Recently my attention has been on an ongoing issue. I want to respond to it, but I need to take time and think about how I should respond. A little while ago, on Facebook, someone in my circle of friends posted a link to a blog post. The woman who wrote it is hearing and is married to a deaf-blind man. The post is titled “War with CODAs”. When I saw that, I thought to myself, “War with CODAs? Who am I at war with?”
I admit it’s true that I have an agenda because one of my goals is to help hearing people with no Deaf experience understand what Deaf people are like, how they live, and what struggles they go through. What I hope is that they will develop a measure of respect that will change their perspective, and maybe that will help reduce Audism. So maybe I do have some adversaries worthy of going to war with, but I really don’t feel that way.
“War with CODAs” was written last year. However, it’s only been recently that people have really taken notice of it. I saw many responses posted by CODAs who were irate at being insulted in this way. I don’t feel any different about it myself. I am a CODA, and I was insulted, too. I don’t want to yell at this person, and I want to be fair, so I thought about what I should do. After reading the post again I wondered if she had other posts related to Deaf and/or CODAs. So I checked through the blog and I found quite a few. I read them all. And I noticed something common popping up in every post.
I feel like her attitude, after reading her commentary, shows that she doesn’t really understand Deaf culture. She’s really ignorant of this. Some of the other comments made me feel as though she is a deep-rooted Audist. You know, sometimes it’s not so easy to separate Audism from ignorance, but I will give it a try.
So my plan is to start at the beginning of this with the “War with CODAs” post and evaluate it. I will discuss those comments that exemplify her ignorance and Audist attitude. From there I will move on to the next post, and the next one, in chronological order, and do the same type of evaluating. I’m going to call this series “I am CODA, and I Know”. I don’t say this to mean “Hey! Look at me, a CODA who knows everything!” My point is to use my experience growing up in two worlds, hearing and Deaf. The cultures are different, but I am involved in both of them. I am going to use this unique experience as my viewpoint, but do so in an objective manner.
One thing I do want to say to the woman who wrote the post is this; “Just so you know, I read your blog posts, and noted how many times you said things like ‘I’m just ranting’, or ‘I’m just expressing my opinions’, or even ‘My blog only has like 40 followers, so really not very many people read this, it’s no big deal.’ That’s ok, I guess. You DO have a right to free speech, but at the same time, you DO have a responsibility. Yes, you do. When you make generalized comments that stereotype different groups of people on a blog, you’ve also made it open to the public. Imagine if you will a time long ago when there wan’t any real technology. There was no internet, but there big printing press machines. So you decide to print up an article declaring that all Deaf people act the same and insult you, and therefore should just go away, and that all CODAs are a bunch of little whiners and ‘Damn! What’s wrong with all of you?’ So then you take that printed article and bring down to town square, where you proceed to find a post (maybe a light post, perhaps, or something suitable) and tack it up by its corners. Well everyone who sees it is going to come walking by and see it. Some will be curious and read it, only to be seething with anger by the end of the article, and will end up coming to your house, knocking on your door just top say ‘Hey! What’s up!? What’s your problem?, etc etc. Now you’re going to act surprised and be angry with them? That’s straight up not fair. You know that hearing people have a saying... ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.” I think that sums it up well.
The next post will be up soon and will address “War with CODAs”.
Until next time,