Putting words in my mouth…

Every now and then I end up talking with a deaf activist who believes that the world in general has it out for the deaf.  Honestly, the world in general isn’t aware that the deaf exist or if they do know, it’s like we’re from some obscure country and no one can understand the lingo.

Almost every time I have conversations about deaf issues (always initiated by the other side) I end up with someone flinging statements at me like overcooked noodles.  “I bet you think all genetically deaf are stupid!”  Well, no, I really don’t.  There are ranges of individuals in the deaf community, from geniuses to people with profound mental impairments.

So then you think it is right to… (insert issue).  Well, I can see how the court would have something to say about the issues.  If it involves the long-term welfare of a child, and if specialists testify, and if the guardian ad litem supports certain actions, then I can understand a judge’s ruling.  I may or may not agree with it, but I can understand how the judge got there.

So have you ever represented a deaf person in (some very specific case).  Since it is the only case of its kind, no.  However, I’ve read as much of the record as I can get my hands on because I was interested.  It was one of those difficult cases where the judge basically decided based on expert testimony.

So you think all judges are right?  Well, I think most judges do the best they can with what they have. Until we are able to recruit gods and goddesses who are all powerful and all knowing to sit on the bench, we’re pretty much going to have to go with the best we’ve got – judges.

I find conversing with someone who is looking for a fight a great deal like trying to have a conversation with a runaway train.

I’m an observer of legal processes unless I’m involved in them.  I find the law fascinating and probably the reason I finished law school was because of that fascination.  Because I’m not involved in every case and because cases are often very complicated, I’m often more interested in learning more than in making judgment calls.  There are exceptions. And I know there is a minimum of two sides to every story – even when I want my story to be the right side.

My thought is that if one is attempting to persuade someone to their point of view, going on the attack is a poor way to do it.  So is calling names.  I’ve been called an audist as if that’s a swear word.  That’s fine…but as soon as the attacks and name calling start the battle to persuade is lost. I get annoyed, then bored, then I leave the vicinity and consider the antagonist a lost cause (at least at that time).

I’m very interested in making positive changes in how the deaf community is treated, however, I know the process requires someone on the inside of the hearing community – and I also know that you have to persuade others that your line of thinking is rational and productive while not trying to put a stake through anyone else’s heart. If I can persuade others of good will, perhaps they can tackle people they work with and have an impact – which will never happen if we lob grenades at each other from across a demarcation line.

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