The last week in September is International Deaf Awareness Week and a new hashtag came up: #hearingprivilege. Naturally, people reacted. The way of the world today is to react as quick as you can and regret your thoughts later.
Most deaf people are not complaining, just showing a way of life that we cherish and at the same time can be negative by outsiders’ perspectives. People think we’re complaining because life is not fair. Hon’, we all know life ain’t fair most of the time. That is why it is a journey that we travel throughout our life.
That is why it is okay to agree to disagree; however, I digress. If one disagrees on basis of not understanding why they disagree, then we cannot agree to disagree. The purpose of #hearingprivilege is to enlighten people about the struggles we go through daily. Many people will have never realized this behavior because they did not have the opportunity to be aware of it.
Examples of the hashtag available on Facebook and Twitter:
#HearingPrivilege is never having my intelligence or work ability questioned based on my language modality. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hearing-privilege_us_57ebd4c5e4b024a52d2bb142?section=women& This article has more hashtags.
or #hearingprivilege is never having to hear the words, “Never mind”, or “I will tell you later” during family dinners and conversations.
This is an opportunity to personally analyze the response we see and react to when we see words that challenge us on a daily or frequent basis. This opportunity I presented to my students with varied responses, average result would be opening of the minds, yet there are some responses where “Hearing Privilege” does NOT exist. Hon’, this is the real world – not the ‘hearing’ world – the REAL world. Privilege exists and will always exist. How we respond to the privilege is what will gain the most in the path to enlightenment.
Sorry, if one does NOT believe in privilege, the ability to be open about the paths that the world turns on will be a narrow one. Even, I as a deaf person, took the time to analyze what #hearingprivilege means because my experience as a deaf person is not always the same as the other deaf person. I will be grateful for those opportunities because of parents who were opening their world to include their children’s worlds. That was why I try to add #deafgain, which is how deaf people contribute to the world through our differences to positively enhance the real world, benefitting others who are not deaf or sign language users.
Sometimes it is hard to accept that privilege and even harder to change, remember it is better to have tried than never tried. Imagine how many new relationships one will have with a diverse group, just because one began to understand and will be able to agree to disagree.
Below is a good video of an explanation regarding #hearingprivilege.