Ouch Too

Forum => Talk => Topic started by: Sunny Clouds on 07 Aug 2021 12:37PM

Title: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 07 Aug 2021 12:37PM
[Edited to add - I changed the thread title, which originally just referred to OtE because it wasn't clear who I meant.]

I want to say something personal and positive to OtE - you and I disagree very, very strongly on some points, yet I like debating with you because you teach me things and I get to see different perspectives.

E.g. BSL & Deaf culture - two sides to it.

With a multilingual background, I believe strongly that it is as valid to bring up a child to have as their first language Welsh, Gaelic (whichever sort), Cornish, BSL or Makaton.  If you become fluent in one language, you increase your chances of being able to become fluent in another language, and thinking in more than one language can later mitigate the damage done by head injuries and dementia.  And living in a community/neighbourhood that combines multiculturalism with a very strong sense of togetherness, I have no problem with the idea of a Deaf community/culture.  I don't think you feel the same about these matters.

But...


You made me aware that there are places where the Deaf/deaf services/resources are Deaf at the expense of deaf, and that some organisations ostensibly representing Deaf/deaf/HoH seem to divide people into Deaf and HoH and leave out the deaf.

So debating with you sums up for me one of the big positives about discussing things with people we think we disagree with, particularly where we both feel passionately about things.

That being said, I think there are some things we'll never agree on.  I suspect that if I said anything about charities, we'd still be debating it until one of us turned a 'deaf ear' to the other!
Title: Re: For OtE
Post by: lankou on 08 Aug 2021 08:27AM
What is OtE please?
Title: Re: For OtE
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 08 Aug 2021 11:26AM
What is OtE please?
On the edge.

Sorry, I should have made it clear in my OP.  I've got so used to calling him OtE.

I've now modified my first post to explain.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 08 Aug 2021 04:59PM
Incidentally, I don't mean I don't learn from others, it's just that OtE and I do rather go at it hammer and tongs sometimes when we get going on deaf issues we both feel strongly about.  We both want a better deal for deaf people and disabled people in general, I just feel I may come across to him as too argumentative.

I think in general here, I'm more concerned about how long-winded I am.  How you lovely Ouchers put up with that, I don't know.  It's a key reason why I take long breaks, feeling I'm outpouring.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: ditchdwellers on 09 Aug 2021 11:57AM
There's no reason to take long breaks! I enjoy your ruminations. I wish I had the energy to express myself as well as you do  :f_hug:
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 09 Aug 2021 08:38PM
[Edited to add - I changed the thread title, which originally just referred to OtE because it wasn't clear who I meant.]

I want to say something personal and positive to OtE - you and I disagree very, very strongly on some points, yet I like debating with you because you teach me things and I get to see different perspectives.

E.g. BSL & Deaf culture - two sides to it.

With a multilingual background, I believe strongly that it is as valid to bring up a child to have as their first language Welsh, Gaelic (whichever sort), Cornish, BSL or Makaton.  If you become fluent in one language, you increase your chances of being able to become fluent in another language, and thinking in more than one language can later mitigate the damage done by head injuries and dementia.  And living in a community/neighbourhood that combines multiculturalism with a very strong sense of togetherness, I have no problem with the idea of a Deaf community/culture.  I don't think you feel the same about these matters.

But...


You made me aware that there are places where the Deaf/deaf services/resources are Deaf at the expense of deaf, and that some organisations ostensibly representing Deaf/deaf/HoH seem to divide people into Deaf and HoH and leave out the deaf.

So debating with you sums up for me one of the big positives about discussing things with people we think we disagree with, particularly where we both feel passionately about things.

That being said, I think there are some things we'll never agree on.  I suspect that if I said anything about charities, we'd still be debating it until one of us turned a 'deaf ear' to the other!

Unless we challenge perceptions that we feel are wrong, they become a norm and create more problems for others.  You rightly stated there is no common ground really as regards to charity, I don't like them, I don't want them, that is because I feel inclusion and access is a right and a legal entitlement, so I wouldn't support any charity trying to beg for it, I Just find it frankly appalling charities raise cash for poor 'deaf' children etc.   20 odd years ago we had telethons to raise dosh for people, and quite rightly then, parents pulled their deaf children out of the show for demeaning their kids. 

Now they do it with flashing lights, sob stories and celebs nobody knows or cares about to show their latest dress or plug their failing careers.  We just seem to have gone backwards, not forwards.  However, the UK are suckers for charity (assuming you have fur or paws, that is), and if deaf or disabled are 'militant' that doesn't get them funds, they don't get support, charity means they have to be grateful, I've watched £6B in disability funding go down the drain with no benefits being seen, I see 876 'deaf and HoH' charities that gain £1,000s in funding and then fail to manage 7 weeks.  Nobody demands they prove they can provide a service or if are just duplicating what is there already, or have people who know how to run the provision they asked money for.  Most had no plan at all.

Of course challenging service provisions often means you may challenge charities and vested interests who make a living supplying this provision, it can't be helped if they adopt the position.  I really have no issues with these random deaf who feel there is nothing else to do but sign to each other and talk to each other  at the expense of everything else, if it works for them fine, but it is no way ahead, it is all designed (In my view), to consolidate a 'way of life' no longer supported, it is the 1930-1960 way, not the 21stc way. 

Obviously with government running scared of stating the obvious in case they get accused of opposing diversity or some other, and current populist bandwagon, it is easy pickings at present.  'Deaf Culture' was unknown 25 years ago,  'BSL' wasn't, people don't check their history.  But these deaf are quite adept, more than they let on, because culture is THE edge to getting what they want, I disagree it is what most deaf want, since nobody has asked us.  It may be impossible to even do it, nobody can get 10m disabled to unite on anything or 10m HoH.

We mostly come from a position of wanting everything hearing and able-bodied already have, the last I'd want is to go off on some tangent or parallel set up, where doing your own thing just becomes another fancy name for still being isolated. It doesn't stop being a prison because the cell window has curtains.  We want choice.  If we want in, we have to be there, compete, and compromise, so there again I feel charities are out, and support should be as legally stated anyway, a right and available by the state. NOT at the whim of tin rattling amateurs basically.  ELS for the deaf went bankrupt, put 60 deaf out of work and 100s of other deaf who relied on them, because they were financially incompetent, and spent it oin cultural awareness not basic need, their sole answer was to ask for more money.

They are no use to anyone.  It sounds harsh, it sounds derogatory of people 'trying to help' but realists know the way ahead and how it is done currently, is not the way.  I was there with 'Rights Now! at the start, and arrested for demanding access to public transport for wheelchair users,  the ONLY deaf person at the launch of the original DDA 1995. These are not the rights I fought for.

I'm sure I'd buy you a few wines :) but the end game is the point.  People don't listen if you pamper them.  If you are out for popularity then rights campaigning isn't the job for you...


.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 09 Aug 2021 09:53PM
I think our disagreement over charities isn't so much about what certain organisations do, it's about technicalities.

Where I think I see agreement between us in relation to charities and similar is...

1.  Our government and many of those in power and influence expect us to be satisfied with the help of charities as a substitute for a proper amount of help/entitlements as part of the welfare state and as part of the way society operates.  This is not acceptable. 

2.  Too many of the big name charities relating to disability, difficulty, illness etc. are not DPOs, and are not necessarily fighting for our interests.  My favourite example is not a deaf one, but I believe the principle is the same.  It relates to what is now Rethink and was originally the National Schizophrenia Fellowship.  It set out to be the public voice of schizophrenia, as it were.  But it wasn't a DPO, it was an organisation, as I understand it, set up and run by relatives of people with schizophrenia, particularly parents.  Unsurprisingly, they were hostile to concepts like schizophrenogenic parents and the contribution of life experiences, including early life, to the development of schizophrenia, and very happily worked closely with drug companies to promote a notion that schizophrenia is inbuilt and you need to be drugged up to the eyeballs.  I believe they've done enormous harm over the decades.  That's just one example albeit not a deaf one.

3. Thus charities shouldn't be there to provide essentials in life, except for temporary stop-gaps.

However...

Where we would disagree, I think, is that as I see it...

1.  Charity is basically a legal tax status.  You can do good things without being a charity and you can be a charity and do things others don't consider good. 

2.  The majority of charities are not what I'll call high street names.  An example of what I'll call an everyday charity would be where a group of people in an area get a grant or a donation via a will, or raise funding from their comunity, then take over a bit of land and/or a building, and turn it into what I'll call a community resource.  It might have all sorts of things, maybe craft rooms, places for people to have get togethers and meetings, a playground, a small animal place or whatever.  Then they apply for charitable status because they're entitled to do things like that without paying certain sorts of tax.  But they're not claiming to represent anyone and they're not claiming to provide a service to replace a public service.

3. Many DPOs aren't charities and probably should be.  Maybe they don't realise they could be or maybe they don't have enough resources for it to be meaningful or relevant.  We need some sort of status that isn't so much about tax as about function, in addition to charitable status.

I wonder whether we could meet in the middle on something?  That there needs to be more public information and campaigning to get people to understand that just because an organisation is constituted legally as a charity and gets charitable status doesn't give it a bigger right to speak up for the people whose interests it's set up to help than other organisations, which may or may not be charitable; and that DPOs need to be the organisations listened to most in relation to disabled people's needs, not organisations, charitable or otherwise, that aren't DPOs.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 09 Aug 2021 09:55PM
Quote
I was there with 'Rights Now! at the start, and arrested for demanding access to public transport for wheelchair users,  the ONLY deaf person at the launch of the original DDA 1995. These are not the rights I fought for.
:thumbsup: :f_hug:
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 09 Aug 2021 10:07PM
BTW as regards deaf community, before we had the notion of a deaf community, we had 'deaf and dumb' meeting places, clubhouses, didn't we?  There was one in walking distance of my grandad's place before the war, although it later moved.  I wonder what the atmosphere and shared identity was like.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 10 Aug 2021 07:35PM
The olde deaf and dumb communities (Just had that flagged up as offensive lol), were the only social hub of deaf institutionalism (The deaf schools).  The deaf lacked the wherewithal to engage on many basic communication levels with anyone but each other.  Around the 1960s many decided there has to be a better way to include people than leaving them without the means to move forward hoping they can find own way.

