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Bigotry and deafness
Bigotry is caused by misunderstanding and a failure to tolerate another personís point of view. Some people seem to think that the way they think is right and everyone else isnít entitled to be different. [Just think about the Jihadists, the fundamental religions and so on.]
Bigotry means, you believe with absolute confidence, that you are superior, that what you think, say and do is right. It involves intolerance and prejudice against those who donít think the same way often to the point of taking action to correct or even harm these people. Itís the strongest form of discrimination.
We have heard quite a lot about bigotry directed to Deaf people and there has often been a stigma to wearing a hearing aid. Slowly the Deaf have gained access to things the rest of us take for granted. They have gained recognition that just being Deaf doesnít mean they are stupid but still there is a lot of bigotry. It takes the form of bullying, lack of access to education, technology and jobs just because they donít hear well.
But it works both ways. The Deaf can also be intolerant to the hearing world and in the past have particularly shown a lack of tolerance to those who choose to have, or their child to have, a Cochlear implant. The Deaf saw/see the implant as an attack on their culture, their language and their way of life. It seemed to be an acknowledgement that they are broken and need to be fixed.
I was shocked to read a friendís posting on Facebook. ďI will tell you about a lady at the shops. One day I was buying fruit and had music playing on my CI with my iPod. Next minute my left ear went deaf. |My reaction was to quickly feel my head and I found my processor was dangling off. I grabbed it and looked around only to find a woman laughing at me. She asked me (with a deaf accent) are you deaf? I said yes, when I don't have my processors on. She did a huge shake of her head and made a face like she had just eaten a lemon. I was about to say more but she flicked my processor off again. Her body language told me how she felt - "powerful". She was so sure she was right. I just could not think of what to do or what to say I was so shocked. People were looking at me, I was so upset and her face told me it did not bother her. Her reaction was so hurtful it made me cry and go back home.Ē
While this was an act of bullying or assault and deplorable, this (bigot) lady deserves our sympathy. Over her life she has no doubt been subjected to all sorts of discrimination, embarrassment and bigotry. No one has the right to behave in such a way Ė no matter how sure they are of their right, regardless of whether they are Deaf or hearing.
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