It also shows disrespect to the interpreting community, which is based at Gallaudet.

And now for today's entry...

What does it mean to be a healthy Deaf person in America today?

For starters, stress reduction. Being Deaf automatically means we have higher stress due to daily communication difficulties. It's very important to identify ways to reduce stress. Do you need time alone? Do you need to improve your safety? Travelling is always stressful; alerts for changes of gate (as this blog by Taylor Mayer demonstrates) are often difficult to naviate, although this news that you can soon download software to your mobile phone so people in the station will alert you of changes sounds great.

Another way to reduce stress is to anticipate problems. Dr. Ladd in his book "Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood" describes a situation where a Deaf man who grew up in an Oral environment was astonished at the fact that all the older Deaf people he met had pad and pen ready for communication. These days I use my Blackberry to order drinks.

We also have to deal with the health issues in the hospital or with the doctor. Sadly, many doctors opt out of providing interpreters because they claim it places an undue burden on their small practices. Hospitals have better luck, but as Mishka Zena reports they don't always like to accomodate you, and sometimes their accomodations aren't satisfactory. Ridor was able to advocate for his father - but what do you do if you're a sick person on medication and alone? It really is important to have a card or something with your ID in your purse or wallet identifying you as Deaf. That way you might be able to get a terp, whether qualified or no, and having some access to communication means you can begin fighting for yourself (as well as your health.)

We also have to take care of our eyes. Deaf people must listen actively. We must use our eyes all the time. Our eyes work with muscles. They get exhausted. Interpreters get breaks every twenty minutes, but we do not. So many of my friends have declining eyesight - we must take basic measures of health to maintain our valuable eyesight! Taking multivitamins, eating your carrots, resting your eyes in the darkness, all of these are good skills to maintain eyesight. There are some tips to take care of your vision (and here's another good link for parents to share with kids.)

Why is this so important to me? Well, how else will you read this blog? Have a good weekend, may do another vlog then.


patricia raswant said...


Just to let you know that you could view the entire grievance letter that a group of teachers wrote to the GU BoT at


patti said...

sorry, lemme try this way...