By 1970s and 1980s there was a revolution of sorts, a BSL dictionary came out (A rank amateur and botched attempt but it made their point),  and young deaf decided there had to be more to life than a deaf club and then a deaf community, or even just sign language, they eyed hearing peers with envy, and wanted the same as they had.  To that end they turned anger on their support (There was a dedicated Deaf social service provision at the time),  they served deaf from birth to death, helped them into the world, managed their family issues, and helped them get jobs.

They decided to go at that service provision as they said this was perpetuating an image that was damaging, patronising, and negative to them, after a massive survey they found that only 35% of deaf social service staff had any qualification in sign language.  Yet these social workers ran deaf lives for years, reading the deaf mail replying to it, handling their bank accounts etc, deaf who struggled simply got sectioned, the level of 'control' was unacceptable. People need to understand there were no real classes teaching 'BSL' because it wasn't recognized as a language, just a step-up from mime in many cases.  The LEA started running a few, via 'hobby' class definitions, but there was no organization or norm as such, whoever taught it, did their own thing no structure or anything.

Lip-reading classes also were non extant, when they started they refused to have anything to do with signing or gestures because of it.  Those who look at very old films of the deaf 'mute' from 1920s on would see no 'BSL' as such but dominant 'finger spelling', the speed was amazingly fast, and up until recently still the main sign format in Cornwall e.g.  They used English grammar were taught to read and write it that way, some old timers I met, had a better writing hand than I did, copperplate.  It's actually gone downhill since as they argue on the merits or not of english its grammar, speech yes or no?  You needed a lot of patience to even listen to half of it.  I ran out 10 years ago.

They were taught to get as near to the host language as they could, that has been reversed lately, I'm not a fan of that, and I believe young deaf will ditch it.  Charities that supply support instead of the system are ones I don't want at all.  Of course the state supports charities, they are doing their job for them and at far less than actual cost.  It is why the Charity commission won't challenge charitable status in that respect, the state has 51% say.  The problem then, is that deaf relying on charitable help are at the whim of fund givers, already we see the NDCS asking for more money to supply  support the state is supposed to be supplying.  The RNID/BDA 'rationalising' every other month as funds dwindle, the RNID was in the doo doo last year when Covid virtually killed their income, it is why they sold off deaf care they ran, and stopped 70% participation on social media, as well as closing down many regional offices, they had to move out of London too.

A recent revamp the 3rd in as many years is farcical.  The BDA relying totally on bequests from people's death estates.  If people really want to help the disabled or the deaf then go to parliament and get it legislated into action, we don't want your money, but your vote, and, it's free.  It will stop opportunists making a mess too.  Nobody is really regulating deaf support or charity.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 10 Aug 2021 09:13PM
I knew a fair chunk of that, but far from all of it, so thank you for filling in historical/timeline gaps.

I'm worried, though - are we agreeing on more things?

Do you read John Pring's Disability News Service?  I'm hooked on it.  He's been covering DPO outrage at being excluded from most of the government's plans relating to provision for disabled people. 

We can argue whether charities should exist, what structures there should or shouldn't be for organisations, but we can agree that it's disabled people and DPOs that should be listened to, not organisations that have taken on a life of their own and are not controlled by disabled people.

I have been involved in charitable fundraising, but have also been very much involved in campaigning for better public services.  E.g. it's not enough to raise charitable funding for a community playground, it also matters to campaign to get the local authority to provide public play areas, especially where they've sold off school playgrounds to follow government requirements.

It's often a compromise and one I don't like making.  Analogy - foodbanks.  We shouldn't need them.  I ooze outrage that such a rich country has so many hungry people, particularly children, and particularly where our government gets people onside with leaving third and subsequent children hungry by portraying it as penalising the parent not the child.

But then do I walk past my foodbank and say "No, I won't donate because it props up a system that lets the government get away with starving those it deems undeserving" or do I drop off a donation and say "It's disgusting it's needed, but whilst the current government is in power, I can't let my principles stop me donating."  No easy answer.

You've doubtless read one of my rants about how I believe that when neoliberal politicians have finished dismantling the welfare state, we won't be back to the eve of the welfare state, we'll be back to the dissolution of the monasteries, and totally dependent on the donations/help of others, even more than we are already.

Then what of the Deaf/deaf stuff?  Who'll give a toss?  And a government that thinks the way to level up is to teach kids Latin isn't going to want to do anything to ensure that deaf children are, subject to intellectual ability, brought up bilingual English and BSL, even if much stronger in the one than the other.

(Declaration of interest - I have a degree in Classics so am not hostile to Latin, I just think there are lots more valuable languages to teach children.  You may recall my views on how every child should learn either Makaton or basic BSL, if for no other reason than health and safety in noisy workplaces as adults.  I also think every child should be taught to lipread.  Then a foreign language, not selected on the basis of what's traditional, but selected on the basis of which countries we trade with.)
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 11 Aug 2021 11:42AM
I knew a fair chunk of that, but far from all of it, so thank you for filling in historical/timeline gaps.

I'm worried, though - are we agreeing on more things?

Do you read John Pring's Disability News Service?  I'm hooked on it.  He's been covering DPO outrage at being excluded from most of the government's plans relating to provision for disabled people. 

We can argue whether charities should exist, what structures there should or shouldn't be for organisations, but we can agree that it's disabled people and DPOs that should be listened to, not organisations that have taken on a life of their own and are not controlled by disabled people.

I have been involved in charitable fundraising, but have also been very much involved in campaigning for better public services.  E.g. it's not enough to raise charitable funding for a community playground, it also matters to campaign to get the local authority to provide public play areas, especially where they've sold off school playgrounds to follow government requirements.

It's often a compromise and one I don't like making.  Analogy - foodbanks.  We shouldn't need them.  I ooze outrage that such a rich country has so many hungry people, particularly children, and particularly where our government gets people onside with leaving third and subsequent children hungry by portraying it as penalising the parent not the child.

But then do I walk past my foodbank and say "No, I won't donate because it props up a system that lets the government get away with starving those it deems undeserving" or do I drop off a donation and say "It's disgusting it's needed, but whilst the current government is in power, I can't let my principles stop me donating."  No easy answer.

You've doubtless read one of my rants about how I believe that when neoliberal politicians have finished dismantling the welfare state, we won't be back to the eve of the welfare state, we'll be back to the dissolution of the monasteries, and totally dependent on the donations/help of others, even more than we are already.

Then what of the Deaf/deaf stuff?  Who'll give a toss?  And a government that thinks the way to level up is to teach kids Latin isn't going to want to do anything to ensure that deaf children are, subject to intellectual ability, brought up bilingual English and BSL, even if much stronger in the one than the other.

(Declaration of interest - I have a degree in Classics so am not hostile to Latin, I just think there are lots more valuable languages to teach children.  You may recall my views on how every child should learn either Makaton or basic BSL, if for no other reason than health and safety in noisy workplaces as adults.  I also think every child should be taught to lipread.  Then a foreign language, not selected on the basis of what's traditional, but selected on the basis of which countries we trade with.)
I think you have to make that stand, just because we have a government committed to leaving people unsupported, doesn't mean we prop it all up by throwing a few quid at charities to compensate, and of course it doesn't anyway, we perpetuate it all.  The degree of empowerment and support required needs a national effort.  We campaign every day for new rules and laws to get what is needed, then campaign again for more because no one is enacting any of them.  I am aware of at least 4 major access, human rights laws, and also aware none of them work for the disabled.  The UK goverment pulled a fast one by limiting 'rights' to  individuals who set a legal percedent.

If they won they got some of  their rights, but that didn't mean the rest of the disabled in same circumstances then got theirs, every single one of them has to lobby for themselves, this was the government policy of 'divide and rule'.  A lot of disabled aren't able to fight that fight on their own.

Of course disabled, Deaf (Whatever!), don't run own provision, e.g. the RNID the UK's largest Hearing loss charity has just 9% of staff whohave hearing loss, none are in any position to influence the direction of RNID support, indeed at one point, they were paying Visa costs for European staff to work with them causing huge rows, as they were all hearing.   the Deaf are political more than they are lobbying for need.  Most of the  funding they get goes on 'cultural' hoo ha at the expense of addressing why these deaf are marginalised and isolated.  The point about learning Makaton/sign is where on earth are hearing going to use it? We know from massive surveys regarding discrimination, it starts age 7, before that, children tend to accept anyone without fear or favour.  When they get into primary and the secondary education, peer pressure kicks in, and it isn't 'cool' then.

At 16+ it becomes 'cool' again to accept everyone and anyone, because teens need to rebel and look individual, they support all sorts of causes lost or otherwise.  It's a right of passage really.  The facts tend to suggest BSL still hasn't a norm or structure, we know it has no academic signs, or teachers to teach the deaf those, that came from the deaf teaching association who complained they cannot teach what doesn't actually exist.  Completely oblivious, the BDA and others demand a BSL based educational system which they hope to enact if or when the BSL Bills become a UK norm.  Currently, it is 50-50, with Wales and England (the majority), still resisting a BSL Bill, while Scotland and N Ireland have enacted it.

So far deaf haven't benefitted with any BSL Bill except that 'some' deaf and sign have attained higher profile, but profile isn't what deaf need, it is support and an approach that really will enable them.  The frustration, is that young deaf people know what they need to move forward and it isn't a BSL Bill and certainly not an enhanced isolation, they want what everyone else has.  Many hearing lip-read subconsciously anyway, but how will lip-reading help them follow deaf? It won't as speech is an issue as is a signing preference.  As regards to noisy area, a law exists to address that already, although I do recall the RNID selling a telephone that went way beyond health and safety db output.

As you say the D/d frustrates and annoys more than is accepted as a reality.  It's all a part of the cultural gig. You have to ID who is, and who isn't.  Here is where the current battles rage.  Cultural deaf have sold the idea to systems, but haven't sold it to deaf people themselves.  You can identify less than a 50 UK activists selling the whole thing, but they are very adept, and ironically schooled far better than most other deaf are, indeed a high percentage came from the Mary Hare grammar deaf school, which actually isn't sign based but almost completely oral, and a superior education.  I debate with these people day in and day out, they are in it for the kudos and jobs it provides, I don't believe they want deaf emancipation but to keep deaf in their communal isolation. In case choice means they won't be listened to.

