Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deafhood foundation

I just finished watching the welcome video for the Deafhood foundation. Before I started watching the video, I was wondering- would they mention cochlear implants? I was actually hoping that perhaps the message would be positive and inclusive. Wishful thinking.. Butch mentioned cochlear implants 33 seconds into the welcome message as an example of economic exploitation of deaf people. This did not make it into the English text version though.

The Deafhood foundation is run by well respected Deaf people in the Deaf community, and many Deaf people are impressed by the video and its powerful message. But all I see is a huge obstacle to the acceptance of all of these Deaf children with cochlear implants. Would this lead to increased intolerance for Deaf children who happen to have cochlear implants?


Anonymous said...

Funny how they claim that "Deafhood" is about a deaf/hh person's own personal journey but instead uses it as platform to demonize cochlear implant. That simply raises red flags and question these people's intentions, agenda and sincerity of the matter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the link to the welcome video. Butch Zein has a valid point. He has done a fabulous job. Yes, Deafhood means Deaf people have their own journey. We are here to educate some Deaf people about what organizations do to us...making profits OFF us!


Anonymous said...

Butch Zein has to be careful about treading along the lines of being a deaf militant. Being against the cochlear implants is not going to help the deaf community in the long run and would only further the divide and make it smaller by alienating the hard of hearing community.

For now the only "deaf" organizations I can see myself fulling supporting is Hands & Voices since it gives supports for the oral and signing education on equal terms. (DBC favors signing over oral by comparison).

Hopefully the deaf community will learn that they won't grow stronger by capitalizing on growing interest in sign language, but by capitalizing on the hard of hearing community to strengthen the foundation of true deafhood - the shared experiences of growing up as a deaf and hard of hearing individual - not necessarily with signs.

Anonymous said...

Butch Zein messed up BIG TIME! I think he got wacked by the founders of DH foundation. There is NO stopping medical community from finding a cure for deafness. The deafhood foundation does not speak for all deaf. There are deaf people who wishes to hear again. DH is supposed to be a personal journey. Remember how some members of DH said implantees can have their own DH journey? They lied.

Dianrez said...

Although I favor a comprehensive approach to language learning, the Deafhood Foundation has a chunk of truth.

Deaf and HOH people are indeed a cash cow for those who would cure or improve hearing, and the desire to hear or to have ones' children hear is very, very strong.

Exploitation follows desire. Along with that is reinforcement of the idea that hearing is required in order to take one's place in life.

I see the Deafness Foundation as a necessary fresh voice in dispelling that assumption.

However, it is easily misunderstood in its criticism, and that is its failing.

People get the impression that they are criticizing those who opt for the implant and aids. This is not the case, and they need to correct that impression.

The Deafhood Foundation is actually fighting the HEARING MINDSET, an assumption that hearing is desirable, mandatory and the end-goal of all efforts for and by deaf people.

Mike said...

Kobayashi Maru and Deafhood

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the "ASL" part of your name need some improvement as I looked at Butch Zein's welcome video on, and saw that the sign for "cochlear implant" was used only ONCE throughout while you claimed it was mentioned 33 times. It's sad that you prefer to zero in on something so small and not discuss the whole website, or even the concept itself as presented on the website.

Anonymous said...

i apologize. Seems I need sleep or improvement in reading English, smile. The 33 number was referring to the seconds not the number of times. Oops. But the concern and sadness is the same that such a small thing is zeroed in here rather than the whole concept.

Anonymous said...

One more...where does it say that DEAF children with cochlear implants are not "accepted" or "embraced" on the website? I worry that you can't see that the economical exploitation of these children by the CI corps is the one damaging the children, their families AND the community, and creating the split, not the Deafhood concept. Yet, you turn a blind eye to the huge exploitation. Check out the $$$ and framing. Sigh. I hope you wake up soon.

Michael Libby said...

The welcome video is tame. The "What is Deafhood" page is not. On that page DHF does not mince words. They call cochlear implants "neo-eugenics".

Dianrez, with that in mind, how can we parents of children with cochlear implants feel anything but criticized?

Is it not possible to be pro-ASL without being anti-CI? As it is, I am pretty sure I won't send any donations to the DHF myself.

