Friday, 1 July 2016

Deaf World

Deaf people, an unknown world of our society.
Are you enjoying that television series on your television? Turn the voice off, wait a little bit, study the situation, look around. How do you feel? Strange, doesn´t it?. This is how deaf people feel in society, isolation, inequality, marginalization can be easily followed. Perhaps you can infer that they can add subtitles on the telly in order to comprehend what it has being conveyed or perhaps you remonstrate about the new reality it has been hidden for you until this moment uttering that deaf people can read lips. The truth is notwithstanding, deaf people have been taught for centuries under the notion they are inferior to the rest of humans hence they do always assent in order to cause no troubles at all. As a matter of fact, only people who are extremely good at languages can read lips properly. What is more, as deaf people do not talk, cannot understand fully (no much in real terms) what you are saying. After having talked to a deaf person a hearer one will probably say that he or she was really nice albeit the deaf person would have not understood anything at all. Likewise, the subtitles do not always work, and most of the times only cover a short amount of programs that have been previously recorded. 


Deaf
Deaf


DEAF PEOPLE
Given the little opportunities they are offered to study do not expect deaf people to read as good as you can or in other words, they are mostly illiterate. In fact, deaf people have always lived an underrated life, they were not able to inherit for example and they were treated horribly, religious institutions were often the only ones that taught deaf people how to behave, no matter deaf did not understand anything it was said by a priest, they believed in god nonetheless. A deaf person works as hard as or harder than a hearer one, yet they know there are boundaries impossible to cross, a hearer person will always be above them. Without going any further, deaf people are not usually allowed to compete in a professional level in sports, they can only compete to other deaf people. The problem is the way in which deafness is addressed as most of the people do not have this disability nor know a deaf person their situation (although improved in an historical level until recently) was going to be worse than the rest, but they are obliged to pay the same amount of taxes than everybody else albeit they are always going to be worse-treated. What would happen if in a country 95% of the people were deaf and only 5% were speakers?. People are unaware of the difficulties of deaf people, 3 kinds of attitude we ought to point out as far as deaf people are concerned. Firstly, the majority of them feel inferior resulting in not using the sign language all the time, recurring to relatives, interpreters if they live in a big city and trying to speak the best they can so that everybody (hearers I mean of course the ones who rule) can feel good ignoring the reality thus, other, young ones from wealthy families who have had the opportunity to study do not use their lips and feel sign language is a proper language and the only difference between a hearer person and a deaf one is the peculiarity of their language thereby an interpreter can make the conversation.  Others, refuse to sign believing is not a language and try to speak as well as they can. This is a thorny issue; there are some private medical procedures (plenty of money involved) that are aimed at improving the hearing of a deaf person ignoring on purpose the natural nature of sign language. All of a sudden, a mum whose family is strange to deafness give birth to a deaf human, she may be misled, feeling horribly the parents could think their children may talk and hear as good as the rest because deafness is a disability that should be eradicate, private medical institutions will help them therefore… Nevertheless, there are some deaf people who feel sign language is not so good trying to ignore it, they accept the superiority of hearers no matter how the situation or the experience has been. These are the 3 ways in which deaf people behave. On the other hand, how must we approach ourselves to a deaf person? Are them less than us? Are different or just speak another language?. If you are from Europe for instance and you encounter yourself to a Chinese person and you have a deaf person from your neighbourhood who has been living next to you for 40 years, is there a real difference between the Asian person who is in Europe for the first time and only talk Chinese and the deaf person who has been living in your country studying with a sign language interpreter at school and can say (in a funny way for most of us of course) many words or expressions in your language?. This is the key factor, society do not fully recognize deaf people have a language of their own, thereby try imagining you are with a foreign tourist who has not a command of your native tongue at all. A deaf person does not have a problem in their head nor a physical one, they can run as good as you can or work as good as you can and if a deaf person goes to a good school and the institution understands the situation a deaf student with good interpreters could pass a degree just like you or even with better marks. Deaf people are different but we must embrace the difference with fairness, as long as a deaf person has an interpreter alongside the reality between a deaf person and a speaker one changes and there is no discrimination and they are just the same, but of course is impossible that a deaf person could live 24 hours with an interpreter in a daily sound world. 


Deaf
Deaf

Yet, if a wonderful striker speaks a foreign language and does no talk the mother tongue of their team, fans would forget it as they will see him as a hero since he scores a hat-trick every Sunday, they will wait to see the translation from the interpreter with a smile on their face. However, I bet the same will not happen if an ordinary deaf person with an interpreter is surrounded by 30 hearers in a street. It is high time consequently we at least waited as patiently as we would wait for the translation of the interpreter of the footballer. Deaf people have a different culture but they are integrated in our society and these kind of differences are good indeed, try learning sign language and a new window in your brain will be opened, they have developed an unique visual capacity, you will see things differently. One of the most common mistakes people do is that they got used to believe sign language is an universal one, it is not, every country has one, dissimilar one to each other. There is something called International Sign language that was created to facilitate the conversation when two deaf people from different countries talk to each other. Similarly, this international sign language is used in international events; if you are from France or United States you have an advantage as International Sign Language pick the majority of their terms form these two sign languages. Why? There was a pioneer called Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet who thought deaf people were special no inferior, he went to France and learned French Sign Language and their methods, he developed their techniques throughout North America. As a result, there is now a University called Gallaudet Washington D.C. that is like a heaven for deaf people inasmuch as all the teachers and students are deafWith regards to deafness every country has its laws, sign language is not fully recognize in many parts of the world, imagine your language is not official and you have to learn a new one even though you do not have the skills required to master it. All in all, understanding that minoritites have their peculiarities and cultural differences make a whole society to function better will make our lives to be improved or do you still feel you are better than a deaf person hence you do not deem sign language to be at the same level than English?. Do rate, share and comment.

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