Meanwhile, they reap the benefits of an oral education to promote sign, you could not script that.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Aug 2021 12:12PM
I'll pick up on the rest of your post in a bit.  There's some really good stuff in it. But first I want to pick up on this.


Quote
The point about learning Makaton/sign is where on earth are hearing going to use it?


As I said - health and safety in noisy workplaces.  For instance, a whole range of very basic sign languages developed naturally in the past in places like mills, and there are lots of workplaces today where people use lots of gesturing and develop local signs.  Watch workmen with noisy machinery taking their ear defenders off and shouting.

I have helped people who aren't deaf but who can't hear what's being said because of background noise communicate by giving them pieces of card I carry round with me and lending them a biro, when they want to communicate essential stuff like "How do I get to...?" etc.

Meanwhile, look at the deafness/hearing loss curve.  Leave aside the issue of profoundly/severely deaf people and include all those for whom it's enough to be a communication obstacle.  It's about one in six or seven.  It's one in three in the over eighties.  Is that a good time to get your brain acclimatised to communicating with your hands?  No, at that age you probably wouldn't remember the signs you'd used at school, but the concept of communicating that way would be deeply embedded, and if sign were used more widely, it would feel less stigmatising.  And boy do we stigmatise hearing loss in elders.  Must make the hearing aids hair-coloured and tiny, the emphasis being on hiding them not on making them easy to use.

Though if basic sign were more widely used in society, people would probably remember some of it when they got old, even when demented.

As I say, I'm multilingual.  I believe, for instance, that if you take two children of average ability aged about seven, and one is brought up bilingual and the other isn't, the one that is bilingual is likely to be more adept in the language the monolingual child speaks.   So I very strongly believe that if we encouraged communication in sign as an everyday second language, it wouldn't detract from using English as a primary language by all that can and wouldn't reduce people's fluency in English, it would simply add to communication options and improve health and safety.

As I say, I want to respond to more of your really interesting post a bit later.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Aug 2021 01:16PM
Quote
I think you have to make that stand, just because we have a government committed to leaving people unsupported, doesn't mean we prop it all up by throwing a few quid at charities to compensate, and of course it doesn't anyway, we perpetuate it all.
The difficulty I have with this isn't with whether we campaign or not, it's just a sense that when I see something like a foodbank, I know I have to weigh up short term and long-term.  Long-term, I hope that campaigning will change things; short-term, I feel I must help that way even if I shouldn't need to.


Then again, I'm ambivalent about many charity shops.  I buy most of my clothes in charity shops because I hate shopping in big shops, but some charities are very predatory.  For instance, Oxfam has a reputation for setting up bookshops close to private secondhand bookshops and putting them out of business.  I could name two close to me and read heartbreaking discussions about it on a bookseller's site.

Some of the charity shop chains have also been too involved for my liking with punitive government workfare schemes.

But if your local non-charity secondhand shops go out of business, then what?  Do you buy what you need where you can, do you do what I do and get picky about which charity shops you'll shop in, or do you maybe make an extra trip or do without the item you want at a price you're ok with, bearing in mind that every day of the week, most people buy stuff made in or with materials from overseas workplaces with appalling conditions.  Aargh!

But ok, so whatever we do in the meantime, we take a stand to improve the future.  I'm not sure, though, what taking a stand has to mean.  I don't mean that you're being woolly, I'm exploring the idea.

I do the stuff like going on marches and demos, and I've done my share of lobbying politicians and sitting on committees.  (And you may think that committees do nothing, but sometimes they can give you some influence in relation to politicians.)

It's difficult, because my life was torn apart by the responses of corrupt people in public institutions in various contexts.  I don't know how people have the guts to litigate.   For instance, the sheer viciousness of my local mental health team after I gave evidence about a particular incident I witnessed to a parliamentary enquiry into NHS cover-ups was frightening. 

Not the cover-up issue, but something I campaigned on for years, was the mental health trust's concept that you're Deaf and need care from a specialist team or your hearing is just fine.  Why would someone not on a Deaf ward need an amplified phone or hearing aid batteries or even a way to get in the building without being able to hear someone speaking through an intercom? 

Well, that's not Deaf/deaf services in the abstract, as it were, but it's Deaf & deaf services within other public service provision.  I ended up utterly demoralised over it.  

I wish I'd understood then that formal consultations tend to be a waste of time unless you go very public on stuff, preferably in a way that will make for good 'tabloid' headlines.  A careful balance, though.  Not simply embarassing the people with power, but getting the message across they'll be severely embarassed but giving them a get-out if they do what you want, even if it's not all that you want.

And I wish I hadn't lost my confidence and my courage when it comes to leading and organising things.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 11 Aug 2021 08:50PM
:f_peacedove: As I am aware there are no charity shops that are dedicated to deaf people, unless YOU know different lol.  Yes we need considerable energy and determination to plug away at systems to get things done, even to create awareness, and you are pitched against charities who have their version of what we need etc. Charities that kow tow to business or Royalty or the odd TV celeb etc, but I feel they get nervous and obstructive of disabled who don't portray themselves as needy but just want rights, because they can't sell that to fund givers. Any image of independence then people won't give money to your allocated charity, they need pathos, dire need, independent or demanding disabled aren't that.

We still go without, but we aren't hang dog about it.   Do I get tired?  only every single day lol but inequality exists so you have to do what you can, of course you get 'professional' disabled and deaf, you know the ones who make a life out of attending pointless meetings, or act as trustees token wise for charities, in the hope of a gong from queenie or an MBE or something, one woman I know was on committees of no less than 14 charities at the same time, that is all she did attend meetings.  People like us are more the necessary evil, we kick down doors, we annoy people, but like Moses in the wilderness are doomed to wander outside and get little thanks for it after, the meek or rather the opportunists then inherit the earth and become almost part of the system in so doing, but essentially little changes and that annoys.

Today it's the net. Social media, technologies, you would think change must happen, but it consolidates or empowers difference, which is in the long run anti-inclusion.  Without going on too much about current events, the BLM and ethnic issues today are a prime example off how not to do things. I know the deaf community doesn't understand what inclusion means except more support to 'drop in' to mainstream more easily, but they still don't want in to it, they fear a demise of culture and language as they know it, if they do, they haven't yet the faith in what they ask for, that it can stand on its own merits and compete.  They are also unforgiving of those who suggest, hey! Maybe there is more to life than a deaf community, 60m others have one. At some point the penny may drop who knows, or, maybe time will sort it.

Wales e.g. closed all its deaf schools and less than 20 now exist elsewhere, 5 under threat of closure recently, so change is happening whether they want it or not.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Aug 2021 09:40PM
Quote
As I am aware there are no charity shops that are dedicated to deaf people, unless YOU know different lol.
Deaf Action

Tayside Deaf  Hub
West Norfolk Deaf Association
Deafblind UK
Sense
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Aug 2021 09:48PM
Quote
Wales e.g. closed all its deaf schools and less than 20 now exist elsewhere, 5 under threat of closure recently, so change is happening whether they want it or not.
Never mind, they can copy England.  Close as many schools as they can get away with that cater for children with extra needs and dump them in the mainstream.  The government has cut central funding to local authorities to the extent that SEN help is a battle.


Even better, they can find themselves in academised schools that find the first excuse they can to offroll them alongside those that struggle with their standardised education, whatever the reason.

Then if they crumble psychologically under the strain of it all, they can be dumped in a private residential institution that will suck funds from the NHS whilst more likely harming than helping.

But then our leading politicians were educated in the school system where it's dog eat dog and those that don't cope are the price paid.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Aug 2021 10:33PM
To this day something sticks in my mind that I thought when I was twelve. I was thinking about different sorts of schools.  I had a scholarship to an independent school that shared some facilities with another independent school.

I thought of various local state schools.  Two grammar schools, boys & girls, that shared some facilities.  A grammar school and a secondary modern that didn't.

I wondered why state schools couldn't operate on a house system or school cluster system with lots of shared facilities and some shared activities, thus having more facilities, but with the 'houses' being the equivalent of different sorts of schools.

I still think that.

Why not a big school site with a large house for most pupils, then some smaller ones for pupils with SEN.  With shared facilities and shared activities, they'd be better integrated than in separate schools, but with separate houses, they'd get better care than a few bob's worth of a teaching assistant or whatever in the mainstream as and when they can fight for a bit of council funding.

In the meantime, since we have precious little flexibility in what support we get, the government and its funders can sit back happily knowing that if we're not careful, we can end up fighting amongst ourselves for which option we want, arguing either/or not both/and.

OtE, thank you for your reminders that when I'm out there protesting, and when I'm campaigning locally, I need to include specific deaf rights campaigning.  It would do me no harm if, say, on a disability rights march, to have a placard that specifically mentions deaf rights.

And I need to suss out the current state of play on our local services.  I've been focussing more on support for people with mental and neurological problems.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 13 Aug 2021 11:28AM
To this day something sticks in my mind that I thought when I was twelve. I was thinking about different sorts of schools.  I had a scholarship to an independent school that shared some facilities with another independent school.

I thought of various local state schools.  Two grammar schools, boys & girls, that shared some facilities.  A grammar school and a secondary modern that didn't.

I wondered why state schools couldn't operate on a house system or school cluster system with lots of shared facilities and some shared activities, thus having more facilities, but with the 'houses' being the equivalent of different sorts of schools.

I still think that.

Why not a big school site with a large house for most pupils, then some smaller ones for pupils with SEN.  With shared facilities and shared activities, they'd be better integrated than in separate schools, but with separate houses, they'd get better care than a few bob's worth of a teaching assistant or whatever in the mainstream as and when they can fight for a bit of council funding.

In the meantime, since we have precious little flexibility in what support we get, the government and its funders can sit back happily knowing that if we're not careful, we can end up fighting amongst ourselves for which option we want, arguing either/or not both/and.

OtE, thank you for your reminders that when I'm out there protesting, and when I'm campaigning locally, I need to include specific deaf rights campaigning.  It would do me no harm if, say, on a disability rights march, to have a placard that specifically mentions deaf rights.

And I need to suss out the current state of play on our local services.  I've been focussing more on support for people with mental and neurological problems.


Oh dear, I wasn't advocating 'Deaf' rights just awareness.  Once you mention Deaf you marginalize me!  I am only profound deaf and not a part of the deaf culture and the image currently of all deaf people is that signing thing, so it wouldn't be inclusive of me or 10m others with degrees of hearing loss.  anything that contains 'Hands, culture, or community', is just going to sideline most.