Mike said...

Michael Libby,

It's a no win situation, a Kobayashi Maru moment. People will somehow find a way to imply somehow the choices you made about cochlear implant were wrong. Demonize the cochlear implant industry, the hearing aid industry (e.g. Starkey) and so on. A way to somehow elicit guilt from you when you shouldn't be made to feel guilty in the first place. And they'll deny that they weren't criticizing you for your choices but the thing is that they are essentially doing that.

Dianrez said...

This being such a hot topic, people might tend to jump as if electrified toward opposite poles.

Let's try again. If we start on the basis that we are after greater goals--communication, personal growth and education--and leave details such as CIs and aids and ASL aside, people might feel less threatened.

Whenever we see blogs that detail CIs and credit all achievements to the CI, that's the wrong step to take.

Similarly, blogs that credit ASL with Deaf achievements are also getting off on the wrong foot.

Blogs should be about the d/Deaf individual and their strengths and incidentially, the assets they used to get there.

Assets might include their families, education, skills, creativity, inventiveness, talents, and some tools...which might happen to include ASL, CIs and aids, as applicable. But are still only tools, not miracle makers. As such, tools are only as useful as the person makes them be useful.

It's really about the individual and his strengths.

Mike said...

Dianrez, and that's fine and all dandy. It's about one's own endeavor, goals, accomplishments and whatnot that are important and positive. The problem stems from turning "deafhood" into a politicized word while foresaking the rest of the people's own accomplishments just to suit own's own selfish agenda. I don't see any problems presenting positive attitudes and stories about the successes of cochlear implants, cued speech, aural/oral achievements, ASL signing, SEE, and so on. It's the the demonization that is the problem and by making, for example, cochlear implant users or those who support aural/oral approaches feel like they're the bad guys. I see it as group think run amok.

Mike said...

Which is one of the main reason to avoid using the word "deafhood." It's simply a loaded one that benefits no one. Especially if a group claim ownership over such a word and use it to bully others or such a way to make others feel guilty. That video is a prime example of that attempt.

AL said...

Michael, I searched the "What is Deafhood" webpage and did not see these words (neo-eugenics and cochlear implants). Can you tell me where to find them?

Mike, thank you for the link to your website. One correction- I am a Deaf parent of Deaf children with cochlear implants and we are part of the Deaf community and use ASL. It is simply not an option for me to give in and allow them to encourage ill will towards my children.

Michael Libby said...

AL, just to be certain, the page I'm referring to is:

Here's the text I am seeing: Oralism and Audism have come back more ferocious and dangerous in the 2000’s with rampant mainstreaming, cochlear implants, and genetic engineering. At a 2005 California Association of the Deaf Conference, Patrick Boudreault called these tactics “neo-eugenics” because when it comes to Deaf people, their ultimate goal is to eradicate the
“deficit”, that “horrible isolating disability,” through technology and education.

And then later: The Deafhood Foundation desires to fight neo-eugenics, the oppression by Oralism and the arrogance of Audism by unifying into a political bloc those of us who seek our Deafhood.

Dianrez said...

Pulled out of context, those words do sound inflammatory and damning. The Deafhood Foundation overstates its case, taken that way.

No wonder it drives away people who included the CI and hearing aids in their complex of choices. Guilt by association, these people feel that they are being criticized.

Granted. However, when Mike accuses such as I of "groupthink", that is denying me my experience growing up under oralism and negating the damage it has caused my family. I'm sorry, Mike, but the Deafhood Foundation, with all its faults, overstatements, inflammatory words and bluntness, does say something very important.

Hearing, while a worthwhile goal for those who are within reach of it, is not a mandatory requirement for success. Development of the person is far too comprehensive to be defined within hearing standards.

Industries and professions that are built mainly around hearing standards are likely to overstate their case, also, and in doing so risk damage to development and family structure.

Mike said...

How am I denying your experiences (positive or negative), Dianrez, when each one is unique in many different ways?

I have stated from the beginning 3 years or so that to assign such a label such as "Deafhood" will only cause more problems than it does solve them. Alienation is the result. Many Deaf/deaf/hh people do not care for such a label and rightfully so for a reason. It doesn't take a genius to see that.

