It is time to submit a new legislative bill that will be in the service of truth, fairness, constitutionality, justice and equality under the law as it pertains to America’s thousands of shamed, humiliated, ostracized and persecuted Deaf people. Nancy Rourke, the Deaf master artist painted this image above to show that cochlear implants has spilled toxic water on Deaf children everyday.
Few weeks ago, I was hanging out around National Mall and saw a group of cochlear implant users, the question popped up into my mind thinking, “why cannot people see that cochlear implant companies are the supermall of the confirmation culture, where people are instantly introduced to all of the lies and myths about Deaf people?” That makes a good target for Deaf babies; children and young people for greedy cochlear implant makers. Audiologists, speech therapies, doctors, hospital representatives, stockbrokers, teachers, government agencies and more to list do not listen to Deaf people very well. Aren’t the cochlear implant makers responsible for the “confirmation culture”?
The cochlear implant companies are freighted with insufficiently examined premises. Three examples will illustrate the point. The first is that the sign language is inevitable for the Deaf people. It is not accidental. A second premise underlying the cochlear implant companies broke with Deaf people: Deaf people became oppressed, and their language and culture suppressed. And third, to meet personal needs the Deaf people become supplicants of Audists.
Economic and personal financial ladder climbing is the disease at the heart of our today’s supposedly democratic system. We have forgotten to fight for each other for the benefit of our whole society: Deafhood. Instead, we have been sold on the idea that individual self-sufficiency is the highest philosophy for living one’s life. Cochlear implant makers are the favorite cousins in Capitalism that is anti-democratic by its very nature—destroying Deaf identity. It is the same system that will make those makers rich. Very rich. They control the political power. By using political power to shut up Deaf people is not democratically equal, cochlear implant makers are just another economic terminology that must never be allowed to supersede “greater political equality” in Deaf world. I’d rather live in a society of inefficient than a society of wealthy politicians and power brokers to take advantage of Deaf people today.
There is no technology or means of predicting the future actions of a Deaf person. To hold all Deaf children and people is to hold them hostage to the actions of cochlear implant companies that they have no control over. I know for a fact that the cochlear implant companies are spreading news through government agencies and schools for the Deaf to sell their products. I know that Deaf people had been a subject for a study for very long time. However, we are not rats that run and run through the maze, a little bit faster each time. Are we any closer to determining the reason of “the state of being Deaf?”
Copyright © 2014 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
2 thoughts on “Ending The Legacy of Cochlear Implants in Media”
Ending the Legacy of Cochlear Implants in the Media
It is time to submit a new legislative bill that will be in the service of truth, fairness, constitutionality, justice and equality under the law as it pertains to America’s thousands of shamed, humiliated, ostracized and persecuted Deaf people.
Who among you is going to disagree with this statement above? No Deaf person in his or her right mind would, right? In fact I agree with the statement, with one minor exception that is major here at the AFZ: The word Deaf. Capitalized D in Deaf is intended to identify Culturally Deaf people, and nothing I need to explain to anybody here. But that big D, ladies and gentlemen, is at the heart of your problem. I will explain that in a minute, but first lets address “legislation”.
Legislation that is in the service of truth, fairness, constitutionality, justice and equality under the law has been proposed and passed. The DCDL or the Deaf Culture Digital Library (HB 653) was signed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley this past May 15th, 2014. Of course this is not a cure all, a panacea, or anything, but if anyone knows of any legislation that meets the keywords given here… show me. And so what happened with the DCDL? What happened in the Deaf community? Big friggin yawn.
Of course, the amendments pushed by Kelby Brick and Charm Smith (the two people who make up the MDAD) totally destroyed the essence of this bill, this law. And these people think like you do. Requiring the addition of the terms “hard of hearing” reduces this library to two classes of people. Legally requiring that this coordinator be Deaf is the product of the same ignorance expressed elsewhere, up to and including this blog.
Lets review the keywords again: Truth. Fairness. Constitutionality. Justice. Equality under the Law.
Truth. The plain truth is that 90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents. Truth, these children are NOT born Culturally Deaf. The truth is that Culturally Deaf people are made, not born.
Fairness. The fair way to treat these children, these people, is to realize that they have various hearing levels, no two alike. Fairness requires that we recognize these people, people who may not have the same level of deafness that you or I have (and my deafness, believe it or not, is absolute). Fairness requires that we recognize that the terms ‘deaf’ and ‘hearing’ do NOT represent absolutes. Fairness requires that we recognize anyone, anywhere, anytime, and any which way, can become deaf at any time (I became deaf overnight before I turned 8). Fairness requires that we allow, and in fact welcome, people with various hearing levels to become part of the Deaf Community.
