Saturday, August 7, 2010


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.


  1. This reminds me of those people like Barry Sewell, Richard Roehm, Ann C., Candy, Mike McConnell, Karen Mayes, Deaf Bunny Russell saying that hearing people are more superior than deaf people so therefore we should accept that we deaf should be patronized.

    You should speak up to that waiter or train your hearing husband to say, "Why don't you ask my wife?"

    Many deaf people like those I named above are so colonialized that they preach us deaf people to be humbled to let hearing dominate us deaf citizens to be viewed as second class citizens.

    It is either Deaf Power or Hearing impaired Colonialized Power.

    It is time to stop these colonialized hearing impaired people oppressing genuine Deaf people.

  2. Hi, Anonymous! I totally agree with you. Thanks for posting.

  3. I think that can only get better on a person by person incident by incident basis. Why? Us hearing people are used to looking at those who are talking to us/listening to us. It's a matter of focus, and habit, and it's not an easy thing to change.

    And in my family, my wife usually handles the check, because she likes to make sure that it is correct, and most of the time, the bill gets put in front of me. Tradition.

    Thanks for opening up issues and bringing them to people's attention. It's a good way to initiate the changes you'd like to see!

  4. In those kind of cases, if my wife , or hearing friend, or whoever I am with...if "they" don't stand up for me and say something, then I ALWAYS do so for myself.

    1. I will say or write down, "Are you going to ask me?"
    2. If the "mood" is off, and I am angered/aggressive, I will sign/gesture until they "get it".

    Ask me too.