Sunday, May 30, 2010



Saw this video of a baby boy hearing sounds for the first time via the AOL welcome screen. It is heartwarming but I am not so sure that it is life affirming. To say that would be saying to much.

The idea of cochlear implants being a panacea for the deaf community has the same kind of controversy that mixed adoptions raise. Does the possible benefit of a remedy outweigh the possible negative of unforeseen consequence? Who should have the final word or is something being lost by 'crossing cultures' to address an issue?

I think there is no mistaking that in that moment, what Johnathan is feeling. Been a long time since I have felt that good about something (and I do mean THAT GOOD... not saying that I haven't had some highs in life, but the look on the baby's face is one of unadulterated joy...) but I don't think that it is a 'thumbs up' on the implant issue for the deaf community.

Now, I like tasteless jokes of all stripes. Sexist, racist, and culture-bashing. That is part of what I mean by 'up and out'. Sometimes stuff pops into my head and it comes 'up and out'!

An amusing but horrible thing for me to have said was when the SFC and I went to Mt. Vernon. It isn't far from where she lives and she hadn't gone. I couldn't believe that she was that close to a place with so much historical significance and hadn't gone yet. So we went and there was an Asian family from the grand parents on down standing nearby in line. I can't recall what it disability was, but two of the four children had something going on.

The way that the line worked, was that there was a long main line and then you fanned out to different windows. It was there the two of us had a slight run in with the family and we felt that they cut us in line. I made a comment about how things would go smoother if she (the matriarch) wasn't trying to bring all of Galludet University to Mount Vernon!

I thought that I whispered that to the SFC and out of earshot. But later, we would learn that maybe it wasn't as out of earshot (or maybe lady read my lips!!) as I thought.

There is an auditorium that you go in , where you get a briefing on the place. As we went in, the family before us, we took seats near the back of the room. As we sat down, the Asian lady was staring right through my girl and then looking her dead in the face, mouthed the word "B*tch" and gave her the stinky eye until she sat down.

For the SFC, it was an example of the kind of stuff that happens to her that no one would believe if she told them about it. As for me, it was an example of how things 'just miss' and the worst seems to not impact me in full. The entire thing was pretty funny and it made for a cute private joke for the both of us.

When it comes to having mixed adoptions, one of the many arguments that comes to my mind first, is that there is a fad behind it. When it comes to the loss of culture, the same culture is maybe failing the child... where are the qualified potential parents of the child's ethnic group to fill that void? I don't think that the standards for adoptions are unfair or anything. The worry about a child potentially not identifying with its culture, specifically, is something that the parents will have to deal with. I think that in this case that maybe it is an unfounded worry.

With the implant, I can see where a case would be made for a culture being lost. In fact, the 'have/have not' could eventually lead to a classism problem as the ranks of those with implants begin to act on having mainstreamed into the hearing. I would have to think there would be a lot of defections as many would want to pass as a hearing person with no challenges to their life.

And I wonder what really is wrong with that?

I think like with the characterizations of black person as an 'oreo' (black on the outside, white on the inside) it is one of the unanswered problems with the whole 'brotherhood' of mankind. There are different issues within groups of people that keeps them from unity amongst themselves. So how can anyone even hope that all of mankind will eventually overcome all the 'this and that' to life and live in peace? I think the same kind of thinking is what fires up those in the deaf community that reject the notion of Cochlear implants as a boon.


When does fighting for a culture becomes unnecessary? Native American languages are in perpetual danger of dying out and those aren't the only ones that are fading out. I mean, though it is in use mainly in nomenclature, Latin is a dead language and the culture from which it springs is likewise, dead (save for the grown men messin' with li' boys part... the priesthood and NAMBLA make sure that hasn't gone anywhere!).

Shouldn't there be acknowledgement of a 'cultural Dawrinism', that things have changed, evolved if you will, and things that weren't considered 'normal' becomes accepted as the 'new normal'? Why is being able to conjugate verbs and use the same kind voice inflections that is heard on the evening news makes me an 'traitor' to 'my race'? Why doesn't the lack of that ability or other social skills that are widely preferred seen as the condemnation to a life of poverty and ignorance as it really is?

It really is bizarre, it really is. Trying to make sense of anything other than your own experience may well be useless and doing more harm than is realized. Creates all unnecessary worry.

Seems more possible that at some point in existence that there won't be a blending of all perceived races and that technology will enable people to hear, walk after spinal cord injuries, and be cured of cancer and AIDS. The sexual designations are the pretty much immutable, and that is something that might come on the microscope next.


...anywho, I wonder if there is anyone who can deny that Mother, Father and son that moment... jus' wonderin'...

1 comment:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Babies have that particular ability to show true joy and love. It is an amazing thing.