The blog by Dianrez prompted me to write this.

I was born with severe profound hearing loss in Jackson, Mississippi where Mississippi School for the Deaf is located only two miles from my house. My hearing parents were told not to learn sign language and started oral only school mostly learning speech until after the third grade. I started my colonialized journey at a hearing school by repeating third grade again.

I really never met a Deaf person using sign language until high school when I met one of my hearing classmate’s Deaf mother. I was awed about how she was able to have a good job and having a bigger house than mine despite my parents are hearing.  I did not learn sign language at that time and my hearing classmate interpret between her Deaf mother and me. It was that year that I went to Gallaudet and learned sign language.

Despite the fact Mississippi School for the Deaf was only two miles away from my home, I asked myself again and again, “why didn’t I just visit the Deaf school?”
Yes, it was that I had a different perspective about Deaf people using sign language.  I was ignorant by the stigmatization in the hearing society that Deaf people that can’t speak were different from the rest of us. I was assimilated to be part of the “hearing” society and colonialized that I am not part of the muted Deaf community.

When I first entered Gallaudet and started learning American Sign Language, I admit that I still had some colonialized thoughts which was so embedded from years of colonialization and it was not easy to sanitize my assimilated brain. And despite the fact that I was having the fluency in sign language, I really did not have the bilingual level because I was still signing mostly in English order which most people start off with.

Then one day, a deaf person had a long talk with me about the differences with American Sign Language and English sign language. That was when I really started my journey about myself as a Deaf human being.  I started the de-colonialization of myself after I realize that I was born to be bilingual but was denied when my parents were misinformed about the status of being deaf.

This is my identity of how I became bilingual and it is my calling to help and be involved with rectifying the root of the problems that we are still having since the colonializers took away our identity being bilingual.  Deaf people are the only people on earth that needs to be bilingual to survive in the society and those deaf that are colonialized are between a rock and a hard place, a dilemma of not being 100% hearing or 100% Deaf(bilingual).  No Deaf people can be 100% normal if they are being taught to be monolingual.

Yes, there are a few strange deaf people that knows ASL but unable to be de-colonialized and it is because they have their own personal agenda to be part of the “superior” majority population.

That’s my Deafhood journey starting at Gallaudet……and still on the journey.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. RLM says:

    Great blog entry! I like the pic of you with jacket hood as a latest symbol for “Deafhood”.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  2. Ben says:

    I like that banner on the wall in the picture.
    Sign from the start…
    Success for a lifetime!

    I do not consider myself a colonize, assimilated, nor do I have my own personal agenda to be a part of the “superior” majority population. I simply learned something new (ASL, Deaf Culture, views from hearing people about Deaf Culture), and I adapted. I do not use war of words such as Audism, eugenics of Deaf people, and such like as a way to break free from the so-called colonialism of Deaf people. No such thing.

    I must say it was, still is a great experience to learn that there was, is more than just being an Oralist Deaf, and that we can learn sign language. That there is ASL, that there is more to life than just being deaf in the way I was brought up.

    I whole heartily agree that Deaf Children are First and to Sign from the start…

    Continue to Educate on DBC without the use of these ‘war of words’.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    BBF

  3. johnfegbert says:

    Ben,

    It is good to hear that you are not one of the many that have bad experience growing up and those that have strong desire for others not to have the same experience.

    I may not have as many horror experience as others but I have empathy and I can see a solution to rectify this stupidity of how many are treated regardless of their benevolence.

    The solution is to stand up and say, Enough is Enough.

    John

  4. selby says:

    Hello John

    we have DeafFest 2011 at Miss. School for the Deaf. It is on April 2nd.
    C.J Jones, Rob Roy, Shoshannah Stern, John Maucere and ASL storytellers Mindy Moore and Theron Parker will be there..

    Our website is http://www.msd.k12.ms.us/fest.asp

    I hope you and your wife can come to visit us.

    Selby

  5. Ben says:

    John,
    I agree.

    Enough is Enough!

    Deafinly.

    BBF

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s