Turning Back the Odometer…

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canstockphoto38063363.jpgI like old cars and I am kinda proud of passing on some of my experiences in life here on RJsCorner. Yeah, there are things, actually quite a few, that I would like to have been different but even the undesired things are an important part of my life’s experiences, that looking back have made me who I am.

If I hadn’t been deaf I wouldn’t have the level of empathy that I do. If I had not grown up in a single very stoic parent household I wouldn’t have the understanding of such things as I do. As another quote from Will says “Adversity builds character”. It made me who I am and I am quite proud of that fact.

I see so many people today that try to turn back their odometers.  They get hair transplants or cosmetic surgery to hide their years.  I can truthfully say that I am proud of the way I look. It does indeed show I have traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

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(WS) Breaking Down The Myths About Deafness

On my post a while ago entitled “Life’s Lesson” I said there were ten things that I have learned in my life that I aim to put forward for your consumption here on RJsCorner. One of those is the title of this WeeklySquawk.  It is important to me and I kinda think it should be important to each of us that when we come across myths about living we should do what we can to dispell the ones that are false.

2018-04-10_15-34-23.pngThe three primary myths I have encountered that demand my personal attention are related to are deafness, autism, and old age. Of course, I am intimately familiar with each as they have demanded much from me at some time in my life. This post will focus on the deaf myths. I could give you dozens of them but I will concentrate on six that absolutely drive me crazy.

Deaf & Dumb –  This myth goes back many decades, if not centuries.  It is basically that a person who is deaf can’t learn anything. Of course, this myth has been thoroughly busted but there are still many people who when they come across a deaf person just assume that the deaf person is dumb. Maybe that feeling is unconscious but the deaf person definitely perceives it.

Deaf People Can’t Speak – It is true that for some who are born deaf, they never learn to speak. But for the vast majority of us, especially those who went deaf later in life, we usually maintain the ability to speak to one degree or another. But since we have don’t really hear our voices we have problems with the volume of our speech and sometimes the quality suffers as we get older.

Deaf People Have Low IQs – I can’t tell you how many times I have been subjected to this myth.  Deaf people generally have the same IQ spread as hearing people. Some of us are geniuses and some of us struggle with daily life.

All Deaf People Were Born That Way – As a matter of fact, only a small minority of those of us who are deaf were born that way. More than 80% of us went deaf later in life. Many in their senior years.

All Deaf People Know Sign Language – Only a small number of us who are deaf know ASL (American Sign Language). That version of signing is very different than spoken English in its word order and complexity.  Most of us who were not born deaf, if we can sign at all, sign in English.  But even those make up a less than one out of ten deaf people.

Deaf People Can Read My Lips – Less than 20% of the English language appears on the lips, so even someone who is very proficient at reading lips only has access to one in five words spoken.  The rest of it is a guessing game that we generally get wrong.  If it is important information that is being passed NEVER assume that the lipreader really understands what you are saying.  This is especially true for those communicating critical health-related info.

These six myths are important to understanding but they are by no means the totality of myths about deaf people.  I will cover more in future posts. I will just leave it by saying that for the most party deaf people pretty much mirror the general population in their abilities and intelligence.

I hope this helps…

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Imagining Their Stories…

Because I am deaf I have a game I play quite often when I am around people, especially those I don’t know.  In my early years of deafness before closed-captioned TV was widely available is when this thing started. Since there was no sound to what I was seeing I made up my own storyline. It would have been interesting to discover how closely my story matched up with the writer’s version but of course, I never was able to discover that.

canstockphoto8230027Getting slightly off the subject for just a little while, I never used to think that I was a creative person. I think part of that belief was beaten into me in my youth by some pretty uncreative parents.  I know I tried to draw some in my youth and was never pleased enough with the result to show my parents or anyone else for that matter. It would take some years and experiences to realize that creativity is not just one thing but can appear in many different areas of life. Making up stories is one of those areas I have become quite good at.

