Too many times we simply don’t like the name for something and to fix that we give it a new often indistinguishable name. Don’t like the word retirement, give it a new name. Give it a more positive spin. Call it the third trimester of life. Maybe that will offset the negative connotations associated with this time in life. Spin, spin, spin…
On a lighter side, job titles seem to be at the head of the reimaging wave. So many people have impressive sounding titles for the same old jobs. I have come to the conclusion that employers know that reimaging job descriptions is less expensive than paying more money for the work. Let’s look at a few:
Transparency Enhancement Facilitator – used to be called window washers.
Director of First Impressions – used to be called receptionists.
Beverage Dissemination Specialist – used to be called the bartender
Field Nourishment Consultant – used to be called waiters
Asset Financial Analyst – used to be called accountants
Spin, spin, spin…
Finally, getting serious and to the main point of this post, one of the possible reasons for reimaging is that the current name has too many myths going against it. One of those I am intimately familiar with is “deaf”. Too many people still think “deaf and dumb” when it comes to anyone who has lost or never had the ability to hear. Yes, there is a small percentage of this population who never manage to become accomplished at reading, writing, or speaking. A significant majority of that particular group were born deaf to deaf parents and were never encouraged to move beyond their deafness, in fact, many celebrate it!
There are about 46 million people in the US who have serious or profound difficulty understanding the spoken word. About 35 million (80%) of those are or could be helped to one degree or another with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other technological devices. But what about the other 12 million or so?
About 6.5 million (54%) are senior citizens who have lost their hearing due to aging factors.
About 5 million (42%) are people, like me, who lost their hearing as adults or at least after they became accomplished in the spoken word.
The last 0.5 million are people who were born deaf or became deaf at an early age. Of that group, about 0.1 million never learned to read, write, or speak beyond the fourth-grade level. In the past being born deaf was often due to oxygen tents and other medical procedures. Those mistakes have almost disappeared today and so has the born-deaf population.
Summarizing, the vast majority of the deaf population are anything but dumb. Many are college graduates and almost all have lead productive lives.
Instead of inventing new names for that 98% of the current deaf population we should all, especially those of us who are deaf, be educating those who are “dumb” on this subject.
If I weren’t out of room on this post I could make the same argument for those with autism. Instead of reimaging the word, the general public needs to be better educated on the subject.
Tomorrow I will talk more about why the topic of labels is so sensitive to me.