If you have ever wanted to read the true thoughts of a Deaf person who is a strong advocate for Deaf culture and is a proponent of the Deaf community, follow the blogs of Dianrez.
When I was learning sign language and entering into the community of the Deaf, her blogs gave me true insight into the beliefs of the Deaf that cannot be learned through a textbook.
Knowing how valuable reading her blogs are, I want to introduce you to Dianrez through this interview. That way, you will see how following her blogs will help you gain important knowledge about the Deaf community.
Dianrez was kind enough to let me interview her so I can give you a taste of the issues in the Deaf community so you may know how valuable Deaf blogs truly are.
1. What, from your experience, is the most disagreed upon subject between hearing and Deaf people?
With the great diversity even among the culturally Deaf, one would expect a lot of diversity of opinion between them and Hearing people. I’d guess the topic of the cochlear implant would be most controversial…many are totally against it, and many have them or have children with them and swear by them, and there are many in between and have mixed feelings about it. Whether this is THE single most disagreed upon subject, I would hesitate to say.
2. What about the most disagreed upon subject between deaf people?
Again, with the diversity among us, anything goes. On DeafRead we have seen a number of controversies come and go. They can be on ASL and the CI, whether we should bash the oral camp and its heroes or not, whether we should support NAD or DBC or a number of other organizations, whether the Deaf Black Advocates should be a part of NAD or stand on its own, whether cued speech or Signed English is a valid way to teach language, whether Obama or McCain is best for the Deaf. It also seems that however strong the controversy is, there is a tendency for the proponents to eventually come to a meeting of the minds and agree on points of each other’s position.
3. Do you think the Deaf community is moving more toward the internet? Or is in-person socializing still very common?
Definitely, for both. The print newspaper was a strong pillar for the Deaf community who were far-flung and separated since school days, but now that the Internet and videophone have taken center stage, the print newspaper is dying out. Since we are a minority, contacts are important to us to stay in touch with ourselves and others like us.
4. If you were to explain to a hearing person what it was like to be a deaf person, what would be the first thing you tell them?
That is also a diverse experience. For one who was born Deaf, it is a normal experience. I’ve never known any different, have become used to maximizing my other senses and inputs, and can’t conceive of any other way to live. I see hearing people apparently soaking up information by osmosis and magically moving their mouths and others just as magically comprehending it; but it is about as real to me as reading about the paranormal.
5. Would you ever consider getting a cochlear implant? Why or why not?
At this time, no. The cochlear implant is still in development and its results are far worse than admitted. It is a high maintenance object and a lot of energy must be focused upon interfacing with it and making it work. Having a foreign object surgically implanted into one’s head requires a degree of accommodation that I personally do not think is worth the limited benefit. At my age, the likelihood of success in understanding speech is nil, and I already have acquired English by reading.
If through a different means I could obtain completely normal hearing with no side effects, I would probably go for it in the same spirit as buying a new and improved device for entertainment: such as a hologram TV. The CI is not anything like this–it requires a major commitment in terms of pain, maintenance, effort in rehabilitating the artificial-sounding hearing it gives, and constant expenditure of energy on learning sounds.
6. If you could pick any blog you have written that is your most favorite, what would you pick?
Deaf culture tidbits:
7. Why are blogs/vlogs so prevalent in the Deaf community?
Even though blogs and vlogs have exploded in the Deaf community, I still meet many who never read the blogs or watch the vlogs, but who still maintain their lifelong contacts and activities within the Deaf community. It seems to attract those who are most outgoing, creative and verbally expressive, and is still growing. It is a variant of the different ways we keep in touch with one another.
8. How would sign language students benefit from reading the blogs of Deaf authors?
It is a glimpse into the mind and community of Deaf people. The great variety alone will teach that we are not that homogenized after all, and that we deal with the same controversies that Hearing society does in our miniature community. Some insight can be obtained into Deaf Culture where it is expressed through handling of social issues such as racism, sexuality, abuse and discrimination on the basis of hearing (audism). Rationales for keeping ASL, teaching it to others especially babies, and fighting the over-optimistic teachings of oralism and auditory-verbal training can be seen. It sometimes offers a mirror to the Hearing reader how Deaf people view them.
Serious sign language students will find it essential to a understanding of the Deaf community and into sign language use. Casually interested sign language students probably would not be interested, but only in the language itself and how it signs are derived in meaning.
I’ve touched on a few of these topics in my blog. The most recent are aimed at fellow members of the Deaf community, but earlier ones could be interesting to sign language students.
Oppression: Grabbing the Child’s Chin
Deaf Experience: Invisible in the Waiting Room
Humor in Deaf experience: Do Sidekicks make strange noises?
English competency: Certified Postlingually Deaf???
Analysis of a sign in ASL: Thoughts on the DEAF-MUTE Sign
Use of the word “deaf”: Don’t you dare call me that!
I again want to thank Dianrez for providing such insightful answers.
If you have not yet read any blogs written by Deaf authors, then you are missing out. The thoughts, feelings, values, and issues in the Deaf community cannot be learning through a textbook alone. Blogs are an amazing way to read into the hearts of Deaf people. If you are learning sign language and becoming more involved in the Deaf community, then Deaf blogs are very valuable educational tools for you. Deaf bloggers spend a lot of time sharing their insights, and you should definitely be taking advantage of the wonderful information they offer.