Getting back to the subject of the day, I kind of liked the idea of imagining stories which I was not really privy to so I started doing it in real life. I can look at someone in a restaurant and make up stories about why they looked or acted the way they did. Its easy in today’s world to imagine them as selfish, self-centered or other negative traits but I kinda do the opposite, at least recently.  Instead of seeing speeders as self-centered people I give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine them as doctors on the way to the hospital to save someone’s life.  I am a dreamer so to me it is just more enjoyable to imagine good things than to fear yet someone else as terrorists, serial killers, or just plain selfish people.

Getting back to the starting thought of this post, It is not easy for me to start up a conversation with someone, especially someone you don’t know.  It used to require them to write down what they say.  Most people are just not willing to do that. Now, I have a couple of apps that turn speech into text. They don’t work great quite yet but are much better than paper notes.  But even with these new tools, it is almost inevitable that when another hearing person joins the group I am pretty much ignored from that point on.  So, I end up watching other people or make up stories of what I might be missing.  It beats just sitting there like a bump on a log. 🙂

Dispelling Myths vs Reimaging

2018-03-06_13-24-11.pngYesterday’s post was all about spin and how we too often try to reimage something because makes us uncomfortable.  It was primarily about the fact that we need to dispell the myth instead of just re-naming the condition.  Today I want to talk about why this topic is so important to me.

As I have often said, being deaf is a major part of my life but it is not what I am about.  I almost never say I am a deaf man but instead say I am a man who is deaf. There is a critical difference between the two. If I allow my deafness to define my life then what I am doing is to make it the central focus. Instead, I will define myself as:

  • A follower of Jesus
  • A creative person
  • A history buff
  • A person who enjoys adventurous things
  • An avid writer/blogger
  • An avid photographer
  • A teacher of coping with challenging circumstances

Somewhere far down the line would be deafness. In the area of deafness, I strive to teach others who might be just starting their journey that they are not alone and that their deafness does not have to define them or limit them to any extent.  Yes, it places challenges in their life but nothing that can’t be overcome.

I don’t think things have changed that much when it comes to medical authorities giving a person who is suddenly deaf, resources to cope. The hearing professionals in my day simply said: “We can’t help you anymore so, goodbye”.  I was left on my own to figure out where to go from there.

2018-03-06_13-27-06.pngAnother reason I am generally against reimaging is Google. If I want to learn something about this topic would I google “deaf” or “sudden loss of hearing”? I don’t think there is any disagreement as to that answer.  When I went deaf in 1988 the Internet was in its infancy. There were no major news sites and Google was decades away.  America-On-Line (AOL) was just starting out. I struggled for weeks trying to find anything I could use to help me cope with becoming deaf.

Now with the Internet, if I know the right terms and they haven’t been reimaged I can find a myriad of sources of information about any topic.  I hope that there are some who google “deaf” that happen to be pointed to RJsCorner and learn a little from my experiences with deafness.   Most importantly, I hope they learn that they are not alone out there. I struggled with that cruel idea for quite some time!

Closing up this two-part post, we need to do whatever we can to dispell myths that have grown up around too many topics. We can’t let just give into myths and let them stand as somehow being insurmountable. Dispelling myths is an underlying reason for RJsCorner even if I don’t directly say that enough.

 

 

Reimaging, Spin, Spin, Spin

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…

2018-03-06_11-16-45.pngFinally, 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.

Circle Of Life…

We went to Disney World in the Spring of 2016 for our 30th wedding anniversary. At least for me, it was a very memorable experience.  My wife took the idea that Disney World was for kids and was therefore determined to not have a good time.  Unfortunately, for the most part, she accomplished that. But that is another story I guess.
We spent five days at a Disney resort and visited all the parks, or at least I did. One of the most memorable events I went to was “Lion King”. The production was way beyond anything I had imagined.  Being deaf the songs didn’t come through but the atmosphere was almost overwhelming even without the music and words.
It was not until almost a year later that I came across the premiere song “Circle of Life”. Here is a portion of the lyrics:
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the Sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
The song was written by Elton John and has become very famous. The Broadway play is now entering its twentieth year and has generated more revenue than all the Star Wars movies combined.  I particularly like the words “You should never take more than you give”.  That should be a guiding principle in all our lives.
My brain no longer recognizes the sound of musical instruments and most songs I remember are mainly just words and cadence but that is enough to have an impact on my life. I still cling to the folk songs of my youth, or at least the words and memories.
To close out this post I want to give you a gallery of some of the pictures I took of the Disney World version of Lion King.
As usual click on any image to see a larger slideshow view. 

