Never Look Down on Someone Unless You Are Helping Them Up.

The moment I read Teresa Garraty’s article on Limping Chicken “Is it time for deaf people to be a little less angry?” I knowingly smiled. I felt she made her point which in my eyes, from my own more than fair share of experience, was justified.

Her article very bravely made light of the facts around us because: “it is relatively true and reminds people not to take things so seriously. Not to be so immersed and concentrated. Not to be fighting all the time. It is not directed at people who campaign tirelessly but at the attitude within societies that give off those vibes of us not being a welcoming and positive community which is in turn misleading them?” As I gave my response on the back of it amongst other rather emotive feedback and watched some bitterness simmering which once again only confirmed Teresa’s whole point?

I concluded, “I just think if we come across as “angry” we won’t be heard but seen as just that. I can see her points from being on other teams and since I left those I can see those attributes which I have shrugged off as I do not want to be seen as demanding or “angry” but as welcoming and positive. Which would make inroads more? Being welcoming or being “angry” which is how hearing society is perceiving us? Hence why I said it’s misleading them because we aren’t angry. Some only appear angry. Most do react as though they are angry.’”

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.” – Confucius

With actions comes consequences: relatively soon after her initial supposedly “controversial” article, Teresa followed up with what she meant by her angry deaf people article to explain in depth, apologising to those she did not intend to cause any offence to, which I thought was admirable of her because members of the public chose to take offence? I was very concerned to learn that she was bullied as a result of her tongue in cheek article. This was sadly inevitable knowing how society behaves, yet it could have been avoided if people within the deaf community had their sense of humour about them. But perhaps their true colours were exposed instead? Who knows. I personally think Teresa should have been warned of potential back-lash from the more experienced writers and contributors but there is only so much people can help others with. Out of a negative, comes a positive. Teresa, in my eyes, is now wiser and more experienced regarding people’s ways.

Nowadays when someone reacts angrily, I am instantly reminded of Teresa’s article and once again smile. I know for a fact a friend of mine is on guard with the article ready to present before the offending party. That is who he is but for me, I so just know it is going to wind them up even more. ‘Tis best to let things be. Why? Because we can. There is no point in dwelling over an iota of bitterness because that iota is only going to grow into an ounce, which in time will weigh tons; becoming overbearing and diseasing your mind along with your soul. Paranoia will also creep in which one will eventually pass onto those around them. Deal with it.

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help and what they cannot.” – Plato

Lone campaigners have the passion and desire to see change out of frustration, due to the pace or finances others impose. This is highly admirable because it is a voluntary action which means sacrificing valuable personal time and sweat for a cause they believe in – I pay respect to each and every one who find it in themselves to be subjected to intense passion and genuine interest from the bottom of their hearts. It frustrates me still, to see “friends” patting each other’s backs behind the scenes. It is happening everywhere, the most blindingly obvious has to be the government who more or less went to school with one another.

We have seen several hardened and angry members enter the Tree House who over time have mellowed wonderfully and stayed on, with their sense of humour, trying to resist the urge to come out and joke along. Naturally there will always be one or two who lose their footing along the way but since people know how it feels to be bullied, isolated, singled out, put down and how it hurts to be kicked whilst down after so long, it has automatically become second nature to us to help them up on their way again. It is what you, the people are making it.

It is always healthy to exercise our free speech as nature intended, within reason and respect, in order to teach others. In the past I have been dictated to, to not say this, to not post that, to delete this, to remove that especially when what I said or had done in the first place was justified. How else will people learn, reflect upon, see things and others for what/who they truly are? There is always a balance and only a wise, experienced person will know when to control themselves.

“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up”

– is another favourite quote of mine.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

-cracy.

-cracy. Denoting a particular form of government, rule, or influence:

I quite like the logistics behind “Democracy” and tend to do my best to advocate equality and free speech in many senses as possible– regardless of our medical histories, cultures, ethnicity and religion. I would also prefer to see democratically elected leaders to oversee and represent us, retaining the right to choose what we, the people, really want.

John Lennon’s song/phrase “Power to the People” comes to mind, or as ‘Wolfie’ from Citizen Smith would also say.

As a supposedly democratic country, we would naturally assume our neighbours would relate, practice and support this system or it’s principles too. In order to empower one another. Unfortunately leaders may turn unduly oppressive due to power trips and relatively oppress their people via acts of unjust treatment. This can also inevitably lead to dictatorship and then possibly autocracy (God forbid!) If society chooses not to comply in any sense they have been instructed to, they will be punished for it. One has no rights at all because it is one rule for those in charge and another for the rest.

Empowerment

Empowerment

Media seems to be censored and of a propagandist nature. People are therefore not exposed to hard facts occurring on a daily basis here and elsewhere in the world because those facts have been suppressed and deemed politically unacceptable. The West can go on about spreading democracy and human rights around the world but will turn a blind eye to their dictator friends purely for financial gains. This is hypocrisy not democracy. Unfortunately this hypocrisy trickles down to our daily lives be it your right as a minority or a disabled person – in my case as a deaf person. If it is not financially viable then our right is left for debate or simply denied altogether.

As citizens of a democratic country…. a friend of mine recently posted a video out of frustration which started a ripple effect within the deaf community. English is not his first language therefore he naturally feels restricted in terms of written language but he overcomes this by producing videos in BSL (British Sign Language) for us to watch. I really like this particular video because he is practising his right to freedom of speech. Please note, these are his views and his words which I have transcribed for you in order to include you. I have tried my very best to keep the transcription tone and language as him, out of respect to him and his rights.

