Deaf Cultural Genocide

I am way behind on the hot topic and news on the Deaf community in general, mainly because I have been very busy lately and I could never find the time to write an article anywhere including my blog here but at least I will share my thought about this topic “Deaf Cultural Genocide” that was going around a few weeks ago. That would be better than not sharing any thoughts of mine on that topic so here I am to give a piece of my thought on the topic that was trending in the Deaf community, several weeks ago an associate professor at Gallaudet University wrote an article stating that if anyone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing decides to participate in the medical or science research that supposedly cure deafness by receiving genetic therapy that they would allow a form of cultural genocide and it would be unethical of them to do so. There are medical research labs or sciences especially that specialize in stem cells, compete to come up with a proven cure to eliminate the deafness either at birth or at some minimum to maximum ages for anyone who want to have the ability to hear and or that the child who was discovered Deaf after the birth to have the ability to hear at the parents’ request/wishes.

It is known to some that it is inevitable that due to medical being advanced every day that one day they would be able to come up with something to give the people who become deaf or hard of hearing a cure and restore their ability to hear whether we like it or not. I am sure that several decades ago, there were a lot of people who didn’t think that it was even possible to create a device to give them the ability to hear and behold the cochlear implants or hearing aids.

Deaf Cultural Genocide

In the people’s perspective especially scientists, medical professionals, hearing people and among others looks at this as a cure or something good but in Deaf community’s perspective is the opposite. Before I get into this, sharing a bit about this and then my thoughts I would like to note that there is over 360 million people who is deaf or hard of hearing worldwide so keep that in mind when I am talking about this. The leaders of the Deaf community fears by that idea, of course meaning that they are against anything that exploit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with these devices like cochlear implants or hearing aids. Truthfully, the industries who market and sells these devices does not care about any of one in the Deaf community because when they were coming up with a such device as these for the first time all they had in their mind was all profits that they could exploit off us. Therefore, often you would see some foundations, organizations or industries tries their best to market these devices with lies which is their favorite marketing strategy, they often come up with some of the things that doesn’t even make sense and that no research or even let alone science has proof or facts to back any of the words that they spew out of their lying teeth. One of several examples, they would say that if they were to learn American Sign Language that they would never be able to have a normal or successful life while there are several data proved the opposite and data says that by not learning American Sign Language at earliest possible age that would sharpen their imagination to be creative. There is more to it which can explain this better than myself, all you must do is head over at Google and search about why should Deaf children to learn American Sign Language at earliest age. Also, there is data or research on the search engine that have said by learning American Sign Language is no different from learning English or other languages because American Sign Language is a language hence it has met criteria. I am not here to talk about that, the industry who has their hands-on gene therapy does not care about human beings and all they care about is the fact that gene therapy will bring in even more profits for the companies.

But as for the Deaf community, especially some leaders and some professors; they fear of this. Why are they, may you ask? Including myself as I am Deaf too, we look at ourselves as our own culture and our own ethnicity. A lot of us don’t look at it as “disability” that many of others looks at it, there is a reason for that because we have been around here for centuries and due to that we have developed a culture that we are very proud of. There are people of colors, there are Native American, there are Hispanics, there are Asians, there are Caucasians and there are we Deaf people. Each of them have their own languages, so do we with American Sign Language and why can’t they leave it at that? No, because they see the profits that they can exploit off us just they can see profits to exploit off Caucasians by helping them to get some tan with tanning bed or whatnot and they see profits in people of colors by bleaching their skins to give them lighter colors of their skins. The problem is with us Deaf community is that, they want to bother with our genes and use us as rats for their study especially in stem cells therapy or to put us under the knife with their hands on to install a machine that they think “miracle” or “cure” such as cochlear implants in side of our brains. We suffered and many more will suffer, they know that but they know how to market especially to the parents of Deaf child because 90% of them happens to be hearing so they are systemically taught to look at anyone who become Deaf is abnormal. The so-called system is handmade by these industries as they have been around for more than a century, trying to find a way to wipe our face off the earth with technology or medical and we have begged them to stop for several centuries. Alexander Graham Bell is responsible for that and with a few more of others but Alexander Graham Bell is the center of all in this who built the system to wire people’s brain to look at us as if there is something wrong with us when there is none and that we are one of many minorities with a culture but unfortunately the system masks that so well.

Anyway, back to the subject. I urge that you read this article that an associate professor at Gallaudet University name’s Teresa Blankmeyer Burke. Click here to read her article calls Gene Therapy: A Threat to The Deaf Community at Impact Ethics.

My Thought?

Do I believe that by the fact that the medical professionals or scientists comes up with a way to restore or give the Deaf and Hard of Hearing the ability to hear is a cultural genocide? Absolutely, however the idea of cultural genocide for the Deaf people has been going on around longer than that especially when they first came up with cochlear implants and whatnot. Only difference is that a stem cell therapy is more easier, because with cochlear implants the person would have to go through several process such as from getting a surgery, heal, going to audiologists several times to only find out that they are not ready to be activated yet because they need some more time to recover from the surgery and such which can take several months to years before they can finally be activated for the first time but after being activated for the first time does not means that they are good to go because after being activated they would still have to go through a lot of testing especially to adjust the sounds that is done by their audiologists. While stem cells therapy is quicker, all it takes a few injections with stem cells to regrow or to grow hairs in their ears which restore their ability to hear and that there would be no need for surgery or machinery devices inside their body or whatnot. With that, it will be very easy to convince the parents of newborn child who was born deaf because they will know that their child won’t have to go through a such surgery which can worries a parent often and that it may be safer this way for their child than to have a cochlear implant which must be done by surgery then to take a very long process before their cochlear implants can be activated. So, in a way that the stem cells therapy would guarantee the genocide of the Deaf culture especially our newest generations in future and if everybody keeps it at that way then we would be the last Deaf people on this earth. Cochlear implants are the slowest rate of culture genocide, because it would make it more difficulty for the parents to choose for their children to receive cochlear implants especially if they do their research and realize what harms it would do to their child or realize how long process it would be for their child to go through. With stem cells therapy, if there is any truth to the research or study that they did on these Deaf rats then it would be an immediate thing and that is what caught our attention.

Really, I always thought that the cochlear implants, hearing aids and other stuff is unnecessary but the question is what do some of the Deaf people think of it? Will they easily give in, and do it? Will they resist them and be wise? I really don’t have the answers for everything that is related to this question of the stem cells therapy but stem cells therapy can be the nail to the coffin for Deaf community’s future. That goes the same for some of the medical professionals who is trying to come up with a simple tablet that gives you the ability to hear. I love Deaf community dearly, I am very proud of the culture that I received at birth and I am very proud to be Deaf so I ask that I am to be left alone. That is an answer that the industries will have hard time taking, because they want money and money. Remember when they said that cochlear implants are a guarantee cure? I dare you to do a search on that and you will find that it has zero guarantee. You will be surprised with how many stories you have crossed, there are some of them who had cochlear implants at their parents ask for at young age and after they grew up they threw them in trash cans or to have it removed by surgery. True story!

Thank you all for your time to read this blog post, please note that this is my opinion and my opinion does NOT reflect for the entire Deaf community as each of them have their own opinions which can be different from mine. Therefore, I am encouraging all of you Deaf and Hard of Hearing bloggers to write an article to share your thought on this subject. When you do, please add the link to this article by copying the link address at the top of your internet browser and paste it in your blog under trackback or leave a comment below to share your thought on this matter!

Joshua “Joshie” Sullivan.

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