We live in the age of the individual, so millions are doing their own thing, which makes lobbying impossible really because we all want different things.  This identifies why the sign user is so effective, they turn up en masse for a fridge opening.  They have no interest aka the fridge itself, but any excuse for a chinwag really it used to be called 'Under the Lamp'.  Now the net is its global equivalent.


I think the last time they marched was around 2005 or so in support of 'Deaf president Now' a USA campaign.  As regards to education, I flunked basically, my English teacher said I would never master writing my own name.  I was in mainstream 100% near deaf and no support existed, I spent all my adult life fighting to meet the next day's problems.  In retrospect, I would love to have had the luxury of a special school, but not their education.  It just turned out 'factory fodder' for the deaf community, they still had no options as adults.


Mainstreaming has its problems of course it does, primarily because support is lacking, we need to understand the demise of deaf schools meant the demise of professional Teachers to the deaf too, they got scattered everywhere, and couldn't then be utilised in the mainstream after, where perhaps only 1 or 2 deaf kids attended, which was no bad thing at the time because they had no end game as regards to pupils it was assumed mainstream couldn't really include them.


I think mainstreaming does work for most, of course interacting daily with non-deaf was problematic, but, it is what they have to face as adults anyway so the sooner they create avenues of coping with that the better. Wales has 100s of deaf children, less than 15 were assessed as being unable to manage a mainstream environment and a number had issues other than deafness.


When mainstreaming was mooted after horrific abuses in deaf schools were found,  it was known it was a generational thing before we could estimate success.  They have to provide an alternative to 150 years or more of dire institutional care and education.  A lot, where arguments amidst academic ensued as to what was the best way to educate a deaf child, oral? signing? it was agreed generally, that neither would take priority but what worked best for the child would.  This was a mix of both usually.


Its true sign is what they prefer, but it isn't the language that empowers them, so the state has to try and balance it out.  The world does not revolve around sign use so a compromise has to be found, currently, the deaf are digging in and saying they want a back to the future setup/BSL Law where deaf schools re-emerge again but this time, predominantly using sign as the language.  They are rejecting the curriculum hearing kids are using.  They are challenging parents who mainstream.


However, a major flaw exists in their argument apart from poor access to the mainstream BSL provides, a huge supportive setup, they currently don't use anyway,  and work issues, etc, in that the language of sign isn't sufficient to enable and no 'BSL' teachers or a curriculum is being trained for or set up, at best you would be talking 20 years to effect a such an educational set up, and there are grave doubts parents would buy into it, let alone the state.


We would not know if it worked or not for years, would parents take that risk?  A lot are anti-BSL because they have been attacked by deaf activists, and called child abusers for having CI's implanted, or a hearing aid, etc.  Alleviations and research into loss is called 'deaf genocide'.  I rather fear that the poor school support in the mainstream simply arms them more.  Mainstreaming IS the way ahead, support can only make it work.


I suspect the chaos will continue because we are arming all sorts of differences, that may not want to work together at all.  Not only is the individual doing their own thing so are separatist groupings as well.  So whose 'right' gets priority when they clash?

Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 13 Aug 2021 04:38PM
I said deaf rights not Deaf rights.

People with a whole range of deafness from just enough to have some difficulties in life to no hearing at all have rights and needs that our society often doesn't address.

Because as a child I had glue ear (or as we used to say, I was catarrhal), I sat through lessons galore where I couldn't hear the teacher and either pretended I could or, if the teacher was understanding, copied from my textbook.  But I'm happy to have an oral language as my primary language. 

My notion of schools with houses for pupils with different sorts of needs means that children for whom it is logical to have their primary language as BSL aren't cut off and still integrate.  But then I think you and I will never agree over my obsession with multilingualism.  For me, giving a child BSL as its primary language doesn't mean expecting that child to be fluent only in BSL.  Even children with quite low IQs can become fluent in at least two languages and three is common in an awful lot of parts of the world.

That being said, where I live, there are still strong divides between schools anyway.  Can we really say that a child that goes to a grammar school isn't thus integrated into what I'll call an academic culture?  We have enormous social divides depending on which schools pupils go to.  One of that swarm of bees in my bonnet is the issue of how we got rid of secondary moderns with their funding and curricula for lots of practical skills, and turned them into what I'll unkindly call 'second class grammar schools'.  I.e. tell kids they're useless at academic stuff then make them focus on it until they leave school with qualifications at low grades, whilst our politicians and media scream about the shortage of people with trades and practical skills.

So what I'm trying to say is that if you cluster different sorts of kids together, thinking in terms of houses with lots of shared activities and facilities, instead of different schools streets apart or miles apart, they're less segregated.

But then my notiont that BSL should be on every child's curriculum would also mean that Deaf children would then not be the ones who are separate, segregated linguistically, but the 'experts' in BSL.  Different feel to it, different life chances.

As for what you say about Deaf activists and hostility to things like CIs, I think you'll always get some twerps like that.  I don't think fighting for deaf rights, including Deaf rights, has to involve support for that. 

Nevertheless, I do think deaf rights matter.  Often it's little things.  Stuff that very often doesn't cost much to provide. 

Ironically, given how much I say about deaf education, I have a big thing about deafness and life in general, particularly elders who may feel awkward in a society that, frankly, shames them.  But if we adapt society, not only does it make it easier for people with various levels of deafness, it makes it easier for everyone else.

I have been left abandoned in hospital waiting rooms.  I don't ask for big adjustments, really I don't.  But what does it cost them in terms of lost time if the arrangements made don't get followed through?  E.g. when they tell me a specific seat to sit in and that they'll come and fetch me but don't pass the word on to the clinicians?

As for separate groupings, I see it like this.  Forgive me if I dive into an army analogy.  You may have a regiment.  They all wear the same badge, beret etc.  Erm, except they don't. What?  Well, you've got people with specialist trades.  Your medical officer or your lorry driver or your clerk might have a different badge, and be very proud of their corps.

However, they're also proud of what they do for your regiment and if you make them feel part of it, valuing what they have to offer, it will be win-win, and the more so if you all remember that you are all trained soldiers. 

In my younger days, I got involved in what's often called women's lib.  I'd regard myself still as a feminist.  But for me, feminism isn't, as parts of the media would like to convince some men that it is, a fight to be better than men or to get a better deal than men.  It's simply not wanting a worse deal.

And if you have groups saying they're treated worse, please stop it, and then it seems like if you want to stop it, you might need to change some existing requirements for something, very often it's just like the regimental thing. 

A different army analogy.  I was always a slow runner.  I couldn't sprint like the men.  But three regiments used me to pace the men on long runs.  I remember at one unit saying "If you'll get me through the first five miles, I'll get you through the last five miles."  Which I did.

And when I thrown out oodles of army analogies, I think how lucky I was to serve in a generation that saw difference as potential. 

If we help a group that's different, it doesn't have to be to everyone's detriment.  Give people pride in who and what they are, and you take away the incentive to become isolated and hostile.   
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 14 Aug 2021 11:43AM
I said deaf rights not Deaf rights.

People with a whole range of deafness from just enough to have some difficulties in life to no hearing at all have rights and needs that our society often doesn't address.

Because as a child I had glue ear (or as we used to say, I was catarrhal), I sat through lessons galore where I couldn't hear the teacher and either pretended I could or, if the teacher was understanding, copied from my textbook.  But I'm happy to have an oral language as my primary language. 

My notion of schools with houses for pupils with different sorts of needs means that children for whom it is logical to have their primary language as BSL aren't cut off and still integrate.  But then I think you and I will never agree over my obsession with multilingualism.  For me, giving a child BSL as its primary language doesn't mean expecting that child to be fluent only in BSL.  Even children with quite low IQs can become fluent in at least two languages and three is common in an awful lot of parts of the world.

That being said, where I live, there are still strong divides between schools anyway.  Can we really say that a child that goes to a grammar school isn't thus integrated into what I'll call an academic culture?  We have enormous social divides depending on which schools pupils go to.  One of that swarm of bees in my bonnet is the issue of how we got rid of secondary moderns with their funding and curricula for lots of practical skills, and turned them into what I'll unkindly call 'second class grammar schools'.  I.e. tell kids they're useless at academic stuff then make them focus on it until they leave school with qualifications at low grades, whilst our politicians and media scream about the shortage of people with trades and practical skills.

So what I'm trying to say is that if you cluster different sorts of kids together, thinking in terms of houses with lots of shared activities and facilities, instead of different schools streets apart or miles apart, they're less segregated.

But then my notiont that BSL should be on every child's curriculum would also mean that Deaf children would then not be the ones who are separate, segregated linguistically, but the 'experts' in BSL.  Different feel to it, different life chances.

As for what you say about Deaf activists and hostility to things like CIs, I think you'll always get some twerps like that.  I don't think fighting for deaf rights, including Deaf rights, has to involve support for that. 

Nevertheless, I do think deaf rights matter.  Often it's little things.  Stuff that very often doesn't cost much to provide. 

Ironically, given how much I say about deaf education, I have a big thing about deafness and life in general, particularly elders who may feel awkward in a society that, frankly, shames them.  But if we adapt society, not only does it make it easier for people with various levels of deafness, it makes it easier for everyone else.

I have been left abandoned in hospital waiting rooms.  I don't ask for big adjustments, really I don't.  But what does it cost them in terms of lost time if the arrangements made don't get followed through?  E.g. when they tell me a specific seat to sit in and that they'll come and fetch me but don't pass the word on to the clinicians?

As for separate groupings, I see it like this.  Forgive me if I dive into an army analogy.  You may have a regiment.  They all wear the same badge, beret etc.  Erm, except they don't. What?  Well, you've got people with specialist trades.  Your medical officer or your lorry driver or your clerk might have a different badge, and be very proud of their corps.

However, they're also proud of what they do for your regiment and if you make them feel part of it, valuing what they have to offer, it will be win-win, and the more so if you all remember that you are all trained soldiers. 

In my younger days, I got involved in what's often called women's lib.  I'd regard myself still as a feminist.  But for me, feminism isn't, as parts of the media would like to convince some men that it is, a fight to be better than men or to get a better deal than men.  It's simply not wanting a worse deal.

