Skip to main content

Deafness and ASL: Rethinking Disability

I was worried about signing up for an ASL course because I thought it was really weird taking a casual approach to what most of society perceives as someone else's disability (deafness).  Like taking a course in using a wheelchair, or ... well, actually, every example I can think of kind of has some kind of merit, at least in terms of building tolerance or understanding.
 
I think I've said here before that, before taking the course, whenever I read about people who said they were glad to be deaf, I just thought that was strange, too.  Accepting, maybe.  But who could be happy, beyond in a resigned, Pollyannish kind of way?
 
But when my teacher said it, a light came on.  It's like being Jewish!
So many people probably would never wish to be Jewish, to have to keep Shabbos, eat kosher, live this life that certainly looks (and, okay, often feels) restrictive in the extreme.
Does that mean I'm not glad I was born with it?
Of course I am.
 
Not just glad, glad, like I'm saying I'm glad, but most of the time, I'm pretty darn grateful for whatever accident of birth put me here.
 
His was German Measles (my teacher).  Mine was the misery that was Europe between the World Wars and the good fortune all my grandparents had to be in Canada instead of Poland during the Shoah.
 
Even if someone is never planning to convert, I love sharing Judaism:  Jewish ideas, Jewish concepts, tidbits of Jewish culture; the things we take for granted but are different from the experience of most people who live alongside us in our North American culture.
 
Which is what this teacher is doing, and it's okay with him if none of us are deaf or hard of hearing or have someone in our life who is.  Sharing tidbits of deaf culture; telling us what it was like for him, growing up deaf in Ontario.  Letting us know that deafness is not a sickness:  he lives, works, has a girlfriend, drives, SeaDoos, listens to music (turned up really loud, he can feel it).
 
Yeah, I knew before that deaf people did all that.  And okay, maybe it's pure voyeurism, wanting to know all the details.  But I'm not the only one in the class soaking it all up, laughing as we begin to follow the little "deafness" jokes.
 
Wanting to be less of a moron, to know more and more and more, but being okay with it taking time, learning it a little at a time.  Not needing a better reason than just the challenge of a new language and the fascination of a new (to me!) cultural paradigm.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

Are Jews an "underrepresented community" in children’s publishing?

I applied for a writing award yesterday. I'm not going to get it, but that's not what I wanted to share with you. Here's what I wanted to share. This box:   I stared at this box for a long, long time. And then I decided not to check it. Even though I believe people like me truly are underrepresented, we probably wouldn’t fit the definition in other people's minds. Why? Well, because we're European. Because we are white. Because as everybody knows, Jews control the media. (do we???) If anything, some people say, Jews are over -represented in publishing. And yet. Some definitions are careful not to include people like me. Like this random definition from the State of California which defines underrepresented for some very specific business purposes as: "an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identi