It’s been just one week since the election. In this one week fear, unrest and outright rebellion have swept through our nation.
Yes, our new President has not been very supportive of minority groups in our country. He has, in fact, been outright offensive to those with special needs and minority culture groups. It’s disappointing and alarming. I hope he learns quickly that is not an effective way to run this nation that we so love.
However, oppression is not new to us. We’ve been here before.
In the early 1900s:
A.G. Bell spent his whole life trying to fix the Deaf and prevent them from being born through sterilization and trying to control who deaf people married and what kind of education they received. The New World Encyclopedia states,“His avowed goal was to eradicate the language and culture of the deaf so as to force them to assimilate into the hearing culture, for their own long-term benefit and for the benefit of society at large.”
It didn’t work. 95% of deaf children today are born to hearing parents. Deaf people marry other Deaf around 75% of the time or more. Audiologists, doctors, and educators are STILL trying to “fix” us.
They tried to ban our language, slapping hands that dared to sign; demanding that we speak.
ASL survived and evolved even through the ban. Now, ASL is not only recognized as a language, but is the second most popular foreign language taught in our schools and colleges.
The world was swept up in the amazing technology that created Cochlear Implants claiming that ASL and the Deaf Culture would become obsolete. Someone even said that, “in a few years, interpreters and schools for the deaf would not be needed.”
That was 9 years ago. Deaf Education is still offered as a degree around the nation with the demand for jobs quite high. Deaf Education, while not perfect, is still needed and valued. Deaf children using every kind of amplification, or none at all, still benefit from a bilingual approach that supports ASL as a natural language.
Nov 8, 2016
Now a new kind of oppression seems to have risen from the very people who we thought were our neighbors. An attitude that one is better than another is sweeping across our nation. Many of our own community are experiencing more oppression, fear and anxiety.
But I learned a while ago that fear and anger do not fix my problems, they actually make them worse. I have found that when I focus on my own life and my own choices doing the best I can; I can find peace, I can find gratitude, I can find joy.
So… Let us do what we have done before: living our lives, taking the hand of another to show the way. Let us love those around us, serve our community, and work for peace. Let us show the world who we are, what we know, and what we can do.
We Do Succeed, Because we Can.
And we will, because when It really comes down to it, A.G. Bell didn’t decide the future of Deaf people. No one can decide our future for us. No doctor, audiologist, politician, neighbor, teacher, or family member can decide what your future can or will be. That is your decision.
Your future is your decision. My future is my decision.
Don’t let others define who you are.
Take a stand and be who you were meant to be.