Constitutionality. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees people the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People. The DCDL is relevant here where the Public Library, as such, cannot discriminate. This is where Brick and Smith understand nothing (and Brick is supposed to be a lawyer). They added an unconstitutional amendment, an illegal amendment, a discriminatory amendment requiring that the DCDL, a Public Library serving all four types of libraries, hire a deaf individual as coordinator. It cannot be done. The Public Library cannot discriminate. Period. Yes, we want a deaf librarian who is qualified but we cannot do that by a legal requirement, such is illegal under federal and state law (and notably MD Annotated Code Section 19).
Justice. There is no justice in discrimination. We cannot discriminate against others and not expect to get discrimination back; an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves us all blind and toothless.
Equality under the Law. Equality is unambiguous. We are all equal as per the 14th Amendment. Anything less is not Justice, is not Fair, and does not represent the truth or Constitutionality. And what does this mean? This means, without any ambiguity, that deaf people are of various hearing levels, of various backgrounds, of various signing skills, this means people who use various assistive devices to help them are all deserving of respect and opportunity. A CI does not make a person hearing, that is a flat out lie. And as much as I dislike CI’s or the industry, the people who have CI’s must be welcome into the community.
Why are we, the Deaf Community, here today? Why do we have these problems today, in 2014 and more than 300 years after l’Epee? You can read the above again, go over it keyword by keyword and the answers are there; to wit the Deaf Community discriminates against the deaf, and by deaf I mean all 150+ terms that Holcomb lists in “Deaf Culture in America”. All 150+ terms to define the deaf. Instead of being part of the larger community (the Deaf are an absolute minority within the deaf community), the Deaf Community has cut itself off from the rest.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a person who has trouble hearing is a person who is deaf. Any person who has trouble seeing is blind, and that is not my definition but the NFB or the National Federation of the Blind which says that it considers all of its members blind without regard to visual acuity. And that is the hallmark of inclusion, fairness, and equality. The Deaf Community has been so closed, so closed minded, so limited and resentful of anyone who did not use their language that they have been AWOL on the entire matter. If you leave a void, somebody else is going to fill it, and the other people you lump together as Audists are those people who filled the void, who took the initiative, who acted. In the deaf world, AGB was the first to the library and I have a copy of a report written by Merv Garretson for the president of Gallaudet University in 1982 that said the exact same thing. Garretson even referred to it as an AGB Trojan Horse. There was, of course, absolutely no follow up on that letter to this very day, 32 years later.
For the longest time the AGB –and organizations like it– have had uncontested access to the library. Uncontested. The library is not the only place we should be going, but you want legislation? Alice Hagemeyer and I gave it to you DESPITE opposition from the MDAD, from the NAD, and from the Deaf Leadership of America. The only people who showed up at the door of the DCDL did so after the third bill on the subject was filed. The MDAD, the NAD, and the ODHH have NOT made public announcements or made any real formal recognition or celebration of this bill. Furthermore none of these three organizations have the slightest idea of the significance of this bill. Both the MDAD and the NAD have oppressed, suppressed, and discriminated against Alice and I as members and activists. These nonprofits with fancy Vision and Mission Statements DO NOT FOLLOW these fancy Vision and Mission Statements, hell they do not even follow their own bylaws or give membership protections as afforded in RONR. Their oppression, suppression, and discrimination against Alice and I is discrimination against us all.
You want to change the world? You want to bring all those fancy keywords into play? Stop discriminating, start accepting. Stop haranguing, start working with. Stop fussing and get your little tush into a library. Stop this Deafhood nonsense of “For Deaf Only” because talking to ourselves doesn’t change a damn thing. Stop this nonsense that somehow “deafness” is an outdated medical term; deafness is no more medical than is happiness or sadness. Paddy Ladd never said anything like that and every damn person who knows anything about the English language knows this. The Deaf Community is embarrassing itself, the Deaf Community is scaring the shit out of people who can hear; every hearing parent that sees a Deaf Leader talking about Deafness as a medical term that should be outlawed is a hearing parent that has confirmation that the Deaf Community is dumb.
I know it is going to be hard to forgive me, but I am your best friend that you never knew you had. We cannot solve our problems if we don’t accept the truth. The truth is that deaf people come from every corner of the earth, the truth is that deaf people are people who have trouble hearing. The truth is that ASL is a beautiful language that is the third most studied foreign language in American Academia. The truth is that deaf people are smart and capable and that any division hurts us as a whole, as a people.
The solution Ms. Hagemeyer brought forth beginning some 40+ years ago is a platform, a stage, an unequaled resource that is not being used to advance our cause. The AFZ can and should set up a program at the public library, one program a month at a different library every month. The 14th Amendment was passed in the 1860’s, there is very little we can do by way of legislation or by requiring things because the 14th is IT. Lets make the DCDL a National Program once we get rid of these nonsensical terms that divide by class and the outright illegal requirement that discriminates against people… against someone who could become deaf tomorrow.
Bring the community together, don’t drive them apart.