Hearing Person...trying to understand Deaf perspective
Dear Mr. Drolz,
I am currently studying ASL, and plan to attend Gallaudet's Speech Pathology program with an emphasis in Deaf Studies.
I just finished your book 'Deaf Again', and absolutely loved it and found it very eye opening. I especially appreciate how you respectfully expressed your opinions of CI's, and that your final conclusion to all of the division of to be implanted or not, was your statement on the importance of language. I think focusing on language, and knowledge are the key ingredients to living a full life. Language opens our minds and allows us to understand the world around us, which then opens the doors to knowledge. Knowledge is power!
However, why I am writing to you is because I have a question that is really hard for me to understand as a hearing person. I ask you this in a way that a cultural anthropologist would ask. I also ask because I want to better understand a deaf perspective.
The questions below that I am going to ask, please just look at them openly, and I am seriously not attacking:
Your son sounds like a brilliant young man, full of confidence and an inner knowing of what he wants. But Darren was hearing, and the implant could have really saved his hearing...why didn't you want that for him? I am not an audist in anyway, nor do I feel we should fix people.
Maybe I should use the analogy of a man who was in an accident and loss half his leg and had the opportunity to have a prosthesis. This prosthesis wouldn't make his life 100 percent normal, but would enable him to do almost everything he wanted to do. However if he decided against it and decided to use crutches, he would be limiting his opportunities. So wouldn't a CI be the same for someone like Darren who would be a perfect candidate.
Mind you I am pro ASL, all the way, and believe that it should be integrated with all CI children, but what if Darren had one more possibility to help him function in the world?
I saw Sound and the Fury, and I was so confused and felt bad for both sides. I felt really bad for the family who decided to implant their child because they were so ostracized. I didn't see them as trying to fix their child but rather give their child all the possible tools...ASL included(just have to mention that).
Why isn't there more of a wholistic approach in the Deaf Community? Or being open to all the possibilities of empowering yourself in a hearing world. I want to empower myself in the Deaf world by learning ASL, learning about Deaf Culture, and challenging my beliefs. I don't want to make a deaf child learn to speak if he or she doesn't want to. I do however want to always integrate ASL.
But, why don't more people in the Deaf Community want to try to open up more possibilities for their children, i.e. to get an implant, or to learn speech.
Please just see these questions as just questions, and a sincere desire to understand . Perhaps I will have to accept that there is not explanation, or that the answer will be something I will never understand.
Lastly, I just want to close this by saying that I find Deaf Culture so rich and beautiful, but extremely complex. Paradoxes in many ways. It's roots were coming from a place where the deaf were not accepted in the hearing world, and now it seems as though there this same prejudice inflicted upon it's own people. Fully deaf, not fully deaf. CI implant, oralist? It's saddens me, and I really want somehow to come to some balanced acceptance of it all, especially since I will and still want to work specifically with deaf children, as well as children with hearing loss or implants.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you,