So picture this if you will... A video clip of a deaf person getting a cochlear implant (CI) and hearing sound for the first time. Someone shares this, along with a strongly worded statement that
a) recognizes that the CI is controversial within the deaf community
b) absolutely forbids any mention of it in the comments
c) because it's all about the wonderful feelz
You know, in one corner of my mind, I can tell myself, well the person probably wanted to avoid having a ban hammer fest because of protracted arguments breaking out, particularly if they are not around to moderate the comments a bit more closely. I can even tell myself it's kinda cool to see someone reacting to a bit of new technology. I understand that harm is not meant. There is no intentional malice.
But that's in my head. In my heart, I'm feeling a punch to the gut.
Your voice doesn't count
No one wants to hear you
I offer the commentary I do about living in a hearing world not so much to complain (although of course in some sense I'm complaining, and many, too many people out there will think "complaints" and nothing further).
But really, I'm always trying to raise awareness of what it is like when the default is to hear. And one of the things that means is seeing a video clip like that treated essentially like a trip to the zoo. Wow! Look at all those cool things! Ooh, that one never ate a banana before! All with noses pressed to the virtual screen.
And you over there who might object, shut up. Not a word. And hey, that video? It isn't captioned. Only autocaption is available and it sucks for that video. It isn't for you anyway.
A punch in the gut.
Never mind that CI aren't perfect. Never mind that for some people they will not work. Never mind that even in the cases judged successes or at least more successful, the person is still deaf, is still in a hearing world and still needs access. I don't actually have problems with CI -- anyone choosing to get one has my best wishes & good lucks sent their way. But CI is not a fix. It is not a cure. We are not damaged. We are not broken. We are not lesser. But.
But here's the message when you coo over someone hearing sound for the first time. When you label it amazing and wonderful. Because the person who chose not to have one isn't Because the person who can't make use of them isn't. Because the person who is deaf is less. They don't merit attention or interest.
And that attitude translates directly into an entire world of access problems. Not a day goes by that I don't have to work around something, that I don't run smack into something kept from me because people don't think, don't care that access half the time is half assed and half implemented, or that any access granted at all is more than enough, solves all my problems and shut up already. Most of this isn't even intentionally malicious. But when I am denied access through unintentional apathy, it is still as much a problem as malicious denial.
I have disabled comments on this post because I'm not interested in a debate on this. I'm posting on my own stream because I chose to respect the request on the original post I described above. I'm not looking for resolution -- this has happened before (different video, different people), and it will happen again with another set of people, I'm sure.
What I'm looking for is a moment of understanding the different perception of this event. And even that in my head I understand your perception.
I still feel like I've been