Fuck you, Deaf "Community"

This happens a lot at RIT. While it’s far from the majority, there are some deaf students that want to steer the class conversation and 99% of all professors let them.

The one that didn’t (who is still there and still teaching American Politics) was my hero.

Yeah, it’s in our scrapbook. I keep meaning to follow up with the guy, see how much he was able to accomplish. (I seem to remember he went to the same Dallas audiologists that my daughter first went to.)

Funny-ish hijack: after reading that article, I tracked down Bolero to see what is was like. It’s classical music, so it should be safe to put in the CD jukebox that plays over the PA at the book store I work at, right? As soon as the music comes on, my boss goes into a frenzy, running to the back office, yanking the CD out, and coming back to the front to demand who the hell put it in there. I guess the repetitive musical themes which the author of that article latched on to, can really bug some other people.

Of course, it was amusing to see her blow a fuse again a month later when a co-worker put some Philip Glass in the CD changer.

She was generally a good boss, but a bit melodramatic at times.

The militant Pianist community weeps over your friends’ decision.

I seem to recall someone on another forum mentioning that text-messaging and Blackberries are big in the Deaf community. However, from what I read, they tended to communicate using lots of abbreviations, short-hand, and ASL syntax. So even there, they’re essentially using their own language. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of deaf people with strong written English skills, but it takes more effort to learn it without the spoken analogue being second nature as it is to a hearing person, and so those who believe stridently in a Deaf community are less likely to put forth the effort.

Fair enough. But please, give me a hand here! (You too, lizardling, I remember your comments from the Gallaudet president thing, and I respect your opinion and your input.) What am I getting wrong? What subtle basis of Deaf behavior am I misinterpreting?

And what do I need to do to stem the casual insults and the dirty looks?

Like I said, we’ve been at this a few years, now. And I feel like I’m getting nowhere. My wife has decided to ignore it, just let it wash over her. In a way, she’s right - as an interpreter she’ll be privy to a lot of personal information from strangers and you can’t let petty things like crazy spite and contempt affect you.

But this matters to me - a LOT - because this is the same kind of crap my daughter will have to put up with if she decides she wants to cozy up with anyone in the Deaf community.

Is it wrong for me to recommend that when you encounter this, you put your fingers in your ears and say “I can’t heeeeear you!!!”?


Slight correction. She was not Deaf enough, according to the protesters. I have a Livejournal friend who was a graduate student at Gallaudet at the time (he was one of the people trying to mediate between the protesters and the board) and he posted about it as the whole thing went down.

Yes, it’s very wrong.

He should put his hands over his eyes and say “I can’t heeeear you!!!”

If we’re going to talk about childish…

My sister’s best friend through Junior High was a girl who’s mother was an ASL interpreter. She and my sister were both very good at ASL, and would communicate through class by ASL, much to the chagrin of their teachers. Who knew what was going on, but because they were ignorant of ASL couldn’t prove their allegations.

For a while my sister took to making editorial comments to and about people in family discussions in ASL. I got fed up with it, one day in the car.

I put my hands over my eyes and chanted “I can’t heeeeaaar you!”

It did work. :smiley:
ETA: At least I can say to Captain Amazing, I did it, not just talked about it.


For what it’s worth…this article ran in the Atlantic Monthly in 1993. I didn’t know anything about the issues till I read it, thought it was fascinating.

Has very little to do with the topic at hand, except it’s a neat story about the deaf I like to tell. Years ago, my friend and I went to a local movie theater to see…something…can’t recall. And that day they were showing a special closed captioned version of Saving Private Ryan for a deaf organization…no sound at all, just the subtitles. Before the film started, there were maybe a hundred, hundred-twenty people out in the lobby, down the hallways, all signing, in dead silence. Swear to God, it felt like I was in The Birds. It was creepy. All these people, not a sound.

Hearty applause to the OP.

My wife is hard of hearing with hearing aids (with its own associated ASL “label” to put her in her proper non-Deaf-culture category) and worked as a deaf educator for several years. We’ve both run across the culturists, and it is indeed as frothingly ridiculous as the OP describes.

The good news is that the extremism and separatism appears to be fading. There is an established older generation, but the rate of mainstreaming perspectives in the ranks of the young is outpacing the ability of the culturists to sustain themselves.

Technological options are the biggest driver of this, “intelligent” digital hearing aids, CIs, and especially the internet have given the deaf community something they’ve never before had: options and access.

We have one friend who was basically a deaf community shut-in most of her life, only connecting with the rest of the world through a filter of interpreters and TTY, and was the most fanatical of Deaf culturalists you could imagine. Suddnely, the ease with which she could simply book a taxi, use IM, look up map directions, shop, all through the internet was a revolution in independence and empowerment for her. Her walls rapidly crumbled and she is now a harsh critic of the culturalists, saying that “they are deaf, and crying because they are not also blind.”

Anyway, great post, and echoes a lot of what we’ve seen :slight_smile:


While DRIVING?! :eek:


That’s a sign we can ALL understand. (thinking) Unless it means something else in ASL.

This thread reminds me how little I miss handy.

I work with a Gallaudet alum. He will write when he absolutely has to but prefers ASL; if he finds a coworker who also knows ASL he’ll talk their hands off about the most mundane things.

Wendell, I generally agreed with what you said. But I have to respond to this:

(Emphasis mine)

As a non-native “speaker” learning the language, it makes a WORLD of difference if there’s a written form to study offline.

