Saturday, August 7, 2010
GIMME DEAF POWER!
I believe that Deaf people, not being disabled (except by hearing people who choose to make it seem that way), can have power. Deaf power! Ever since that wonderful day in 1988, when we succeeding in ensuring that the president of Gallaudet University would, indeed, be deaf, I think we’ve been taking more steps to show it. However, the other night at dinner, I got to taste just how far from arriving we are.
It was interesting, actually. The previous day, I had gone to lunch with a new Deaf friend. We entered, gestured that we needed a seating of two, and followed the hostess to a booth. Once the waitress saw that we were Deaf, she was very cooperative. We pointed to what we wanted and figured out a way to convey the rest. It was a nice lunch with a new friend.
Then, the next night, my hearing husband decided to take me to dinner to get out of the house and have some alone time away from the kids. When we entered the restaurant, we were both greeted with welcomes. Because they added more than the usual, “Hi! Welcome,” Kenny interpreted for me. I responded directly to the hostess. She stood there with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
After we were seated, the waitress came up and greeted both of us. We both smiled warmly and said, “Hello.” When she asked what I wanted to drink, I showed her on the menu, making it obvious that I was deaf. That was all she needed to know. For the rest of the meal, anytime she would approach us to ask us a question, she would get my husband’s response and not even look in my direction. Often, she would come when my head was down, ask Kenny how things were, and leave. Never tried to get a response from me. Doesn’t it matter if I’m OK, too? Obviously not to her.
Then, as always, when it was time to get the check, it went directly to Kenny. No asking. No wondering. Sure, that might have been because he’s a male and I’m a female, but I think a lot had to do with the fact that, since I am deaf, she assumed the hearing person would pay for it. Why? My money’s good, too. But that’s how it always goes.
Like it or not, as deafies, hearing people will always give the power back to other hearing people. Doesn’t matter if we’re black, white, male, female, young, old. If we’re deaf and there’s a hearie around, they are the ones other hearies give the power to. And it stinks.
Let’s hope better times for the future.