What’s It Feel Like For a White Man To Be A Minority??

canstockphoto22042668.jpgI know one of the reasons that we have the current incompetent in the White House is that too many white men are afraid of becoming a minority.  They are afraid of what will happen when their say is no longer the dominant one but instead one of many. For the most part white men have been dismissing minorities for decades and don’t want that to happen to them. They are afraid of many things but this is probably one of the major ones.

If none of the clues on RJsCorner have given you a hint then I will bluntly say I am a white man.  But I am a white man who has been in the minority most of my life.  I know what it means to be discounted in one form or another. I know what it means to be ignored.

Social Situations – All my life I have had characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism Spectrum. Since early age I have had difficulties with social situations that most just take for granted. It was always difficult for me to form friendships especially with females. I just couldn’t, and probably still don’t, understand what they want from a relationship.  Even friendships with other guys has been difficult. I simply can’t do eye contact so that makes me suspect to many first time acquaintances. I have always been a minority when it comes to social situations.

Being Deaf – I have been significantly hearing impaired since my teenage years and completely deaf for the last thirty years.  That puts me in about 1% of the population and thus a minority. I struggle on a daily basis against all the deaf stereotypes.  You would be surprised just how many people still believe in the “Deaf and Dumb” thing! Many basically tell me to go away instead of trying to accommodate me in any fashion.  In the old days I used to ask them to write me a note, but most won’t even consider that. I have always been a minority because of hearing loss.

I am an Independent Thinker – I frequently get into trouble because of this.  I was kicked out of a church for saying what I am sure 80% of the congregation thought. I questioned the “profession of faith”, that is those things I am supposed to believe without any real evidence to prove them. I am “Blue in a Red State” and that makes me a definite minority.  Being an independent thinker I am driven by logic in a very illogical world. Being an independent thinker makes me a minority.

As a result of all these things I don’t fear being in a minority. I am not afraid of the barbarians at the gate as I am one of them.  To all my friends out there I want to tell you that being a minority in some ways is a very freeing thing. It helps you relate to all those you once feared. It gives you an additional dose of empathy. It makes you a better Christian if that is your flavor of spirituality.

Happily join us and that alone will relieve much of the stress in your life…

 

About Deafness — Chapter 92

I realized that it has been quite some time since I put out a post primarily about deafness. But the title of “chapter 92” is kind of made up.  🙂  This particular chapter is the result of an episode on the CBS News – Sunday Morning about being in an anechoic chamber. First off the program mentioned is not really about “news” but more of like On the Road with Charles Kuralt but with Indiana’s own Jane PauleyNow I know I am dating myself with this reference but for those of you who don’t know about “On The Road..” check it out on Wikipedia.

2017-02-12_10-01-21.pngGetting back to the anechoic chamber story, it was about a couple of guys who were amazed at the experience of sitting an anechoic chamber.  I have some personal experience with this as I rather frequently used a chamber in my early engineering years. I was hearing, at least to some degree, at that time and agree that is it a unique experience. An anechoic chamber basically stops all ambient noise.

Anyway the guys mentioned that they could hear each other’s breath and even when they moved their eyebrows.  I kind of doubt the eyebrow comment but they said this was an experience they have never had before.  That got me to thinking that I have been in an anechoic chamber for almost thirty years now, but not really.

