I saw a post on Eh? What? Huh? that got me to thinking about some recent conversations and how I react.
The first took place at a church where I teach. I am not a member of the church I just use the space for my class. The church is kind enough to not charge me. A woman from the church sat in on my class last week. She was friendly warm. She reminded me of the typical grandma stereotype.
After class she mingled with the parents who take my class. She mentioned her daughter "does the sign *she hesitates* SL. She interprets for gospel signers"
"You daughter interprets? Musical interpreting always impresses me. ASL is a beautiful language." I reply.
"Yea, she went to college for it. You know those deaf people are really paranoid. They always think you are talking about them."
A mom jumps in to try and redirect, "That is your experience?"
"It is true, they are all really paranoid........" she continues and I walk away before I hear one more word.
Everyone except this woman is fidgeting with their kids trying to exit. I was hoping I wouldn't have to step in a make a scene. Some might feel I should scold and embarrass this jerk. I really want to meet this daughter who filled her mom's head with crazy misinformation. I will wait and when she visits again I will incorporate some deaf culture into the lesson. I will use it as a teachable moment. I still can't believe she said that. I sort of feel sorry for her.
The other thing that happened was a met a really cool woman waiting for her granddaughter at my son's school. It came up that my son was deaf. She looked shocked.
"How can he go to school here?"
"Oh that is so wonderful! I want to meet your son."
She was really excited that the school had a deaf kid. She knows nothing about deaf kids but the concept was cool too her. He came walking up and introduced himself. He added a "nice to meet you". I voiced for him.
"Did he just say that? Wow, that is so wonderful."
So this woman was very cool. She had never met a deaf person and was learning. She was open to the idea that he was just a kid. I did not sense a shred of judgement.
So two women the same age in the same week have opinions about the same topic. Two entirely different opinions.