Transcription:

Hello,

Why am I here? I want to talk about BDA. B for Britsh, D – Deaf, A – Association.  

Remember my last video thanking BSL Act (over see hear etc). Some people made comments on the video regarding BDA. Some said BDA campaigned MP’s and some disagreed. Everyone has their own different views and experiences.

My experience so far is like this. BDA themselves have been organizing for the past 10 years but nothing has happened. It’s the same story – same, same, same.

Where is our access, to improve our skills? There is nothing since 122 years ago to now. Some deaf people have terrible access, experiences of facing barriers and brick walls. How can we overcome this? We have to contact BDA for advice but they say they cannot help and back off. This makes the deaf people feel small and lose confidence.

It is interesting, why? Let’s compare the differences. BDA themselves campaign MP’s. If there was a problem and we asked for help from fellow deaf community, they show respect and help each other out. Giving information, details of names and addresses to contact quite quickly. I applaud them.

Yet it is the opposite situation for the BDA. They cannot help. Why? There is plenty of BDA offices in Scotland, Glasgow, Manchester etc around the UK.

 I would like to tell you something that happened. My wife was pregnant and due to give birth last December. I was angry with the hospital due to poor service and difficult problems. I searched on the internet and found the BDA website, they could help. So I made contact with them via SMS and it was perfect. Where? In Holloway, London.

When we met face to face, I explained my reasons why I was there and shared my experiences. The BDA told me that they can’t help. I asked. “what do you mean? Cant help?!” I needed to know legal information, how to go about things. I don’t know what it is like or anything about the equality act. I don’t know and wanted this information. BDA “Can’t help!” They only wanted to have a face to face brief meeting. That’s all.

This made me feel small and lose confidence. Hmmmm.

“Okay” I said… I tried to sort it out myself. Was in the newspapers etc with positive results. I realised and understood how other deaf people felt about the BDA.

Recently I went to, on 18th or 19th March, Russell Square a hotel called Inn Hotel. I paid £70 for a ticket and lots of other deaf people turned up. (He’s referring to the BDA Symposium)

Honestly, I was feeling frustrated and wanted to ask the BDA about their poor service.

We have a right, we are in the UK – a right to be ourselves and to speak. It’s allowed?! I wanted to ask a question but someone told me I could not stand and speak but had to write a letter and post it into the comments box. “What?!” I asked… “Yes, box is for BDA panel to read out the comments or questions such as “How can we improve the BDA etc” then discuss.”

That’s all! This left me feeling perplexed and wondered if that was ok as I felt it was not right.

Really, lots of deaf people sent me messages to my inbox about the BDA and that it was true the access etc is crap. In Glasgow, Manchester too. I could now really understand and empathise with them. I asked them if they were willing to make a BSL video but they felt not confident enough to sign in a video.

I understand how it feels. Did the BDA help when my baby was being born at that time? No! Who helped me to sort it out? I did it myself. With the help of BSL Act  when I asked for more information. Sylvia helped me a lot via facetime.

Please remember, I am not criticising BDA or its name which is beautiful. It is the access, service and people which is spoiling it. I have to be straight to the point – it’s poor.

Where are the improvements for deaf people? Nothing. Benefits cut, lots of things being cut, campaigning is down. BDA being put on the spot and sending out letters (not clear)

Legal have power and this can be done via BDA. The British have power so you can do this yourself.

I feel if I was in their position, I could do this myself. But the BDA say no, have to follow procedure ie write a formal letter and post it. What next? After that, what? If successful, then what? It is very important for deaf people to be heard, to ask questions and speak. For the BDA to listen to the deaf people, hold discussions with them and if there is any problems, to give advice. For example, children – family protection, social workers, facing barriers etc. For the BDA to have consultations which the deaf people would be very grateful for and feel confident to sort out themselves.

If no advice, no consultations, how will deaf people manage? Will they be successful? Deaf people need to know this information and it is important for BDA staff/service to show respect for us all.

If it was the other way around and they asked for our support, from the deaf community with their campaigns ie MP’s but deaf people chose not to give their support. BDA would be really disappointed.

Honestly, I am angry.

Because BDA have a good name but they are hiding a lot of things behind scenes.

Hope all enjoy weekend with family and Half term.

Be happy.

Bye.”

A response to David’s video was provided by the CEO of BDA that anyone with concerns could email him on ceo@bda.org.uk. As he is inviting you to email him, please do so because you have an ample opportunity to be “heard”.

Having said that we still suffer from the hypocrisy of certain people in charge, this does not mean we do not appreciate what is good about this country. We need to appreciate and remember those in developing countries especially where there is evidence of corruption, bribery and lack of rights for the residents there. Those who face difficulties and challenges a hundred fold due to their disabilities. I have seen with my own eyes how their governments have neglected them and believe me, some people in this country take for granted just how lucky they are. To have roofs over their heads, warmth, comforts and food. Free NHS and plentiful medicine. I have no issues with those who want to strive and improve on what we already have in a positive sense. Yet we should not rest on our laurels. It is important to keep the people in charge in check otherwise the standards will inevitably drop. As a consequence, I have taken a dislike to people who are negative about anything and everything and argue for the sake of arguing without any constructive input. We should appreciate the fact that we can speak, without any fear.

Imagine what it would be like, if you could not express yourselves via spoken/written word or sign language?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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