To explain that a little further, I am plagued with tinnitus which is ringing in my ears. For me is it two frequencies overlapping each other. One is a low rumble and the other is a whistle type sound. They are constantly in my head.  Thank heavens that my brain is able to just ignore them most of the time but not always, especially when  I think of them as I am now. The roar would probably drive a hearing person to insanity. They say that Van Gogh suffered from tinnitus and that is the reason he cut off his hear.  I don’t know about that but it is an interesting story 🙂

I was hearing impaired most of my life and knew that one day I would go deaf. Luckily that day didn’t come until I was about forty.  I remember in my hearing aid days wondering what it would be like to not be able to hear anything. I once even tried to simulate it by keeping my head under water in the bathtub but then I could still hear the lower frequency sounds of the water and the tub so that just didn’t work.

It turns out that as is often the case it is not possible to simulate total deafness except in an anechoic chamber and even then you can hear yourself breathe.  One of the things that Helen Keller said when someone asked her which sense she would like to have the most either hearing or sight.  She said hearing as that is what keeps you attached to people. That kind of surprised me as I would have chosen sight but their is certainly a lot of truth in her words. being deaf is not for sissies…

 

 

Stop Using Sign Language Interpreters…

IMG_0542-crop.pngThe title above may seem strange coming from a deaf man but I really do think we have to stop using sign language interpreters for public announcements.  Its time to move on to better ways. Way better ways…

The facts show us that the ASL interpreters who are often behind a public official announcing something is understood by less that 20% of the people who are deaf and less than 2% of those who have hearing impairments.  But there is a technology that is understood by probably 90%+ of that population. That technology is captioning.  It is cheap, it is reliable and most of all serves the vast majority of those of us who are deaf/hearing impaired.  Here are some facts to back up these numbers:

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is one of a few national surveys that regularly collects data identifying the American population of persons with hearing loss or deafness. Estimates from the SIPP indicate that fewer than 1 in 20 Americans are currently deaf or hard of hearing. In round numbers, nearly 10,000,000 persons are hard of hearing and close to 1,000,000 are functionally deaf. More than half of all persons with hearing loss or deafness are 65 years or older and less than 4% are under 18 years of age….

Source: How Many Deaf People Are There in the United States? Estimates From the Survey of Income and Program Participation

More than half the folks who are deaf went deaf as a result of the aging process and know very little or nothing about any type of sign language. I have been deaf for about 30 years now and have become quite proficient in understanding signed English, at least me and my wife’s version. ASL is just beyond my comprehension. One of the problems with ASL is that it is not an English type language in syntax and many adjectives are facial expressions instead of signed  words. Depending on the interpreter there can be many different ways to sign the same thing. Some, who do use ASL, sign it one way some another. Let’s quit pretending that an ASL interpreter satisfies the needs of the deaf/ hearing impaired community and move on to providing captions through a monitor to vastly increase the reach to this population.

Caught Between Two Worlds….

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This post is part of my continuing study of the Autism spectrum and particularly Asperger’s Syndrome.

I am stuck between two worlds in my life.  I am a deaf man who lives almost exclusively 2016-08-10_07-19-19in the hearing world but neither the hearing world or the deaf world considers me a homeboy.  I am seldom around other deaf people so I can’t speak for them but since almost 80% of us deafies are like me in that they went deaf later in life ways maybe I do.  One of my goals via this blog and a few other forums, is to help the hearing world understand that most of us who are deaf are really not much different from them.

In regards to Aspergers I am via this post going to give you a glimpse of the last chapter into my study .  I have taken a couple of standard tests and discovered that I am about equally spread between the Neurotypical world and the Neurodiverse world.   Those two words were new to me so I assume they are to you.  Simply put I have rather strong Aspergers’ characterisitcs in some areas but not others.  I will be going into that in somewhat detail in future posts.

Its hard being stuck between two worlds but I am used to it. My living with Asperger’s traits didn’t change just because it now has a name.   As with my deafness, I have lived with it most of my life.   But in some ways just having a name makes the struggle a little easier as I now know I am not alone.  At the same time I don’t want that to reduce my feeling of personal responsibility of trying harder to be aware when I hurt people’s feelings or give them a view of me that I don’t have of myself or any of a number of other social behaviors.   I need to do better more than ever now that I know I have a problem…. much more on that later.

