350: Concrete Audism
What are Audistic behaviors? My new book of the week is Glickman's "Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach." This awesome book has a list of abusive responses to deaf/Deaf people by hearing people which I would like to examine. I want to help further the discourse on Audism currently happening at Gallaudet and elsewhere. I reproduce a short list here, with my comments:
- Drawing erroneous and damning conclusions from inappropriate psychological testing. ("Do you hear voices?" "No, I'm Deaf.")
- Diagnosing deaf people as mentally retarded, autistic, or schizophrenic, and allowing them to languish in institutions. (I remember one woman from MSSD, very sweet, who had been in an institution for several years because nobody realized she was deaf.)
- Holding a medical conception of what it means to be deaf-deafness as a pathology, a handicap, and a tragedy-and therefore believing that deaf people need to be "fixed."
- Believing that deaf people are disabled not just in being unable to hear, but intellectually, emotionally, and morally. (I see this all the time.)
- Promoting the idea of the psychology of deafness, that deaf people are unintelligent, egocentric, concrete, irresponsible, impulsive, immature, paranoid, and so on. (Ironic! I often see the same people who complain about divisiveness in the Deaf community, go on to say that "All Deaf people are..." It's the same with women's studies: the men complain that they are being left out, then immediately go on to say "Well, all women do this and this," and don't see why the women are pissed off.)
- Actively discriminating against Deaf people in hiring and promotions. (Mostly because of access. I will be talking about this book's take on access, and my own attendance at a speech Glickman gave, as soon as I have the time.)
- Showing paternalism, pity and contempt toward Deaf people. (Sometimes, if you use an interpreter who is lousy and makes you sound like a petulant five-year-old... well, it's tough.)
- Excluding of the Deaf community from decision making on key matters, such as educational policies and medical procedures that pertain to Deaf people.
- Disempowering them around communication, resulting in communication isolation. (Happens all the time, especially in hospitals.)
Pick a number. Do you experience audism, based on these categories? How do you work against these ideas?