Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I want to be fair

My last post caused a bit of a stir.

Well it should have. The one thing I really want to stress is my former boss really was shocked we were mad. This is really important. In my school's mind they thought they were doing this poor deaf girl (uh, she is past the age of forty) a big favor by hiring her. They were excited this person would work so hard and appreciate the opportunity. This is where they just didn't get it. To be fair, they don't get it. They really thought they were doing something good. BUT to be clear,

"this poor deaf girl"
Has traveled the world.
Is getting a college degree
Is smart
An artist
A gifted writer
Has been the the victim of paternalistic behavior for many years

"this poor deaf girl"

Has a vivid social life
Is great with kids
Works really hard
Makes me laugh with her great sense of humour
Doesn't speech read with 100% clarity and is very open about this

"this poor deaf girl"

Is not OK when you talk if front of her because you can and you love the privacy

Is very clear about how she communicates and has many ways to make it easy if .....you listen

Has never worked for such low wages but took the job because there was ASL at the job site.

"this poor deaf girl "

Is not a poor deaf girl.

She is a strong, interesting and intelligent woman

She happens to be Deaf


  1. Mel - you could be describing ME.

    The fact that your former boss was shocked that you were mad is, in itself, shocking. Where the hell have they been? I guess they haven't been around any strong, interesting, intelligent deaf people. Makes you wonder what they thought they were trying to accomplish with the kids in their school. Did they never see the finished product?

  2. The atitude is more common than you think, my daughter started looking for work her junior year of highschool, she applied and applied, and when called for an interview she was never selected....I kept telling her,its their loss! they are missing out on how great you are, but at the same time I was furious! There is a huge amount of ignorance, and fear among hearing people (I am one) they tend to focus on what a deaf person cannot do without the hearing and their imagination soars, when in fact the only thing they cannot do is process auditory signals! but they hear loud and clear when the signal is visual. so perhaps...we need to reach and teach to better serve our community


  3. It's a sad, sad fact of Deaf life. "Help the poor deaf people." Like we're some invalid and incompetent children who need to be mothered and taken care of our entire life. Sad. But I will say that I'm glad there's people out there like you who do have a clue. Whether that clue ever rubs off on ignorant stupidheads is yet to be seen. But I highly doubt it.

  4. Thank you for rectifying the "Poor Deaf Girl" degrading perspective that seems to only serve to make the hearing person feel better or superior about themselves, which to me seems to be a disabling need.

    Sympathy and the "Poor Deaf Girl" syndrome is the reason my education suffered. It's seems to me a cop out to utilize the "Poor Deaf Girl" belief because one won't need to be bothered with getting an interpreter, which has the capacity to create more jobs for the economy for the hearing folks. And in turn the "Poor Deaf Girl" view will naturally fade as the Deaf student earns a degree and is thus treated as a human rather than as a broken thing with no hope to be pitied.

    Should I be grateful for my parents forcing me to be raised orally with out any interpreters, which caused me to lose my education because I couldn't read my teacher's lips?

    Had sympathy not existed, then my education wouldn't have suffered. But thanks to the modern times of more intelligent hearing people like you, I'm now finally in college with an interpreter on my way to procuring a degree and my interpreters thank me for providing them with a job during this economical depression.

    Thanks again for your support:) I see things finally changing for the better and I am behind you on the fight to rectify this mindset.

  5. The employer is of the "what's in it for me?" and "what is required of me to communicate?" type of mindset.

    The deaf applicant needs to find a way to sell the employer on hiring him by appealing to these concerns.

    Having a resume that contains specific skills, specific training the employer wants, related job experience, or jobs that imply consistency, dedication and responsibility is one way to do this. Having a portfolio of work done in the past (especially for production people, artists, etc.) Having a personal website that showcases one's experience or skills can be another.

    An important advantage is having contacts or people who know the employer vouch for the applicant. Strong references can also be of help.

    The local Vocational Rehabilitation office can also be of help, either in supplying names of deaf-friendly employers or in offering training on the job funds to the employer on the fence. Some offices can also provide interpreters for a short period of time.

    Mindsets are changed one person at a time. Public education is effective for a short time before people forget, but direct experience with deaf applicants sticks for a longer time.

  6. This is concerning the anonymous and his daughter's frustrations with not being selected for an interview. I have had the same issues in the past numerous times. Dianrez is correct that the Vocational Rehab. services are significantly beneficial for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing here in Portland Oregon.

    In fact, Portland's Vocational services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have helped me get into college with interpreters as well as obtaining jobs here in Portland.

    All I had to do was fill out some paper work and take a hearing test to become eligible for their services. They provided me with a hearing agent, whom assisted me with inserting her phone number onto my resume, and she helped me with the phone work and acted as my back up for when the employers called. She also came with me to the interviews to interpret for me.

    Only problem is that their services only last for so long, and my agent is only allowed to stay with me on the job for two weeks to interpret and then their time is up. Considering that fact, it is crucial to find a job where you can be trained the skill needed to do the work and a job that won't require 100% communication!

    Most importantly, the one the best methods that worked for me in obtaining jobs was when my agent and I showed up in person to pick up an application and fill out the application right there in person. It helps tons for the employer to see you, because my agent informed me that if they only see on paper that you are Deaf then they will be quick to move onto the next applicant.

    I agree with Dianrez, "Minsets are changed one person at a time.''