I’m having a dilemma and I’d really appreciate some feedback.
Background: I am the hearing child of deaf parents, have worked with disability charities before and have extensive customer services experience.
On the surface it seems like the perfect job for me and I’m pretty certain that if I applied I would have a good chance of getting it, with a little more research I come up against some serious problems. A lot of what this organisation stands for goes against principals that I hold very dear to my heart. I’ve looked through the site and the literature they’ve sent me with the application pack and their view of deafness seems almost wholly negative. Having grown up with Deaf parents and within the deaf community, I balk when deafness is described as a “tragedy”. It’s not.
Many deaf people live very full and productive lives and if given the choice, would not choose to be hearing. They’re proud of deaf culture and reject the notion that deafness is in itself a bad thing.
But this organisation (the very name - Defeating Deafness gives an idea of what it’s about) is all about how terrible being deaf is and how to help in the struggle against it. I don’t want to defeat deafness. I want to help deaf people gain access to information that they may not otherwise get (which this job is all about, on the surface), but I don’t want to be pushing the “here’s how to get rid of your deafness” line. I wouldn’t be comfortable insinuating that a person needs to be hearing to be happy. My view is that if you’re unhappy being deaf then by all means you should seek treatment, but that trying to be hearing isn’t always the best possible course. Sometimes it’s more productive to accept deafness and work with it, even be proud of deaf culture. This organisation doesn’t mention this anywhere at all.
A headline in the most recent bulletin: “Deafness Damages Relationships”. It includes the words “deafness robs people of their confidence”. I’m not sure I want to work for an organisation with such a negative view of deafness. I recognise the difficulties that deaf people face - I saw them every day growing up - but it doesn’t have to ruin lives, and being deaf doesn’t have to make people unhappy. I’m much more about promoting the achievements of deaf people and encouraging people to be happy with who they are rather than reaching for a cure that doesn’t exist yet.
But. It seems foolish to not go for a job I have a good chance of getting. I’ve just been made redundant and I don’t have another job lined up. The salary is good. Perhaps I could work from the inside, as it were. It just seems a bit high-and-mighty not to go for it - it is a job after all.
I don’t know what to do.