Audism by it’s very definition is a negative or oppressive attitude towards deaf people by either deaf or hearing people and organizations, and a failure to accommodate them. This documentary really opened my eyes as to what deaf people have gone through since the beginning of time. They have been treated with prejudice and oppression. They have been looked down upon- as if they are some sort of “subhuman” not worthy of being classified as a normal person because of the fact that they cannot hear. Audism goes under the same category as racism, sexism, discrimination, etc.
In the movie, “Audism Unveiled,” they were many testimonials of different deaf people explaining their stories of oppression simply because of the fact that they’re deaf or hard of hearing. Deaf people often have difficulty communicating with the hearing world and thus, they have been looked down upon with sympathy. They need to be healed. They’re disabled. They can’t have the same jobs as hearing people. It’s sickening how deaf people get treated.
There was a deaf man in the film who explained how his parents would take him to a religious shrine and have a priest and his mother pray for him so his deafness can be “healed.” It, obviously, did nothing and he is still deaf and he seems happy that way. Another deaf man exclaimed how his parents made him go to a medicine man in a smoke filled hut, hoping that this kind of ritual will help him. But since he did not take the ritual seriously, his parents said that’s why it didn’t work. But, religion is not going to help the situation anymore than screaming at them will.
But some stories were sad: A deaf man explained how his mother never learned to sign even though the man has been deaf since childhood. One day, when she was in her 80’s, she asked him if she should have learned sign language, baffled, the man asked why she was asking this. But she shrugged it off, and a year later, she was on her death bed, trying to write a note to her son and mid-write, she passed away. The man never knew what her last words to her son were going to be. Now, he is an advocate for parents of deaf children to learn sign language so that no one would ever have to experience what he had to.
I think that all parents with deaf children should embrace their child and their new culture and learn the language that is most easy for their child to communicate in. Most deaf children feel lonely and abandoned from their families because no one ever bothers to include them into family conversations. Whenever the deaf person would ask what’s going on, they would say “Oh we’ll tell you later.” Always the same thing and deaf people are tired of it. They want to know now and be included! It’s not fair that they have to be left out just because they’re deaf. It causes depression and resentment in the deaf person when the family constantly excludes the deaf family member. In some situations, deafness was viewed as evil. One man said that his aunt told him that he must have been a bad man in his past-life and as punishment, he was born deaf in this life-time.
Hearing people do view being deaf as a misfortune, but that does not justify the way that they get treated by hearing people. I think it’s horrible how they are viewed as unable. I would hate to imagine someone treating me like I’m not able because I’m Hispanic or because I’m gay. It would tear me apart and I’m sure most deaf people feel the same way. Audism needs to be a bigger issue among hearing people and they need to know that being deaf is not a handicap, deaf people are not looking for sympathy. They want to be treated as equals.
Courtney from Study Moose
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