deafness is an excuse

February 25, 2007

Today, I was talking with my sweetheart about something and was trying to use my deafness as an example when she said to not use it as an excuse.  There is a big difference between an example and an excuse.

I got a little huffy about it because as the old saying goes, “Emotions cloud judgement.” So, I took the time to clear out my emotions and began thinking about how I explained it. 

With a clearer judgement, I can begin to explain more clearly and less emotionally.

This is my blog about not using deafness as an excuse.

I suppose there are people who view certain comments by other people as excuses which can be understandable in certain cases. 

Such as calling in sick to work in the middle of the week when everyone at work has seen you perfectly healthy the day before and in reality, you just partied a little heartily the night before and had a killer hangover. That is an excuse.

For a different example, not showing up for work when there is a monster snowstorm dumping 10 inches of snow and the roads were not plowed.  That is a reasonable explanation to me, not an excuse, although in the loosest tongue, it could be viewed as a reasonable excuse.

I began to explore how deafness became an excuse which meant going back into history to understand this.  After all, there are many successful deaf people in today’s world in all kinds of prominent positions.

This was not always the case, for once upon a time in history, society once regarded those with deafness or muteness with a dismiss of a phrase “deaf and dumb”. 

This was due to the stigma that those who were born without the ability to hear or talk were considered inferior to those born with five senses.

Somewhere along the way in the development of humankind, those who were deaf began to show signs of intelligence. 

By using that intelligence, they were able to rise above certain stigmas imposed by society to become role models, or in extreme measures, a legend. 

Deafness is about seeing, not hearing so we naturally do not believe what we hear, we have no ability to hear anyways. [I will write a blog in the future about this]

We did not have a natural need to believe those who spoke to us and said “You can’t do this” or “You never will be able to do this”.

One noteworthy person is Helen Keller, although she was deaf and blind.  Her legacy is the perfect example of being a role model who also became a legend in certain communities.

Nowadays, there are many successfully deaf people in their own right who have risen above certain stigmas.  We have a deaf Miss America, a few well-known deaf performers, a deaf president of the only deaf liberal arts college in the world, and even an award-winning movie scripted about a deaf woman. 

Part of these opportunities to achieve recognization came about due to several factors, including technological advancements, educational advancements, among others.  Probably the most important factor above all else is humanity.

There were those among the hearing population who tirelessly lobbied against the “deaf and dumb” stigma such as Alexander G. Bell, Thomas Edison, and Gallaudet by creating an educational program for the deaf students, or by creating technologies to assist people with hearing loss.

So despite knowing all this, I still needed to explore why did such stigma come about.  The only explanation I could come up with is fear.  Ignorance is a form of fear.

In the race for the quest of the superior human, we often dismiss people with ailments, or lesser education as inferior to our quest. 

There are people who have earned multiple degrees from institutions for higher learning, working a significant role such as a neurosurgeon or an adviser but they still pale in comparison with those who were college dropouts leading some of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world.

These dropouts were dismissed with the stigma “lucky”.  We till consider them inferior because we view our own intelligence superior to the “lucky” ones.  This makes me wonder where the old saying comes from, “Ignorance is bliss.”  Those who say it must be scared to death.

So how did “using deafness as an excuse” come about?

I suppose there are more reasons than I am aware of but they all probably stem from a few basic characteristics.  Laziness, and ignorance to name a few.

to be continued…

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