Looking in on those in the signing only deaf community, I notice a lot of activism which is mostly just ill effective smoke signals back towards the crowd that’s cheering it on, which is themselves. There’s blog post after blog post, video after video of things titled like “10” or “15 things hear people need to do” and my response? Well no, hearing people don’t need to do anything. They don’t really have to know anything other than whereas I’m deaf myself, I’m not culturally Deaf. So the only thing they need to know is “I’m deaf” and “I’m a lipreader, but sometimes I can’t quite catch what you’re saying, especially if you’re relatively new to me”.
Generally, upon knowing I’m deaf, those with functioning hearing do tend to forget sometimes due to lip reading making it often appear like I’m just hard of hearing or in some cases makes them completely forget I have hearing loss at all. Hearing folk are quite accommodating once they learn someone is deaf, in most cases.
Most people don’t have a problem turning on closed captioning when I ask, have no problem helping me at the drive thru when I’m with hearing buddies, have no problem repeating themselves in most cases.
Yes many people still say things like “I’m sorry you’re deaf” and “I don’t know how I could possibly live without my hearing”, but it’s not said in jest to us. Those that feel sorry and explicitly state it, actually do wish us well and not meaning ill will, meaning they’re not tossing us any shade. And those that say they can’t live without hearing, when we tell them we get by just fine in most cases by learning to adapt to the situation end up seeing us as brave and tough cookies more than pathetic wastrels.
There’s no need to get angry nor upset at the hearing and more often than not, any perceived discrimination you receive isn’t actually discrimination, just frustration with someone ignorant and nothing more.
Don’t get me wrong, discrimination does indeed happen, especially when it comes to employment hiring practices as well as instances involving servers or flight attendants (service industry). However most of the damage done to the deaf in hiring practices revolves around those who are culturally Deaf making us all look like none of us speak, making it out that lip readers don’t exist and making us seem like we’re completely incapable when that’s not entirely the case.
Yes group meetings are difficult if not impossible, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t speak, it’s just our attention can’t easily be divided when it comes to conversations.
Those that rely only on signing instead of speaking involved in Deaf Culture are actually the cause of a great deal of the issues we deaf people face, due to the mountain of myths and misconceptions about us and it is so frustratingly difficult to dispel these myths when Deaf Culture keeps rearing it’s ugly ass head.
The hearing aren’t our enemies, they are our friends, and they truly do care for us. At least most of them do. There are narcissists that can’t think about anyone but themselves which is growing all to common these days and seems to get worse as the years progress. They’re not discriminating against you for being deaf though, what’s going on is that they’re at a job and they feel they shouldn’t have to do it and hate being there. It’s not just you that they’re shitty towards, they’re like that to the hearing as well.