Monday, April 30

Labels? Me?

Should we label ourselves? The labels seem to have two goals, which some uses one or both.
One goal is being to promote ourselves-- as a sign of pride or acceptance. Many minorities gladly took on "POWER" or "PRIDE" next to their minority or hang up their nationality's flag on their rear window mirror.
Another goal is to identity a person who happens to be a minority (usually for worse-- think the Holocaust and the yellow stars, pink triangles, red triangles that the prisoners had to wear; or for better-- to find your fellow members and flourish as a community).

The hairs stood up on back of my neck whenever people tried to pry into my life-- to see how much Deaf I am. Culturally, linguistically, anything-ally. I resisted people's questions about what school I go, what language do my parents speak, and so on. I refused to be wounded by the double-edged sword-- one by Hearing people and another by Deaf extremists. By Hearing's standards, I am a failure because I chose to not lipread and I don't speak well. By Deaf standards, I am not Deaf enough because I didn't have a Deaf family or go to a Deaf residence school.
For many people, it is not enough that I grew up in all-Deaf classrooms until middle school where from there I always had at least two Deaf classmates in every mainstreamed class. It is not enough that my parents do know signs and they don't force me to speak or think a CI will save me. It is just not enough.


Now... a label of "100% Deaf" is on a rampage in various blogs as the blogger put their foot down and said: "Deafness DOES NOT affect my fluency in English and it has no effect whatsoever."

What now?
Even though I scoffed at the obsession of having Deaf-everything (Deaf family, Deaf school, Deaf friends, Deaf children) and labelling certain groups of Deaf people (grassroots, educated ASL-users, cued, CODA, CI-borg, and more), yet I feel strong about accepting the label of "100% Pre-Lingually Deaf"... Why?

I am all about advocating and spreading awareness among the hearing people. I am all about opening up my life (hell, why else I am blogging??) and crossing my fingers in hope that people will develop insights and understanding toward a Deaf person that they may encounter in their pathways of life.

SO.

Yes I am labelling myself even though it goes against every principle I uphold. I just have to do this for the sake of awareness. Educating the world will make it a better place for Deaf communities to prosper.

***

I am Deaf and I am fluent in English in reading and writing. American Sign Language is my first language for communication.


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