Before I close out this post I want to make it clear that while I say I have identified personal characteristics that relate to Aspergers I am likely  not  typical of this overall group. I fully understand that there are many who struggle much more than I do.  In my limited studies I have not been able to find how spread out of severity levels are in the Aspergers population.  I don’t pretend to know what others with extreme conditions go through in their daily lives.  All I can do for this series of posts is to give you my story and hope it relates to others with Aspergers at some level.

Next time I will start giving you some of my real life examples of Aspergers traits. I hope they help you but just as importantly I hope they help me too….

About Closed Captioning (CC)…

2016-01-31_10-01-12.pngI wanted to pen a post on a topic most of your are probably unfamiliar with and that is closed captioning. I’m pretty sure most of you have at least a basic idea of what that is but for those of us who are deaf it is a lifeblood of keeping up with keeping up with the world. Without CC our world would be a quite different place.

If you want to get an idea of what that means I would suggest that for the next few days when you turn on your TV to hit the mute button and watch for a couple hours. I know you would never make it that long but it would take that long for the reality of not having sound to really sink in.

I was going to give you a history of closed captioning but quickly realized that it would probably bore you so here is the cliff notes version.

  • The first use of regularly scheduled closed captioning on American television occurred on March 16, 1980.
  • Prior to 1993 if you wanted to access closed captioning you had to buy a separate set top box that costs more than the TV itself and even then only a slight majority of network shows provided the capability.
  • As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act sometime around 2005 the FCC mandated that all TV  and TV broadcasts after an initial startup period must provide a closed captioning signal.

All of this made life a little easier for those of us who are deaf.  Most, but not all pre-recorded network TV show do a pretty good job of captioning but some cable channels do it on the cheap. The quality  and consistency of captioning varies widely with live broadcasts such as the nightly news.  Sometimes there are 30 to 60 second gaps when the captioned message just locks up. It seems to me that these periods are during the most critical parts of the broadcast but I am probably being paranoid about that.  🙂

On February 20, 2014, the FCC unanimously approved the implementation of quality standards for closed captioning, addressing accuracy, timing, completeness, and placement. This is the first time the FCC has addressed quality issues in captions.

Closing out this post I want to complain a little about some of the constant aggravations in my hearing challenged life. I started using hearing aids in the early 1970s. Being a technology focused engineer I quickly came to realize that hearing aid technology greatly lagged that of other fields and the low tech hearing aids I was able to get were very expensive.

The same can be said for Closed Captioning. If you want to realize the recent advances in voice recognition technology just turn on Siri on your iPhone. I realize that being deaf for going on thirty years my speaking voice has deteriorated and was skeptical that Siri would actually work for me.  But it does!! I am amazed at how accurate it is.  If only this same technology were applied to Closed Captioning I could say goodbye to all those  very annoying thirty second gaps in my nightly newscasts.

Over the years I have come to accept that hearing loss technology is a step-child when it comes to technological advances. While there are about 40 million who are hearing impaired only about 4 million are deaf  so there is just not much attention paid to it.

 

My Creative Side…

2015-08-01_16-31-26I seem to be ignoring my creative side lately in favor of other things.  I promised myself I would not do that so I will make an effort in the coming days to bring it back.  I believe that variety is the spice of life, no I don’t mean that in a sexual sense, but I also believe that creativity is a big part of living a fulfilling life.

I have recently taken on a project to put together a catalog of songs from my past that gave me insight into life or just gave me joy.  For some reason it struck me the other day that maybe my more frequent bouts of depression now are due to not being able to just sit back and listen to the music of my past.

One of the tragic things that I have discovered about my deafness is that I am no longer able to remember what musical instruments  or even music in general sound like! I watch someone playing the guitar and see the strings vibrate but just can’t remember what it sounds like. I can remember the cadence of songs but not the music.

