Saturday, January 4, 2014

Teen Speaks out for Deaf Parents

Image from theCreekview High School newspaper  
A high school senior in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton authored a column in the Dallas Morning News titled, "People should make more of an effort to understand the deaf community." Kayla Davis writes:
My parents and many of their deaf friends have.. been handed menus in Braille, offered wheelchairs at airports and questioned about whether they can drive. It seems people will continue to be misinformed about deaf people and deaf culture when things like this are happening. Deaf people are often misjudged. They are pegged as unable when they are forced to sit in wheelchairs and strolled across the airport when their legs work just fine.. They are pegged as rude when at the grocery store they can’t hear the person behind them saying excuse me and they don’t move. But deaf people are not disabled or weird or rude. A deaf person, as my mom puts it, can do anything a hearing person can do — except hear.
Read Kayla's entire piece here. Besides writing columns for the Dallas newspaper, she's an editor for her high school newspaper, too.


Annie said...

That's an interesting article. I recently took up a vow of silence in honor of speech disabled and deaf people. I am on Day 4. Already I spent one day at the airport and so I got to experience this with one hitch, I can hear. So, I understand exactly what is going on with the wheelchair issue. There was a really long line at the airport for Delta. Many people were asking, what is going on? So I wanted to make sure I was standing in the right line. So I went to the disability services where 4 people were just standing around and asked if any of them knew sign language. Nope, so I got out my phone and asked them if this was the right line. She noticed that, like most of the people waiting in this long line, I was going to miss my flight. I didn't have time for this long line, but no one else did either. So, she helped me out. She took me over and helped me check in my bag and took it to the front of the line. Then, she took me up to TSA, where I got taken straight to the top of the line. When we arrived, the Disability services woman said to the TSA agent: "She doesn't want to sit in the wheelchair." And the TSA woman said, "She can't go to the front of the line if she's not in a wheelchair." But she pushed me in anyways. After all this, the flight was delayed several hours, to accommodate all the people waiting in the line downstairs. I would have missed my connection flight so I had them reschedule me for a later day. But, I learned, what it's like to go through security with a perceived disability. As a regular hearing person, they always put me into the worst TSA category, I always get searched, every time. I even have to do a TSA check where they check my credit which takes almost 30 minutes.
So the point being, the policy of the airline is that, if you're not in a wheelchair, you can't cut in line for TSA. However, the disability services people still want to help you out if you're deaf, especially if they see you are going to miss your flight and maybe already had a miscommunication at the airport that led you to losing more time.
So anyways that is my experience at the airport- their policy is if you are Deaf, you have legs, you can walk, so you can wait in line. But sometimes some people really want to help you through the line, they don't want to see you miss your flight, so they do what they have to do to get you through TSA in a hurry.
Anne Devlin

Jars of Giggles said...

Don't impersonate a Deaf person. It's rude and your behavior isn't authentic.
Awesome article!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't care what you said.. deafs dont want them to look at us as handicapped, got that? I went there in the airport many times and told them I am deaf and they did not put me on wheelchair huh! I find you hearings much much WIERDER! Got that? We dont need their f**king help!! They are far DUMBER than we thought even they are better educated! I dont need to respect your stupid hearing culture since your people kept treating us like manure! Got it?

Katie Romey said...

To Annie - The person taking away from this marvelous post... I'm not sure that a hearing person portraying themselves as a deaf person furthers the "cause" of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired individuals. Quite frankly, it sounds like a way to call attention to yourself. "Oh look at me, I'm a socially-conscious person... Watch me understand the plight of the deaf/HOH/speech-impaired. Aren't I a good person?!"

As a deaf person, it offends me that you, a capable hearing person, would take advantage of a courtesy that should be extended to us. You, at the end of the day, can hear. Think about this - a hearing person finds out that you're actually a hearing person posing as a deaf person incapable of speaking. This will forever implant the seed of doubt whenever this person is faced with assisting or interacting with a deaf person. "Wait a minute, are you really deaf? No, I don't believe you." The person would most likely proceed with a series of ridiculous tests and questions that would make BOTH parties feel ridiculously stupid.

The repercussions of your self-serving project was obviously not thought through. If you truly want to help the people you are pretending to be - You should take steps to educate hearing society about the capabilities of deaf individuals, and the pitfalls of everyday interaction with people that just simply do not know how to react when faced with an individual that lacks the ability to hear or speak. PRETENDING does NOTHING. It is a form of deception.

My opinion? You played the deaf card to get through security quicker. I do not respect your project, because I see no relevance to real-world solutions.

ALSO - Your comment completely takes away from the absolutely fantastic deed of this young girls' attempt to further understanding of our culture for the benefit of her parents. I applaud your capability to disregard this to toot your own horn.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would you want to get upset with a hearing person for playing a card we play all the time. Do we really need the extra accommodations other than being waved down when our section gets on the plane. I do not see why we should be allowed to cut through security etc. It's ridiculous to begin with.