Anonymous said...

Check out the "about" page of the Deafhood Foundation site. There, you will find Ella and Judy covering how DHF came to be.

It's all on the premise of money, AGBell and cochlear corporations.

What philanthropist would donate to a foundation that came out of such vengeance?

Same ole, same ole. Nothing comes out of the bitter fruit.


Anonymous said...

*Nothing good comes out of the bitter fruit.


Michael Libby said...

Dianerez, I don't think I'm pulling those quotes out of context.

Even the welcome message contains this sentence: Oralism is the philosophy and practice of denying or diminishing Sign Language in the lives and education of Deaf children and people by promoting clinical training in hearing and speaking.

That sentence offers no middle ground. It's all or nothing. ASL only! Any attempt to promote hearing or speaking is Oralism-- which is Audism, which is Colonialism, which is Neo-Eugenics, etc...

Dianrez said...

Oralism, by definition, prohibits all forms of manual communication. Auditory-verbal therapy by policy prohibits manual communication also, and discourages training in lipreading.

In the early days of oralism, even teaching young kids to read was also discouraged until they have "progressed through the natural stages of language learning." (irony here)

The philosophy behind ASL does not prohibit oralism or AVT, and in fact, most schools for the deaf that use ASL also include oral and aural training.

This is an important distinction that is missing from the discussion here. One is a restricted method, the other is a comprehensive one.

Leaving the Deafhood concept and its organizations aside, one must acknowledge that not all d/Deaf children profit from being brought up according to hearing standards. The oral/AVT concept does this.

A comprehensive approach covers all bases, which encourages growth along both Deaf and Hearing modes and allows the child to progress in what works best for the individual.

For further proof that oralism and AVT excesses have been negative for growth, just look at the bitter verbiage of the Deafhood groups. Where there is smoke, there is fire. We can learn from them and be more alert to the weaknesses in any approach.

Michael Libby said...

Dianrez, the way I see it the Deafhood Foundation is using a different definition of oralism than you are.

I don't disagree with anything you've said yourself regarding these issues. With your explanation of oralism, I'd say I agree 100%, that denying deaf kids ASL is not the best approach...

But DHF seems to go to the other extreme, denying deaf kids the opportunity to hear and talk, even if they need some help getting there. And if that's not what they are about, why do they use such loaded words to make their case?

MM said...

There is always confusion in the 'Deaf' mind what oralism is, often they confuse oralism with speech or hearing aids or CI's or lip-reading.

Presumably 'oralism' in the deaf context, is about discrimination, NOT about what people wear to hear. The USA is not alone in following deafhood into oblivion mode via assuming Mr Ladd's opus defined deaf culture as deaf school, deaf sign, deaf way, as some holy deaf trinity, when it was not valid when he was writing it, except partly as an historical aside, it is not relevant to this millennium at all, because since Deafhood was written about, we have had massive CI implantations, digital hearing aids, decimated deaf schooling/education, a new BSL dictionary here, and deaf are now facing genetic approaches to eradicating deafness altogether. Mr Ladd needs to write about Understanding the Deaf in the 21stc... not the 19th.

Starrynight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Starrynight said...

What about Video Relay Service companies, ASL Interpreters/Interpreting Agencies, Captioning/CART services, etc? They are making huge profits from the Deaf community, too. Are they also exploiting deaf people? Why would CI and hearing aids be an issue if it s a personal choice for parents of deaf children and deaf adults?
I am a Deaf parent of a Deaf child who is very happy with a CI. I know what exactly works best for him and I do care about him. Why would CI be viewed as evil if it works well for a lot of people today? Is it all because of invasive surgery and bad experiences of those who received CI at an older age in the past? I already accepted my child's deafness as part of his identity and CI is just a tool to enhance his life. We have to accept new technology whether we like it or not and move on.

Mike said...

Exactly my thinking, Starrynight. Gassppp! We agree!

Anonymous said...

Candy at 9:35 PM Feb 21, 2010 --

yeah, yawning, yeah.

Same ole, nothing new.

I'm going to watch Winter Olympics and it excites me, then I'll fall asleep when I watch the DHF's website philosophy. Good night, DHF.

White Ghost

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Anonymous said...