And if you have groups saying they're treated worse, please stop it, and then it seems like if you want to stop it, you might need to change some existing requirements for something, very often it's just like the regimental thing. 

A different army analogy.  I was always a slow runner.  I couldn't sprint like the men.  But three regiments used me to pace the men on long runs.  I remember at one unit saying "If you'll get me through the first five miles, I'll get you through the last five miles."  Which I did.

And when I thrown out oodles of army analogies, I think how lucky I was to serve in a generation that saw difference as potential. 

If we help a group that's different, it doesn't have to be to everyone's detriment.  Give people pride in who and what they are, and you take away the incentive to become isolated and hostile.


I'm more yer 'Jerk' persuasion these days, tending to challenge any assumptions people make lol.  I think we need more Jerks frankly.   :f_laugh:   I think the deaf/Deaf certainly need someone there to kick bums frankly.  If you empower a minority, they cement and consolidate it.  I think it totally unrealistic everyone is going to acquire sign language to help them. Where would even learners use it etc... They would wander the streets looking for a deaf person?  I don't think so.  Deaf stay with Deaf even when accessing mainstream things, they still set themselves apart.  Statistically more use Urdu and Polish than sign language, 1,000s more do, 10m HoH don't use sign either. 


The state says they would all be better off learning Mandarin and French than signed language.  Deaf do have the ability to choose what communication format they can use, it is not as if sign is all they have.  The hearing kids won't have time to learn anything basic like the 3r's, we are in danger of turning out adults fit only to work in charities and focus groups.   Sod's law says minorities must adapt to survive, if they don't they will struggle.  This is a truism for the deaf, or disabled really.  Once we know what to expect then planning futures to fit, happens. 


Access Utopia is very unlikely to happen. It fails to take into account human nature, if people don't want to help they won't.  No law can force people to care or include (Or sign).  The root of it all is in education, we all need to be armed with the communication tools to work the mainstream, without it you cannot progress let alone include ourselves.  All else is 'special needs' whatever that is. Some moot the special needs area as priming deaf and disabled to fail.


By default they tend to be taught/supported apart and trotted out occasionally as some sop to inclusion, the middle-way of annex's to schools are little more than token inclusion.  It isn't true to suggest mainstreaming means you all sit alone in a class with nobody like you, or unsupported, most are in classes on their own attached to mainstream schools, half-way housing, and half-hearted inclusion too.  The deaf have PHU's (partial hearing units), which 'protect' them from real inclusion and the stresses that involves.


Those that pursue different vocational courses can be pretty much on their own but they do get class support.  The issue is they prefer to be with other deaf again and it causes stress and they struggle.  Clearly, their preference is some sort of Greta Garbo approach, but it won't enable the inclusion and acceptance they demand. Nobody can ensure your current or chosen vocation in life will be all people the same as you are.   It didn't in deaf schools.  There is no easy way.  Derby University there was a grant made available to deaf students there and they had two choices where that money could be spent.


(1)  They could rent a room at the college and use it as a 'deaf/social club', or (2) Use the money to pay for more class support and better equipment.  They chose the club aspect as a priority, not the support aspect to help them qualify easier.  Needless to say, 64% failed to qualify in their chosen subject.  In London, the state spent over 2 years, a quarter of a £m supporting one deaf person to qualify as a lawyer, he decided half-way through it wasn't doing anything for him, blaming all sorts.  The reality is he jumped the queue to get a Uni placing and hadn't the education to advance really.  universities wanted this sort of 'inclusion' for 'lesser abled' stopped, they spend initial years getting some up to basic literacy standards to follow the curriculum.  Standards they said they should have met before being allowed a Uni place.  Positive discrimination blew it in that respect.


Today these Deaf still claim the highest amount of Access to Work money of any disabled sector in the UK.  This can mean anything up to £800 a week support in BSL.  If we are looking at the successful results of that help we aren't seeing any really and that is despite the BSL deaf having the sole national supportive area of anyone with hearing loss, still, they claim they need more and more. 


Most now goes to 'Deaf Arts' which is a misnomer in terms as most is just signed versions of mainstream/hearing art, and unless you live in a city you cannot access it.  They even have their own awards and luvvie set ups.  I look to the big picture and, deaf access is not working in my view, and the people that drive the campaigns, have their own agendas that have little to do with inclusion at all, because being a minority, they stand to benefit more.







Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 14 Aug 2021 01:23PM
I'll come back to the rest of it later, but I want to address this:-

Quote
I think it totally unrealistic everyone is going to acquire sign language to help them.

I think we're still at cross-purposes over this.  I'm not suggesting we all learn sign language to help deaf people, I'm saying we should all learn it for health and safety reasons, with a secondary benefit of helping deaf people, particularly those that lose their hearing later in life. 

I also think the helping people thing is, as it were, the wrong way round.  I'm not saying our first aim in learning sign from an early age should be helping others.  It would help us.  Win-win.

People gesture.  Watch workmen operating heavy machinery and see how many gestures they use.  But also see how often they take their ear defenders off to hear others shouting.

We've got a government saying kids should all learn Latin.  Twaddle.  Teach them a form of communication that will help in noisy environments, that will work outside shouting distance, that will work through windows.  It doesn't take many hours to learn the basics.  Level 2 would be enough to give kids a start on it.

And as for people not learning it to communicate with people, well, kids may not see it that way, but in less than a generation, it could embed.  And one language doesn't have to replace another unless someone makes it.  All around the world are places where people just take it for granted they speak at least two languages.

Incidentally, do you remember that news item that hit the media a few years back to much amusement?  At first, I thought it was just a variation on a common American meme, but then found the source for it.  Train replacement service in Britain, man told woman with darker skin and foreign-looking clothes who was talking with her children "This is England, you should be speaking English."  "No, this is Wales and we're speaking Welsh."

Discussing this with people I know elsesite, someone said that as an English person they'd got to grips with Welsh first when their children came home from school.  Think about it - look how much homework parents help with where they have to look at the materials and learn it with their child.  If they can do it with Welsh or Gaelic, why not BSL?

You and I will probably never agree on this, but I will continue to argue for the value of a sign language across society, along with arguing for a level of normalisation of workplace ear defenders that equates to the normalisation of safety helmets, safety jackets etc. 

And if the idea of learning sign to help one's communication if deafness later sets in or to communicate with those for whom it does, sorry to be bleak, but I'm working on the basis that by the time successive governments have completely dismantled and privatised the welfare state, an awful lot of people won't be able to afford hearing aids.  As it is, even with my NHS ones, I often resort to gesturing and writing things down.  I say that as someone who's worn HAs for decades.

Anyway, the key thing is that for me this isn't about prioritising Deaf people's communication, it's about better integration.  If others learn sign, where would be the reasoning for culturally Deaf people not to become fluent in English?

But oh gosh, you've written loads that's interesting, some I agree with and some I disagree with, and I'll be back later to respond more.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 16 Aug 2021 12:31PM
I'll come back to the rest of it later, but I want to address this:-

Quote
I think it totally unrealistic everyone is going to acquire sign language to help them.

I think we're still at cross-purposes over this.  I'm not suggesting we all learn sign language to help deaf people, I'm saying we should all learn it for health and safety reasons, with a secondary benefit of helping deaf people, particularly those that lose their hearing later in life. 

I also think the helping people thing is, as it were, the wrong way round.  I'm not saying our first aim in learning sign from an early age should be helping others.  It would help us.  Win-win.

People gesture.  Watch workmen operating heavy machinery and see how many gestures they use.  But also see how often they take their ear defenders off to hear others shouting.

We've got a government saying kids should all learn Latin.  Twaddle.  Teach them a form of communication that will help in noisy environments, that will work outside shouting distance, that will work through windows.  It doesn't take many hours to learn the basics.  Level 2 would be enough to give kids a start on it.

And as for people not learning it to communicate with people, well, kids may not see it that way, but in less than a generation, it could embed.  And one language doesn't have to replace another unless someone makes it.  All around the world are places where people just take it for granted they speak at least two languages.

Incidentally, do you remember that news item that hit the media a few years back to much amusement?  At first, I thought it was just a variation on a common American meme, but then found the source for it.  Train replacement service in Britain, man told woman with darker skin and foreign-looking clothes who was talking with her children "This is England, you should be speaking English."  "No, this is Wales and we're speaking Welsh."

Discussing this with people I know elsesite, someone said that as an English person they'd got to grips with Welsh first when their children came home from school.  Think about it - look how much homework parents help with where they have to look at the materials and learn it with their child.  If they can do it with Welsh or Gaelic, why not BSL?

You and I will probably never agree on this, but I will continue to argue for the value of a sign language across society, along with arguing for a level of normalisation of workplace ear defenders that equates to the normalisation of safety helmets, safety jackets etc. 

And if the idea of learning sign to help one's communication if deafness later sets in or to communicate with those for whom it does, sorry to be bleak, but I'm working on the basis that by the time successive governments have completely dismantled and privatised the welfare state, an awful lot of people won't be able to afford hearing aids.  As it is, even with my NHS ones, I often resort to gesturing and writing things down.  I say that as someone who's worn HAs for decades.

Anyway, the key thing is that for me this isn't about prioritising Deaf people's communication, it's about better integration.  If others learn sign, where would be the reasoning for culturally Deaf people not to become fluent in English?

But oh gosh, you've written loads that's interesting, some I agree with and some I disagree with, and I'll be back later to respond more.


As you may or may not know I ran a deaf blog online for 9 YEARS,  I was the most prolific deaf poster in the UK, second to none.  In all that time I  changed the blog 5 times, it averaged 4.2m every time re views. It was a banned blog in the UK, because I charged aspects of BSL, although I was the foremost informative blog poster about world deaf, deaf people, and sign language.  I had to migrate my blog to the USA because not a single UK deaf site would accept a link to it.


They don't accept comments or posts from me today.  Most are home to hypocrites and publicity-seeking deaf whose primary agenda is to maintain the 'status quo' as per 1960, but with social media.  I think we do accept BSL is not going to go any further than the deaf themselves.  The problem is most tend to look online to validate BSL, not, look to grassroots to see what they use, or what they think.  If you log in to a BSL/Deaf site what else do you expect to read?  Sadly for them hearing DON'T log in to their sites so don't gain awareness or such.


