As a youngster, most of us are taught what is considered rude and what is considered, shall we say, “politically correct.” But one question might be, do those rules apply for everyone in every situation? I high doubt that every single situation calls for the same response or behavior.
I was teaching a sign language course a week ago and the subject of “Deaf people being blunt” came up. One student spoke out, “So it’s impossible to offend a Deaf person?” Ha! I sincerely doubt there is anyone with normal emotions (Hearing, Deaf, Black, White, Female, Male, etc.),of whom it is impossible to offend. Tell a Deaf person they can’t do something because they’re deaf. I think that might rattle a few cages. In general Deaf people and Hearing people feel things the same way. We’ve just experienced life differently and respond in different ways. It doesn’t make us easy targets for rudeness or bullies.
At a Deaf gathering a while ago, I had a friend ask me how I felt about being so fat. I knew he wasn’t trying to be rude. So I told him, It sucks being fat. I’m working on it.” And let it go. What I wanted to say was,”How’s does it feel to be ugly?” But THAT would have definitely been rude…and politically incorrect (Whatever the heck that means).
Although Deaf and hard of hearing people may have a slight reputation for being blunt, that doesn’t make us a group of people who have no feelings. So, yes, you can offend a Deaf person. And yes, a Deaf person can offend a hearing person. That’s just how life goes. So the next time you feel like testing this theory out, take a moment and think, How would I feel if something asked or said the same thing to me? You might decide to push your OFF button and rethink what you have to say.