Monday, May 05, 2008

Random thought

I expect this is not a pet issue that many people share, but I used to spend some time wondering about the respective limitations of being blind and deaf. I'd heard a couple people saying that it'd be better to be blind, which I thought was weird, but being able to hear allows you understand and be understood with people in a way that's probably impossible to replicate outside of fluent signing, and maybe not even then.

Anyway, it occurred to me last night that the events of the last ten years have really helped deaf people out. It's a common lament that kids spend too much time online chatting, blogging, "Facebooking", gaming and god knows what else. Most of this is intensely social and by now it's mainstream. It's also a world with which deaf people can engage on a completely level footing.

This is a small development in the larger scheme on things, and it's possible that the negative consequences of the general trend outweigh the positive, but as far as it goes it's a really heartwarming development.

6 comments:

cristi said...

funnily enough. i was going to test this theory out a couple weeks ago. a couple people traveling with me were arguing over which dissability they would prefer, and decided they would each spend a day blind folded and a day with ear plugs (one would be blind while the other was deaf, to make getting around a little easier). unfortunately, this experiment would have to take place in zanzibar, which would be a waste, so the experiment never happened. plus the 2 travellers started shagging in zanzibar, so i'm pretty sure they forgot all about their little bet.

anyways, i'm back in CT. no job. no money. Are you still doing masters?

cristi said...

Before I forget. thought you'de be please to hear that I started reading the economist during my travels...and i quite enjoyed it. may become a regular reader (when i have a salary). it's still not entirely objective tho, but i've lowered my standards i guess.

sid said...

Cristi: Loved your comment re: the deaf and dumb bet.

cristi said...

glad to hear it sid. I aim to please.

Unfortunately, one of the pair is coming to cape town in a week or two, and everyone from my trip want me to nag him for details about his week long shag fest. frankly i don't think my stomach can take it. so i will probably make up the details (based on personal accounts to give it a real edge) and email the others my version of the story.

Trevor Black said...

The deaf thing, and new forms of interaction can backfire. Well, it did for me... highlighted my prejudice but also made me a little upset.

In a world where you can communicate digitally without the need of sound, at what point should the disability be disclosed? Or is there no need.

About 18 months ago, I was in the throngs of online dating. And after 1 or 2 emails, decided to drop off some dolls I was selling for a charity of my mothers, with a girl who was going to have a party for some abandoned children.

I gave her a couple of calls, but she didn't answer. Her smses after each call implied a problem with the line... things like, I can't hear you.

Anyway, when we met. I realised. I think this is something that should have been disclosed on the dating website... much like height, looks and age are. Ability to hear seems pretty fundamental.

If I met someone, got to know them and then decided I liked them, the deafness would presumably not be a problem.

I see the moral attacks coming, and many of them are self directed. How can I be so shallow?

I guess choosing who to date is an intrinsically prejudiced process. For all that personality matters... I wouldn't want someone to date me if they weren't physically attracted to me. Same goes for other things... I don't think I would date a fundamentalist Christian, or for that matter anyone else who was very religious. I wouldn't date someone with a low IQ, or who couldn't hold a reasonable discussion.

Obviously, we all make exceptions for `shorter term' relationships.

But all this stuff, and especially the deaf prejudices didn't leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

But, I agree Stu, it is cool that the disability has become less of an impediment.

mutt said...

I wouldn't beat myself up about it. She should have said something earlier. In fact, I bet there are dating sites for the deaf.