Today my professor called me ‘deaf’ assuming that I was ok w| it.. I told her no, I’m not deaf. I don’t recall myself that. I’m hard of hearing. (This issue isn’t brand new because I’ve had experiences like this many times in my life.) I didn’t even get into it because it was in class and the topic was really about the legal rights/legislation etc. All I did was to explain equal rights is one thing but another thing is discrimination as well. So this is when she says, absolutely, right.. and you’re deaf and you have a right to get an education. I get that she was trying to make a point, but already this just tells me that even professors in Universities, still don’t get it.
How could we have people around us teaching us about the values and about respecting the differences and breaking barriers, fighting against stereotypes and discrimination, and at the same time, they’re spitting the same very thing they were preaching about to students. I didn’t have time to react. I figured that, this professor didn’t do anything wrong, I am sure didn’t even know. But I came out of the class and it just got me thinking. I feel that it’s important to learn education and get your graduation degree or doctorate etc.. but I think it is also important to take in what you’ve learned and walk with it. “Walk the talk”. That’s the ONLY way to make changes. You gotta be the change by being aware and what you say around people you’re HELPING them be aware of these differences, instead of letting the decision go to the hands of people who do not have any knowledge about this.
I am starting to wonder if people are just seriously lacking knowledge around things like this. It’s like the issue on disability people are expected a wheelchair or physically ‘disabled’. It’s the same type of attitude with the idea of people wearing hearing aids are ‘expected’ to know sign language and that they are deaf. Or even the fact that people who do wear hearing aids, are expected to be involved or connected in the deaf community. People are forgetting that we are all different and we all grow up in different cultures. I’m tired of repeating myself to strangers about this. I never was fluent in sign language. I was never brought up in a culturally deaf environment. I do wear hearing aids but that just a piece of what people see that is connected to the deaf culture. Many hard of hearing people would tell you the same thing. They can tell you that they’re deaf because they identify themselves as that and that’s okay. There are many others who would identify themselves whoever they prefer it or whatever that comfort them. There will never be a time when people would just accept that you can’t go around assuming you know a lot of things.
Like sexuality, race, religion and gender .. all boils down to identifying ourselves. We all have varies of identities and we all cannot fit under one microscope. We are expected to play the role that society expects us to be because it is what considered to be ‘right’ but yet we tend to forget that we are different from one another and nothing about us as human beings is monolithic.
So relating to what I was saying, people cannot go around assuming shit. If you really don’t know exactly what you’re going after or what you’re asking, ask. Asking is better than nothing. By asking you are giving the person respect and the opportunity to explain who they are and who THEY identify themselves as.
I’ve said what I have to say… peace..