When I was studying Spanish in high school*, we got our lecture time, and our interaction/discussion time, but we also had books to take home and read. You can pick up a lot of the language just by trudging through Cervantes and whatnot. Between class and homework and reading, I figure I had put in 15-20 hours a week learning Spanish. And when my Spanish skills lapse**, I can fall back on a small library of dictionaries and texts to help me remember.

When studying ASL, the only resources we have are lecture time, and social interaction, and THAT’S IT. The only take-home work consists of short and cheesy videos from the 80s, and texts expounding on the glorious Deaf community. With a 2-job work schedule and the commute and raising a family, I’m lucky I can get in 10 hours a week to learn ASL. Just having an ASL book to read before bed would go a long way, but there is no ASL Cervantes to trudge through.

The need for a written form goes beyond linguistic study. There’s also the problem of maintaining a cultural record. In order to record ASL, you need video equipment. How long can the recording medium last, really? I have letters that my grandparents wrote to each other, and I can read them just fine…however, the 8mm home videos my parents shot thirty years ago are already crumbling to dust. How long will VHS tapes last? DVDs? Flash video files? There’s a real risk that I won’t even be able to listen to my MP3s in ten years due to technological obsolescence. What chances, then, do casual and personal ASL communications have to stand the march of progress? How can I record a journal or a letter in ASL that my grandkids will be able to appreciate?

  • A terrible example, I admit. For all my 3 years studying Spanish in high school, I retained squat. But I’m making a point, so stick with me here.

** And lapse they did. Nevermind that. I’m trying to make a point. :slight_smile:

I had this nagging feeling of almost being reminded of something while reading this thread… What else could it have been but an xkcd comic?
(Seriously, though, I believe that in five years at most there’ll be an xkcd for every conceivable situation, and every discussion on the net will essentially just consist of links to xkcd comics.)

Really? Because every time I’ve been to a Deaf event, they’ve been loud. Really loud. You know how hearing people don’t scrape chairs across the floor because of the sound it makes? Well, if you can’t hear the sound, you scrape. Things clank, and scrape, and bang, and clatter. There’s a low level of vocal noise, but the ambient noise is a lot louder.

SB, I’m sorry to [del]hear[/del] read this. My grandmother was “deaf and dumb” as her condition used to be called, and we didn’t communicate that much. My siblings and I learned the alphabet and a few words, but we mostly [del]talked[/del] communicated by writing. It seemed like a tough life, back in the 60s and 70s as I was growing up.

It saddens me, though, to see how profoundly discriminatory the Deaf are toward the Blind, as can be [del]seen[/del] concluded in the article quoted by ** lobotomyboy63** “The term ‘disabled’ describes those who are blind or physically handicapped,” the deaf linguists Carol Padden and Tom Humphries write, “not Deaf people.”

Why would anyone possibly think that the Blind are handicapped? If a Blind person could be [del]cured[/del] maimed by surgery, and be thrust into the Seeing community, how much harm would that cause that person? Can you [del]see[/del] imagine how horrible it would be for a person to be forced to look at things for the rest of their live?

Worse, by numbers, are the unfortunate members of the Maimed community, who are brainwashed by the Fuck What Do Well Call The Non-Maimed community? Those lucky enough to have bones broken in ski accidents, and yet clearly reject the Maimed community by have them set and repaired? What evil parents would take their child to a doctor for this?

OK back to seriousness. I’ve read this before, and while I understand the pride of owning something which is a burden, the grief they are giving you and your wife is stupid.

You’re doing a good job. Don’t let them get you down.

TokyoPlayer, a proud member of the Seeing, Hearing and Non-Maimed communities.

I don’t see the relationship with large gas-guzzling vehicles, but then I am often confused at the random insults in Pit threads. But moving on. The distancing of ASL from English sounds to me like a good idea. If a particular sign language were divorced from a particular spoken language, then it would be easier for that language to get international usage, instead of each country having their own version of a sign language.

I have a friend who isn’t totally deaf but is rather close to it; she has degeneration of the nerves in her ears, I believe, so her hearing was fine until she was a teenager. Now it’s been degenerating. She has some advantages in that she can talk perfectly fine, understands written English and can communicate in written and verbal English great. But there are Deaf people who sneer at her because she would rather hear. She hates feeling that exclusion and hates having her hearing get worse and worse. She also has to deal with hearing people who don’t feel “comfortable” around her or don’t want to make accomodations for her (when she’d be kick ass at a specific job) so they just never get back to her, etc. I feel so bad because it must feel like your ears are involuntarily excluding you from both cultures. :frowning:
When I was a writing tutor in college, I had to tutor a Deaf man. That man should NOT have passed any basic English class (this was for a class equivalent to second semester freshman year or first semester sophomore year). He had trouble reading English, could not understand what was going on in the story and his “essays” were practically re-written by me because I’d explain the concepts until the cows came home but he just would say he understood, fixed it the one time, and then never remembered it. I mean that there were sentences I had no clue what they meant and it took almost 5 minutes with his interpreter to figure out what he meant.

It was really frustrating (especially because let’s face it, I wasn’t tutoring the guy, I was being thrown into a full-blown TEACHING situation with no experience in doing so). It also didn’t help that he also had a common Engineering Student Attitude*, where it’s, “I’m going here to get an engineering degree so there is no reason I need to waste my time with this humanities and English bullshit.” Add those two issues together and it was basically a waste of time.

  • I went to a school that had a huge focus on engineering and saw this attitude more times than I can count.