Oy. If you need to load up on a steaming load of codswallop, here ya go:
I’m a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – and involved in the Deaf activist community. [Note: writing Deaf with a capital D separates people who can’t hear from people who consider deafness a major part of their cultural and political identity.] So usually I’m thrilled when people read an article about people in the Deaf community or see a cool video in American Sign Language and think to send it to me. It means that I’m making a difference, however small, in helping to educate people about the Deaf community. However, the “deaf person hears for the first time” videos don’t make me smile. They make me want to throw my computer out a window.
These “inspiring” videos continue to push one of the most problematic narratives in the history of the Deaf community: that deaf people are broken and therefore need to be “fixed.”
Look… if you are deaf, you *are* broken. Or at the very least, you have broken equipment. Same goes if you are blind. Or paralyzed. Or missing limbs. Or diabetic. Or have cancer. Or you’re tarded, psychotic, alcoholic.
A car that is otherwise functional but has a non-functional radio *is* broken. But a human, unlike a car, has half a billion years of hearing heritage behind it. Humans are *supposed* to hear. That’s why they come with ears as standard equipment.
But deafness seems to be fairly unique in having some sort of “identity” that other forms of organic brokenness doesn’t have. How many blind people do you see bitchin’ about technologies that might allow other blind people to see? How many quadriplegics think being trapped in a wheelchair is Pure Awesomeness?
My guess why deafness is – at least sometimes – different in this regard is that the deaf have their own form of communication. Sure, the blind have Braille… but they can generally hold a regular conversation with anyone else in society, face to face. But the deaf are often stuck with sign language. This separates them from conversing with the great majority of society. So I guess it makes a measure of sense that some in the “deaf community” would see themselves as apart.
So, why are these videos so popular, and why does a new one make the rounds on social media every few months? Because viral videos aren’t about the people who are in them, they’re about the people who watch them.
These videos are of interest to at least *me* because they show that humans can sometimes overcome that evil bitch-goddess “Mother Nature.” What nature made wrong, or at least could not repair, humans sometimes can. Despite the fact that many people think we live in a world that was made for us and which is precisely suited to us, the fact is that the universe is out to get us. The slightest slipup will take out an individual or a village; the amount of energy required to exterminate the entire human species is entirely trivial within just the confines of the solar system, never mind the galaxy at large. So if we want to survive as a species, we must be ever vigilant against nature. And as unfortunately prone as humans are to gullibility, having people complain about clear medical progress, or complain about other people celebrating that progress, is just not helpful.