Many months ago, I saw a short film in BSL (British Sign Language), and recent events have brought the film back into my mind. It is a sobering story, with many lines that break my heart… with a tale that breaks my heart… and a future I hope never comes to fruition. The film is called “The End”, and it starts in 1987, at a school for the Deaf, it ends in the future, with the simple, yet heart wrenching line “I am Deaf”… I will let you watch it on your own.
What made me think of it? Was it seeing so many people with CI’s and becoming one of them? No. Was it imagining a future without deafness? No… it was something that also came out of the UK… it was a story about gerbils… I know… seems kind of weird.
Now that hopefully you have gotten a chance, to both watch the one film and read the article… let me give you my two cents.
this tech, although could be useful in so many ways… it scares me. I don’t want my wonderful, beautiful, amazing Deaf culture to go away, and that is what it looks like their aim is, to stop there from being any more deaf people. Why? That is the question I am asking myself, why? Is it because we are dangerous? No… I’m thinking its because we are different. Different from the majority, different from their idea of perfect. Through out history, we have been seen as less, we have been seen as wrong… people have forced us to learn to talk, learn to lipread, learn to accomodate them, rather than them helping us become the best we can be within our selves. This is what scares me.
We are already a world that cares more about beauty than what is inside, we do not value intellect any longer, this is especially prevalent in our television shows and our lack of funding for education here in the United States. We are a culture that on the outside appears to value the individual, but in reality it values sameness… anyone who is a little different, who views things differently than the majority, is squashed. We have already seen this happen to the Deaf Community, although we do seem to have a knack for living on, thriving during the impossible… but if this is whole heartily squashed out of us in infancy, so that we do not even have a chance to come to understand our roots, our identities, how will we know where we are truly destined to go? If we aren’t given the chance to self actualize, what will become of our world.
One of the quotes from the video, that terrifies me, because it is already something that is being told to us, already something that is being ingrained into our heads, from a very young age… “We aren’t forcing the treatment onto anyone, but if they want to have a BETTER life, they will take the treatment.” substitute treatment for CI, and this is what you get, a world were so many deaf children are having their heads cut open, and a device implanted inside of them. (Now I want you to remember I am NOT against CI’s, I have one and plan on getting the other one done soon)… but these children are not given the opportunity to learn ASL, or the language of their country. They are given a limited restoration of their hearing, a mechanical device that is not the same… and told they are “fixed”… when there was nothing wrong with them in the beginning.
If we start trying to fix differences within ourselves, it won’t be long until we are all just the same…
It isn’t only my beautiful culture possibly ceasing to exist sometime in the future, it is that if they can regrow hairs in my head that are long dead, what can they do with other things? Will they create factories where everyone has body parts growing? and life extends forever? Will our world become so grossly overpopulated, (it is already over populated), that we are forced to find refuge across the stars, finding other planets to desiccate, leaving nothing but a wasteland behind us?
What will happen then? I know the gerbils aren’t the only thing leading us to this desiccation, but if we try and remove the difference between people, does that make the medical professionals we trust any better than someone so set on eugenics? In my opinion no. I think this is a form of eugenics, it is destroying a beautiful population, my population… and I don’t need your cure.