Recently I closed my deaf site, after 15-20 years on and offline, I just felt nothing has changed where it counts regarding inclusion.  There just isn't any issue I hadn't covered in considerable depth year in and year out.  It was time to move on and away from the nonsense and faux inclusion they are now asking for, it's not what I want, it is not what grass root deaf want either.  Old habits don't change, and young deaf don't really get involved in the nonsense of deaf activism anymore, they know what they need to do.


I sign it provides no access or use, so I moved on, it was no point banging away at an area that has no intention of including people who won['t change, or cannot adapt, they are happy enough nodding sagely at the deaf and accepting they need help to do everything, patronize them in short.  Systems throw funding at them to empower them, they don't use to access or include themselves, the state supports a national BSL support system, 68% have never used it.


Even with these undeniable facts, you can go online and they suggest considerable demand and need is there and they are being deprived of it.  10m have never had heard of hearing support, they still don't, so they have moved on.  They don't even campaign anymore. They never got any inclusion from the deaf either.  I think one of my last posts was about going 'Binary' myself and insisting I am not deaf anymore but demand recognition as a hearing person instead.  The thing has gone full circle really.


My efforts these days are to raise real awareness with politicians, to head off the lies of the BSL activists and to promote decision-making based on fact alone, which is supposed to be the way anyway.  we know not a single charity in the UK can back up any statistics they have declared. My own stats came from the BSL Interpreters themselves who are at the coal face of deaf support, and, the NHS/Social Services who assess who needs support via who has approached them for it.  Those suggest a few 1,000 at most UK-wide, not 115,000 the BDA declared or even the RNID's 10m hard of hearing.


It may well in an idealistic world suggest if just one deafie is deprived that's reason enough for everyone else to adapt to them, we know that isn't how it works.  Systems go via identified numbers, not charity-inspired guesstimates. 10 times more demand support online than they do from the systems able to provide it.  As systems are concerned there is no demand as a result.  Would they be assessed AS needing support, the proof is there to be found, and a lot are not risking it.


There is one 'official' and sole area that assesses real deaf need, the DWP! and we all know what their assessments indicate, little or no need for help at all. 70% of HoH lost DLA and failed to get PIP, 76% of BSL users got theirs.  The SIgn was the primary validator, no wonder activism is insisting we all do now.

Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 16 Aug 2021 01:24PM
It's clear you've had some really, really bad experiences from what I'll call the Deaf & signing community and I really feel for you.  Our rights as deaf people that don't want to be main-language signers are important and shouldn't be ignored.

And I'm enjoying this discussion with you, but sadly I'm not sure how far we'll ever meet in the middle.

I'm the sort of linguist who annoys people when I say that sometimes if you want immigrants to get better at a host country's language, you do better to do it in the context of a bilingual setting.  I have benefitted from this in various ways.  For instance, when studying Japanese in England, I found it good attending get-togethers between anglophones learning Japanese and vice-versa.  In the middle of it, our Japanese got better and their English got better because neither felt socially excluded linguistically.

I'm mother-tongue English but learnt French at an early age, which massively helped my English, and then when I was a student in France, I ended up hanging out with a group of German-speakers.  I cut them a deal - if they'd speak German with me, I'd speak English with them.  But if you think that didn't help our French, you'd be wrong, because we ended up chatting about learning French.

So with that angle on life, I'm probably always going to see BSL as a language, learning multiple languages as normal, and to believe that if we want to maximise integration of first-language signers into an anglophone society, there needs to be two way acceptance.

I see it as analogous to the niqab/face-veil situation.  I think quite a few of the niqabis I meet are psychologically hiding behind their veil.   I mean that in the same way that people hide behind other forms of dress they feel psychologically safe in, which, for instance, would for my father have meant a jacket and tie.  I don't recall seeing him wear a pullover before his fifties.

So if you want a niqabi to stop wearing her veil, you don't get annoyed with her or reject her or alienate her; instead you make her feel safe, wanted, accepted.  In time, she may relax enough to take her veil off in company, then maybe permanently.  I know niqabis who scowl at the sight of furious anti-veilers, but are ok with lifting their niqab if I can't hear them, whilst I'm ok, if there's little or no background noise, with them getting close and shouting. 

So if I want signers not to feel their right to be first-language signers threatened, then I want them to feel linguistically accepted.

But at the same time, I get a very, very strong feeling from what you've written here and previously that ridiculously ferocious signers have alienated people like you that simply want a fair deal for all deaf people, not just signers.  And that isn't going to make you feel positive about signers or signing, is it?  I think that if you and I knew each other socially, I'd be watching out for you in deaf environments in case any ranty 'culturally Deaf people are the only people that matter' person headed your way and you'd appreciate support in getting them to be more reasonable.

As for whether either BSL or Makaton would ever be widely accepted for general use, well, if it isn't, I hope the next generation will fight for a different sort of sign language for general use.  I think it's disgusting that we expect people working in noisy conditions to either take their ear defenders off to hear people or get to grips with inconsistent local signs that can lead to accidents, where one person thinks the other person is telling them to reverse their digger but actually they were telling them to stop, so they mow a colleague down or drive their back wheel over a lightweight board over a hole and their digger tips over and they get badly hurt.  We need what I'll call a national health and safety sign language.   That would help people who are first-language signers, but wouldn't for me be the primary aim, just a key supporting aim.

But let's be clear.  Insofar as I'd like a basic grasp of BSL to be normal for the majority of people a couple of generations from now, I strongly think it should also be normal for all Deaf people who are first-language BSL to be as near fluent in English as they are mentally and physically capable of. 

Meanwhile, you mention really thought-provoking issues about other aspects of support for what I'll call non-signing deaf, and I want to come back to them.

You and I disagree about things, but I'm annoyed your blog had to close.  I think it's really important for different views to be heard. (So long as they're not the sort of views you get in a rather different sort of blog, along the lines of "Let's go out and do really nasty things to people who are different from us.")  Let's say you were to say stuff and after consideration, I were to disagree with 95% of it - wouldn't it be worth learning and agreeing with that other 5%?  When I say annoyed, I don't mean I'm annoyed with you.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 17 Aug 2021 12:05PM
It's clear you've had some really, really bad experiences from what I'll call the Deaf & signing community and I really feel for you.  Our rights as deaf people that don't want to be main-language signers are important and shouldn't be ignored.

And I'm enjoying this discussion with you, but sadly I'm not sure how far we'll ever meet in the middle.

I'm the sort of linguist who annoys people when I say that sometimes if you want immigrants to get better at a host country's language, you do better to do it in the context of a bilingual setting.  I have benefitted from this in various ways.  For instance, when studying Japanese in England, I found it good attending get-togethers between anglophones learning Japanese and vice-versa.  In the middle of it, our Japanese got better and their English got better because neither felt socially excluded linguistically.

I'm mother-tongue English but learnt French at an early age, which massively helped my English, and then when I was a student in France, I ended up hanging out with a group of German-speakers.  I cut them a deal - if they'd speak German with me, I'd speak English with them.  But if you think that didn't help our French, you'd be wrong, because we ended up chatting about learning French.

So with that angle on life, I'm probably always going to see BSL as a language, learning multiple languages as normal, and to believe that if we want to maximise integration of first-language signers into an anglophone society, there needs to be two way acceptance.

I see it as analogous to the niqab/face-veil situation.  I think quite a few of the niqabis I meet are psychologically hiding behind their veil.   I mean that in the same way that people hide behind other forms of dress they feel psychologically safe in, which, for instance, would for my father have meant a jacket and tie.  I don't recall seeing him wear a pullover before his fifties.

So if you want a niqabi to stop wearing her veil, you don't get annoyed with her or reject her or alienate her; instead you make her feel safe, wanted, accepted.  In time, she may relax enough to take her veil off in company, then maybe permanently.  I know niqabis who scowl at the sight of furious anti-veilers, but are ok with lifting their niqab if I can't hear them, whilst I'm ok, if there's little or no background noise, with them getting close and shouting. 

So if I want signers not to feel their right to be first-language signers threatened, then I want them to feel linguistically accepted.

But at the same time, I get a very, very strong feeling from what you've written here and previously that ridiculously ferocious signers have alienated people like you that simply want a fair deal for all deaf people, not just signers.  And that isn't going to make you feel positive about signers or signing, is it?  I think that if you and I knew each other socially, I'd be watching out for you in deaf environments in case any ranty 'culturally Deaf people are the only people that matter' person headed your way and you'd appreciate support in getting them to be more reasonable.

As for whether either BSL or Makaton would ever be widely accepted for general use, well, if it isn't, I hope the next generation will fight for a different sort of sign language for general use.  I think it's disgusting that we expect people working in noisy conditions to either take their ear defenders off to hear people or get to grips with inconsistent local signs that can lead to accidents, where one person thinks the other person is telling them to reverse their digger but actually they were telling them to stop, so they mow a colleague down or drive their back wheel over a lightweight board over a hole and their digger tips over and they get badly hurt.  We need what I'll call a national health and safety sign language.   That would help people who are first-language signers, but wouldn't for me be the primary aim, just a key supporting aim.

But let's be clear.  Insofar as I'd like a basic grasp of BSL to be normal for the majority of people a couple of generations from now, I strongly think it should also be normal for all Deaf people who are first-language BSL to be as near fluent in English as they are mentally and physically capable of. 

Meanwhile, you mention really thought-provoking issues about other aspects of support for what I'll call non-signing deaf, and I want to come back to them.

You and I disagree about things, but I'm annoyed your blog had to close.  I think it's really important for different views to be heard. (So long as they're not the sort of views you get in a rather different sort of blog, along the lines of "Let's go out and do really nasty things to people who are different from us.")  Let's say you were to say stuff and after consideration, I were to disagree with 95% of it - wouldn't it be worth learning and agreeing with that other 5%?  When I say annoyed, I don't mean I'm annoyed with you.


I don't challenge the person.  I never got personal, but I do challenge the view, I think that is a right.  The reality is, that it becomes second nature to some activists to turn different viewpoints into a personal attack, i.e. you 'challenge one deaf person's viewpoint, you attack all 'Deaf' people'.  It is absolutely effective, the Deaf regardless of how moderate they are, they are isolated people and rely on the unity of each other, so they will by default in many cases unite against the dissenter.


