We Can Manage, Thank You. By Andrew Arthur

I’m really seething this morning over something I read that raises a disability issue. Many of us as deaf people know that hearing people have a tendency to move in and take over from us when running things. There was the infamous Deaf Fashion Show some years ago now where a group of well-meaning hearing people took charge of the show and ran it in a hearing way without regard to the special demands of deaf people. The result was an embarrassing fiasco and bad feeling all round. Not what we are looking for really.

The mistake the hearing people made was in assuming that deaf people can be organised in the same way as hearing. At one point they tried to address the crowd with a loudhailer! You can still meet people who were there and were most unimpressed.

What I am getting at here is the rather dangerous tendency of hearing people to take up the cause “on our behalf”. The problem being that it removes control and choice from us and places it in the hands of people who may know little or nothing about deafness or indeed disability as a whole. In the end, we suffer because these people don’t really know what they are doing and we do. This is the battle we fight, against ignorance, prejudice and people who think we need help.

So what got my goat this morning was reading in a clip that a Government minister made a remark that I regard as perfectly true and accurate and yet a posse of hearing people seem to have taken it upon themselves to pillory him for it “on our behalf”. They are not disabled people but without asking, they have waded in to condemn this man for telling what happens to be true!

Disabled people ARE grateful to have jobs. EVERYONE is grateful to have a bloody job!! I certainly believe that disabled people work harder in most cases, it doesn’t necessarily follow as there are lazy deaf people just as there are lazy everyone elses. What these hearing people are doing here is taking what they see as a disability cause and using it to beat this guy up with. All supposedly on our behalf. I don’t like it. I really don’t. I think in the long run it will lead to abuse and we should speak out against it.

Nothing about us, without us.

~ Andrew Arthur