Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mojo's Fulcrum

If it were possible to send a soundbite back in time to myself as a child, it would sound something like "You're Deaf! You're Deaf! You're fucking Deaf!" This cryptic advice, if heeded, might have saved a lot of soul-searching along the way, as well as a considerable amount of collateral damage.

Alas, pretensions of normalcy demand otherwise, even now. Consider simpleton Sym Gardiner, who insists his cochlear-implanted daughter not learn a second language because it will mess with her head:
"Their identity is all wrapped around the (NZSL) language."

"The reality is, it's probably not really a living language."

"We have no desire for my daughter to particularly identify with the deaf community."

"Our desire is that she's completely mainstreamed and she's just like any normal kid."

The best cure for stupid shit like this is the Four Deaf Yorkshiremen joke.

Katya is one of mine; born Deaf in a world of Norms. She differs from other tribal Deaf, such as those who go Deaf from occupational hazard or illness such as Otosclerosis, or old age. There used to be an informative Brit vid on YouTube pointing out the subtle differences between these tribes, but it was taken down for copyright reasons (possibly for the use of execrable '80s pop song AEIOU).

Regardless of what Sym says, his daughter will have a rich and well-stocked interior monologue. Her eyes will grab what her bionic ears cannot. She will be better read than her father, and probably less subtle in her opinions.

Thank Dagg Mojo is in the House, trailblazing through the many barriers still in place to Deaf participation. Even the Nats have u-turned on their ACC policy to the newly-Deaf, as well as expanding aids to children.

But the big ask is yet to come. You can have disability employment services out the wazoo, but if the employers are still too timid to hire, nothing changes. There still needs to be a shock to the system.