It is the strength of the BSL community, they act in unison.  The only way is to ensure they have real choice, so they aren't disadvantaged if they don't want the same as others.  Inclusion is anathema to most, they lack the confidence to enter the mainstream.  It is why this 'smoke screen of deaf culture and language, gets used to protect that unity.  We can draw examples from 'Martha's Vineyard' (Late 1800s), held up by USA deaf as a shining example of deaf and hearing united and working together as a society.


It was a remote community, that had a very high proportion of occupants with the deaf gene.  Near all hearing there knew sign, intermarried with deaf, had deaf children etc.. so there were no issues of communications, an atypical deaf utopia really. It all fell apart when advances in transport, rail, and roadways, allowed more people to travel outwards, in 30 years it all collapsed, because hearing went like with like, lesser deaf were born, other hearing avoided them not wanting to risk having deaf children.


This meant the deaf over time developed a fear of inclusion that still exists today.  I read this morning the NDCS bemoaning the fact more deaf teachers aren't there, more deaf schools are closing etc.  It remains to be seen if deaf can convince everyone else it is in the wider interest to support and learn sign language.  Yes, we can recognize their language and culture but recognizing it, isn't empowering it.  Hence the BSL bills etc it is more desperation than anything by activism.  The staff to make it all viable is disappearing.  No point in a deaf school that hasn't deaf teachers.


As regards to Hijabs or whatever, I don't go with it at all. It is males oppressing females.  There is no law in Islam that demands they wear it, and, they live in the UK and we don't demand it either.  I'm unsure Sharia law demands it, I do know that law has no viability here, it does have a law that says they can not marry 12yr old girls off to old men they have never met!  It is legalised pedophilia, sanctioned by an obscure and extreme interpretation of Islam..


The blog had to go simply because there was nothing new to be said. Deaf issues became a repetitive and constant rehash of 1880s 'Oral versus Sign' gone digital.  The prime USA deaf aggregate I made a contribution to, has given up as well.  All the leading deaf intellectuals who held exciting and informative debates left in disgust and dismay, I was rather late joining them, I suppose I hoped reason might prevail and it didn't.


Now trivia rules and spammers have moved in including Phillpino posters advertising nail care.  Online is now left to the activists to say and do whatever they want.  A few have done very well out of it.  Most suspect that was the issue, in protecting sign and culture, they kept a captive audience of like minded.  Most rank and file deaf don't really have much interest in what they say, there are 2 UK sites I think that are for 'BSL Deaf' and they just talk about friends and day-to-day stuff, you won't find many BSL issues there and most are happy enough in deaf or a hearing environment.


There are others to avoid of course who talk politics and complete ignorance in equal measure, one started out with 1500 members now has about 20 talking to themselves on a closed site that does not accept any view different to one they hold.  It's a shame, as they are actually quite clever people, but their egos make the whole site unviable, and themselves looking quite ridiculous, what a waste of talent.


I want equality and inclusion for all, and if they aren't supporting that I don't want to know them or their cause.  Easily identifiable you disagree with them, culture, rights, and language, are thrown at you, anything except a response.  You can push as I do, they will label you a discriminator or worse.  My first few weeks in the USA they spammed my blog 70+ times a day with abuse, it all came from the UK.  They even lobbied the USA to remove my blog stating I attacked deaf people.  The USA laughed them off the site bascially.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 18 Aug 2021 10:08PM
Sorry I didn't come back to you earlier.  I've had a few difficult days with personal/family stuff, and a bank that messed up over a very large sum of money. 

Again I'm sorry you got so much aggro.  That sort of thing just divides deaf people from one another, yet I've known first-language signers who wanted the right to key information in BSL whilst doing their very best where possible in English and being ok with people doing a bit of gesturing and writing to help out.   If I had a sense of Deaf cultural identity, I think I'd be thinking of the sort of aggressive trolls you were up against and saying (or signing) "My cultural identity isn't that of a raving plonker!"

As an aside, on the niqab thing, you should have heard the rows between a neighbour of mine and her husband about it.  Aargh!  It took him years to persuade her to stop wearing one.  Yes, it's not always men forcing women to wear them, whatever it might seem like.  It may be the case in various countries where they're the norm, and is the case in some families and sub-communities (i.e. communities within communities) over here, but mostly it's not that in this country. 

Mind you, we could make sure men don't make women cover themselves too much like they've done in France.  It's been really helpful for women's sense of autonomy over what they wear to have male police officers dragging them off beaches telling them they're not allowed to wear burkinis, they have to wear skimpier clothing.  And it's nice that international sport doesn't make women cover their bodies.  There are even Olympic sports where they have to have firm rules to ensure women wear skimpy panties or similar and not feel forced to wear shorts like the men.  The Norwegian beach ball team must have been experiencing horrible pressure from their husbands or something to have insisted on not revealing so much of their bodies.  And look at how much pressure there must be on so many girls in the UK that's making them to ask to be able to wear trousers to school instead of displaying their legs.  Surely they couldn't actually be wishing to make their own choices how much of their bodies to cover?

Sorry, nasty outbreak of my radical feminism there.  But seriously, whilst many niqabis around the world are obliged to dress that way, please don't assume when you meet a niqabi in the UK that she's covering her face because she's been made to rather than that she's chosen to.

Anyway, back to deafness and signing and stuff.  I think that whatever we do or don't agree on in relation to BSL's status as a language or its general usefulness, or how positive or not it is for culturally Deaf people to have their own communities, what I think we would agree on is that it's not for some deaf people to say that if they self-identify primarily as Deaf and that's symbolised by BSL etc., other deaf people should be the same. 

Sorry I'm still rambly.  This last few days I've been alternating between crying and 'pulling myself together'.

Oh well, signing off for now, er, I mean...

 :f_peacedove:
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 19 Aug 2021 08:22PM
I've almost removed all feedback by me from the deaf area now, it just isn't worth discussing anything with the rabid few anymore.  There are brick walls and there are people like them convinced everything they do or say is right and everything and everyone else is wrong.  What I did manage, was to force most of them onto closed sites, this made it difficult for them to spread their rubbish attitudes anywhere else without emerging into the 'open' where they can't ban or block and forced to justify or leave themselves.


None of their points stood scrutiny really, and their claims to speak for everyone would be challenged of course. Sorry to hear about the problems. like John Lennon said, the problem with living is life gets in the way of it.  Covid was the real wake up call, the deaf could not rely on each other as they did, so many were forced to re-establish family links and make efforts with neighbours etc, I think a lot found out, hearing people don't actually hate them, and with a little effort most would communicate and help, some even spoke to families again lol whereas most of their lives socially had only been spent with other deaf so in that respect, Covid was a plus I suppose.


I do know their clubs were very hard hit, indeed 50% here have yet to reopen still, and a lot are down to single figure attendances.  If they have started integrating that has to be positive, it also shows them they have to adapt too and it isn't impossible.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 19 Aug 2021 10:16PM
I do think that in the past there was a lot of stigma attached to deafness and that probably still lingers in some families and groups of families.  I cling onto hope that that will fade more and more.

That being said, again there was always some kindness.  As someone who grew up very catarrhal, being profoundly deaf for part of my childhood, I will never forget the kindness of those teachers that made the effort to help, by contrast with the nasty ones that let me be bullied or even joined in. 

That being said, although I'm very, very talkative, a very strong part of my language is visual.  I was a fluent reader at three and read my first adult book unaided at six.  I may have told this personal story befor, even recently, because it's a favourite.  I have kept an essay I wrote as a child, because it describes a day out and about in the area where I live.  I showed it to a friend who's a retired teacher and she was puzzled by a conversation in it between me and another child.   It was sort of colloquial but not our regional accent.  E.g. a child said ain't, and we don't pronounce it that way round here.  I said it's because I had no sense that the letters as written and the pronunciation had to map on, and that that's how the books I read spelt what I'll call 'kids playing in the street' English.

Likewise, reading American detective stories, I didn't know a theater was a theatre.  But I knew it was a place of entertainment where the detectives went round the back to interview the entertainers to find out who'd killed someone.

So if I could learn to read and write English without having to map the words onto the sounds via what the letters represented, just learn to do that by rote.  If I could do that, someone who's profoundly deaf can learn to read and write without it mattering whether they can map what they read and write onto sounds.

But I'm not convinced our society is prepared to be flexible over that sort of thing, particularly with the current obsession with teaching children using phonics. 

Incidentally, I've been watching Youtube videos by signduo.  A deaf man who went to an all-hearing school and then later got together with a hearing woman who learnt sign and combines it with speech whilst he's been glad to give up trying to speak and just makes sort of clicks.  It's lovely to see a couple finding what works for them and they come across as not feeling their way has to suit others, i.e. no sense that they'd think it wrong if a different deaf person used speech and lipreading or whatever.

If only we could have more of a sense in our society as a whole that it's ok to do that and then maybe more culturally Deaf people would come out from behind their BSL 'niqabs', as it were, when it helps them, and wear their BSL 'niqabs' when they're with others that feel better that way.  A sense of safety.

Gosh, I'm suddenly flooded with memories of being bullied as a child over my hearing.  My parents refused to believe it was bad, either, until I got really bad marks in some school exams when I was 14, including scripture. 

By what you write here, you have made me really aware of how far our society, probably encouraged by the approach of certain well-known charities, divides people into simply hearing, hard of hearing and deaf, with the last an alien species, mentally characterised as a single blob of culturally deaf in their own clubs, not in the street.

I met someone today that I didn't know.  Early in the conversation after a couple of "Sorry?"s, I pulled a hearing aid out to explain why I was saying it and he smiled broadly and did the same and then we really got going.  At the end of the conversation we agreed how wonderful it had been to chat with someone who didn't get annoyed with someone who asked them to repeat stuff. 

Whereas the other day I bumped into someone I used to know.  In next to no time, she showed serious annoyance that I didn't pick up every word.  I can see how some people would retreat from that sort of attitude and just give up.

Do deaf people have to be as bolshy and opinionated as the likes of you and me not to hide in a deaf club?
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 20 Aug 2021 11:54AM
I think most deaf are aggressive, they used to be called 'The angry People.'  Mostly because the sign language they used looked aggressive, along with facial representations that looked 'confrontational' to hearing people.  Deaf while protecting own spaces have no qualms incurring on other people's space, as they need to 'stare' at faces and understand body language.  To a degree this is still an issue in society.


