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Hearing Privileges: The Unspoken Truth

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First of all, I’ve seen all the hashtags #hearingprivilege people shared their experiences. So much pain to see what they were going through. OK, enough small talk. This post will talk about my experience growing up in hearing world—being robbed by hearing privileges. It is rented out for my stress management, allowing me to write on issues that no one cares to or has the courage to.

And trust me, for 41 years of my life is way too long for me to go without being able to vent my pent up frustration in print. This particular issue has been eating away at me for very long time. After pushing myself hard to do this to make room for this dandy, a new truth is ready to be seen for what it really is.

I am sure most people on Gallaudet campus have run into this situation at least once. If not, let me set up the scene to help you visualize what I am picturing. You are walking along, minding your own business when you see a hearing person with privileges coming directly toward you. The person with hearing privileges obviously indicates that they have power, and more specifically they are hearing. Just like anyone else, you move to the other side of the path or hallway to avoid a collision. As the two of you are ready to pass by each other, incident free, they must hear your footsteps, because they begin to swing their stick to feel out the landscape, making sure they are still on course. By doing so, you are forced to play jump rope or dive out of the way to escape a crisp whack on your head.

What is worse, is when you actually are hit with the power-struggling and deal with hearing privileges, or when they try to find a seat in a classroom after showing up late, and they disrupt everyone while trying to feel around for an empty desk. It is an inconvenience to everyone. I know, realize and understand that they have hearing privileges which they control—and I become disgusted each and every person with hearing privileges including within in power for continuing their oppression, and not letting Deaf people stand in the way of their dreams.

But, come on, why must they be an inconvenience to everyone else? According to hearing privileges, they can be provided with power and such. However, why are hearing privileges allow at Gallaudet University to make their routes and everyone else’s trip around campus easier and safer? Why must the mass majority of Deaf students feel obligated to make way for a wildly swinging hearing privileges?

And finally, why hasn’t anyone else had brave enough to speak up about this issue? For example, the chair for ASL/Deaf Studies, Chief for Department of Public Safety, Provost, Director for Mental Health, Vice President, Administration and Finance, Executive Director, Business and Support Services, University administrators, and plenty of assistant professors and professors even some of them that does not know ASL very well, get away with hearing privileges?

Oh well, at least this truth is no longer unspoken for. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to write more about hearing privileges in my next post—this is only beginning.

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

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