A lot of young deaf got into fights and awkward situations because hearing peers lashed out at them.   Especially in booze-fuelled night clubs and pubs etc.  Hard of Hearing can be aggressive too, 'Why me?' they say when their hearing deteriorates and they can 'confront' their own hearing peers for lack of understandings, or, simply hide the fact they have a hearing loss.  Again issues that still are not addressed.  I've seen laws/Bills, recognitions mooted, I see little actual changes happening, because both areas have gone off on their own tangent, and the ones stuck in the middle with nowhere to go but to find own direction.


Should we all sign for the signers? Should we all lip-speak properly for the other deaf? Take a lot more time and patience to enable both?  We are assuming there is a definite identification of people with a hearing loss, there isn't we are all different of course, so now, all demanding access, empowerment and support as only WE see it, then you get random groups insisting this is the way to go etc...


Only adopting some norm you can address is the way forward, and by default we all oppose any norm.  I may  be overthinking a lot, but only by explaining how complex the situations of those with hearing loss is, can we even begin to address it.  Because the root of the issue is communication and language itself.  That is why I went to the core of deaf education, enable the child, you enable the adult too.  You specialise it, you isolate it, some claim by age 7 the die is cast already regardless of inclusion polices etc.  Support cements it. You cannot change adult perceptions honed on a lack of enablement and carrying their angst with them still. It dulls the edge you need to sort things out.


I decided to set myself apart from it and go at it  in a more investigative and factual way, I ignored the social aspect as this was a diversion from the point.  The deaf see it as the sole way.  I had my own experiences to fall back on, albeit they won't be everyone's experience of course.   I am obviously bitter regarding earlier aspects of my deafness but they don't deflect me from observation of how it affected others, or why.


I've been a pioneer of sorts regarding access by  being only the 2nd deaf person ever to go on youtube and subtitle my own output.  I recall it ridiculed at the time!  I was the first in the UK to enable every job centre in my area to install, minicoms, so the deaf could text them for work, and, the DSS (DWP), for welfare support.  This was against a background of hostile deaf social services and the local deaf community who ridiculed my efforts simply because they hadn't done it first. 


The deaf Social Services said they would not give them a phone line or equipment to use it. 'A waste of time', half can't talk, the rest don't understand English never mind text as well, I pointed out some were doing it already.  I had one installed at Police HQ despite opposition from the police, who said any crazy would be wasting their time or would try to hack them, the SS then objected to my local newspaper publishing the number so the deaf knew about it, I won through it took 6 months.


I still have the photo of me making the first-ever call to a deaf charity, from a police station. I targeted them with the first call to make the point to those that tried to block me.  I even called the Deaf SS worker in to observe, bingo! 2 birds with 1 stone.  Of course it has all moved on, and then some, but like 888 many of us fought hard to get what is taken for granted now, and we now have to deal with the effects of better communication for the deaf and HoH.


For most a godsend, i.e. assuming you believe the net IS a viable or acceptable replacement for real people, I don't.  Text e.g. is replacing actual speech and this has a profound effect on the deaf you are trying to enable to interact with the worlds outside their own.  It armed those who believe sign is all and speech is the devil's tool or something utterly, and horribly oral designed to induce deaf people to simulate a hearing person etc.


Call me dated, but people prefer people. Hard of Hearing benefited or did they? from micro hearing aids etc, now they can hide their loss, but can they? Or why? A HA can only do so much, I recall being 'caught out' more than I can recall what I heard at the time.  The conundrum to me was why are people asking others to respect a hidden disability when they are hiding it themselves deliberately?


Vanity? or plain fear people will know?  If they see a HA and you still aren't following they will lose patience with you pretty quick, it seems self-defeating. Read all the net rubbish today from charities and mean-wells, we just repeat the same mistakes but do it digitally.  The deaf and HoH are not learning from the past, the past to them is 5 minutes ago.





Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 20 Aug 2021 08:14PM
I find it difficult when you refer to 'most deaf'.  I'm guessing you mean most profoundly deaf people?  I regard myself as a deaf person but unlike much of my childhood, I am not profoundly deaf. 

I find it difficult, though, because over the years I have had many deaf friends, deaf contacts, deaf neighbours etc. and haven't found them like you describe.  I wonder whether there are any regional aspects to this or social aspects in the sense of what sort of deaf people campaign or get involved in deaf activism? 

I can understand that you've had horrible experiences at the hands of quite a few deaf activists, but I wish I could find a way of sharing with you the very different experiences I've had.

That being said, I don't think we'll ever completely agree on BSL.  I wonder how you feel about subtitles?  Subtitles help deaf people at most levels of deafness, but it's been shown that having subtitles on English children's programmes can massively increase the language skills of mother tongue English hearing children.  So if you put subtitles on programmes, it's win-win.

Then again, it occurs to me that in terms of life experiences, I'm heavily biased by an aspect of mine - NHS hearing aids.  I've been wearing hearing aids for decades (and let me dispel the myth that you can't wear hearing aids with an army uniform) and whilst I thought the old analogue ones were good, most have been  in the range of not-very-helpful through to utter rubbish.  My best 'hearing aid' is my telephone landline (used without a hearing aid).  My NHS hearing aids increase volume, increase background noise, and massively reduce clarity.  I'd rather not wear them and ask people to shout at me.  Indeed, a lot of the time I do just that. 

And with background music on news and documentaries having become the norm on the key television channels and Youtube channels, I will continue to be ranty about wanting accessibility in a format I can access.

But whilst I think campaigning for accessibility is important, I don't think that that needs to include personal nastiness, so I hope you can find more deaf people, including culturally Deaf people, to chat with who will exchange views rather than getting nasty with you.    Maybe at some point, you could safely and comfortably start blogging again.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: On the edge on 21 Aug 2021 10:50AM
Cultural deaf activism refuses to engage, you are either with them or you are against them.  It's important to understand I am NOT challenging rank and file deaf people who mostly accept whoever and whatever on the ground.  The issue is you challenge the people who claim to speak for them, then that gets attributed as an attack on all deaf people, it's their stock in trade response to anyone who asks questions of the activism.


I can assure you it is highly effective too.  Isolated deaf will gang together to freeze you out by default they will only see you as going at them because their activism is deaf as well.  Gallaudet was a prime example of how putting all deaf in one area and at the mercy of the more able and dubious deaf creates all sorts of issues and divisions.  You can be portrayed as a deaf hater and worse for directly challenging aspects of the deaf lobby and access, sign usage or effectiveness etc.


I've been deaf longer than many cultural opponents have been alive, they still think they know more than me.  They have grown up with access I fought for and take it for granted. When we fought, there were no subtitles. There was no mainstream access, there was no national sign support set up either, just a dedicated SS 65% of whom had no signing qualifications, there was no 'BSL' because there was no dictionary to define it as a language, it was a collection of regional variations of signs that's all.


I doubt they have an effective base for BSL now because there are no signs for the higher academic and scientific courses at all, some more educated deaf are making up their own.  Deaf don't understand the basis of language, English was developed over 1000 years.  It has 400,000 words or terms used regularly, BSL has 1700 and that doesn't take into account learning issues deaf can have by default.


In education, there are no teachers to teach them, you cannot teach what doesn't exist..  Still, they insist on demands nobody can meet because BSL is incomplete, even if it was a more complete language, it is still not the primary language society uses.  You would be just creating more reliances and more dependency on others, activism relies on a 'back to the future' approach of ye olde deaf schools and clubs will do the job, this time singularly BSL based, ignoring the fact 86% have gone already and won't return.


CI implantation has vastly increased, Hearing aids are far better etc, prevention of children being born deaf has improved, technology has freed many of mutual reliances and given them more options.  Deaf activism is adopting a Canute approach to deaf futures.  In defiance going at people like myself who make those points, because it means their old ways are no longer of use, or wanted.  They are still stuck in the 1880s.
Title: Re: For OtE (On the edge)
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 21 Aug 2021 01:02PM
I think that so long as you use 'deaf' to refer to 'culturally deaf' or 'Deaf' people, you'll get some degree of hostility from those of us that identify as 'deaf', do not regard ourselves as part of the 'Deaf' community but do regard ourselves as part of the 'deaf' community, which includes the 'Deaf' community.  (For 'Deaf' feel free to substitute 'deaf' plus a qualifier such as 'culturally' or 'signing' vel sim. 

Others might not see it as part of a wider community with sub-categories, but maybe still have a sense of brotherhood with the Deaf community, just as those of us of mixed heritage often (but not always) share a sense of brotherhood with people from other ethnic minorities that overlap with ours or who share some barriers in the world in which we live.

Likewise, I'm not a wheelchair user, although I've been a wheely walker user but I'll carry on doing my bit locally to politely ask locals to keep a wheelchair width available between cars and hedges, ditto baby buggy width etc.

But we each have our own sense of identity, and there are so many factors that it gets difficult, doesn't it? 

As for how fast languages develop, English is developing so fast, with so many new words, that a news item I've just read points out that police and courts are using interpreters for what I would call 'modern youthspeak' (I don't think 'youthspeak' would ever be used by journalists!) but includes MLE for those in London (focus of the article) and Drill words.

As for size of language, I just did a quick search and the Oxford English Dictionary, which is updated quarterly, just added 700 words.  Merriam Webster added over a thousand words in its last two editions combined.

But most languages around the word have far smaller vocabularies than English and rely very heavily on compound words.  Indeed, we use a large number of compound words in English and can understand new ones.  Self-isolate is new to Merriam Webster.  I wonder whether any anglophone government needed to define it to the bulk of their population?

So if more first-language BSL users enter more fields of activity, their language can grow.  But again, since some people see languages as either/or (including some of the strident campaigners you encounter) and some of us see them as both/and, particularly if we want to delay the onset of  certain dementias (yes, childhood and youth multilingualism) can delay onset of dementia in your seventies and eighties), there will probably always be a clash of views.  That, IMO, is no different from the clash of views in countries and regions with more than one traditional spoken  language, e.g. Celtic languages and English, or Romance & Germanic languages etc.

Mind you, I love the way that writing both Mandarin and Cantonese in Chinese ideogrammatic script makes the differences in pronunciation and local vocabulary almost meaningless in some contexts.  I wonder whether that helps for transcribing signing, too?  I was about to say like UK stick-figure lavatory signs, then thought "Oops, there's an argument to had there over male/female public loos!"