2015-09-26_13-14-00I realize I can never listen to those songs now but I can still read the words and “sing” them to myself  and I do just that when I’m sure that no one can hear me. 🙂  I wail away to my own enjoyment.  I have carried  around the words of one of my favorite songs for several months now.  It is a song by Simon and Garfunkel entitled The Sounds Of Silence.  It is kind of ironic that I now can fully apprehend just what the sound of silence really is.

Anyway, I am attempting to gather many of the songs of my past and most of them are of the folk music variety.  Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, and even Woody Guthrie.  But the list also includes some Beatles, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and others but sorry, no Elvis or anything in that genre.   Since I went deaf in 1988 none of the singers today even register on my scale.  I have no idea what rapping is or why someone would want to play a record player backwards. Lady Ga Ga who I think is a singer is a total mystery to me as to why anyone is even interested.

I still have my record collection and am pulling it out now just to look at the covers. They bring back some pleasant memories.  I am sure I am biased but I don’t think anything today comes close to the songs of my youth during the rebellious 60s.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Our Disabilities and Our Personal Failures…

I want to forewarn you that this post is going to include some ranting and will probably offend some people. I am sorry if that offends you but I need to speak my mind on this topic.

2015-09-01_10-17-45People who don’t come here often probably don’t know that I am deaf.  I went deaf about thirty years ago from a congenital disease. Before you ask, no a cochlear implant is not a possibility for me.  When I started going deaf I was first exposed to the “Deaf” community (with a capital D”. To them being deaf is something to be celebrated! Most but by no means all of the Deaf community were born deaf. But there are some who, like me, went deaf later in life. In large cities they form their own communities; often living close to each other and pretty much stay within that community. Many have as little to do with the hearing world as possible.

My hearing loss was a gradual thing that started in my college years and resulted in a total loss of hearing about twenty years later. I looked into the possibility of joining the Deaf community but decided it wasn’t for me.  Yes, it might have been easier to just give up on living with the 99% who are not deaf. Communications certainly would have been easier but that is not a road I chose. The Deaf community like everything else has its dark side.  To me part of that dark side is that they consider giving a child a cochlear implant in order to allow him to hear is child abuse. They say it denies him his deaf culture!  They treat their disability as something to be cherished, not to be overcome. I simply don’t see it that way. I have maintained my life in the hearing world and will continue to do so for the rest of what remains of it.

This discussion brings in a wider topic.  I recently saw and advertisement on one of the cable TV channels about a new program that celebrates obesity. Since for the most part obesity is a self-inflicted thing that greatly increases your likelihood of heart disease and other serious health conditions I can’t understand celebrating it.  Maybe it is just too hard for some to tackle their extreme overweight condition so they rationalize.

It seems strange that we are now starting to treat our disabilities and person failures as something to celebrate.  But maybe it is just easier, you might say lazier, to do that. Rationalization is a strong thing.

 

Maybe I Should Wear A Sign…

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They say that deafness is a hidden handicap in that it is not an obvious affliction. Maybe I should wear a sign 🙂 .  Sometimes when I tell people I am deaf it doesn’t seem to get through to them. What many do is to apparently just speak louder. For those who I have difficulty reading their lips,and that seem like most people, I hand them a pencil and notepad and ask them to write they just don’t seem to understand.

I know that a common misconception is that deaf people aren’t able to talk. That is often true of those who were born deaf or went deaf at a very early age but for the 80% of us who went deaf later in life almost all of us maintain at least some ability to speak. I thank the Lord that most people can still understand what I say, at least when I slow down and try to speak very clearly and am not too tired. But it seems like many refuse to believe I am deaf because I talk so clearly. Maybe I should shut up and wear a sign.

 

Don’t Label Me …

2014-10-07_08-16-26In fact, Raven tells Oprah that she rejects the notion of labels completely in all areas of her life. “I’m tired of being labeled,” she says. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American. “The remark seems to catch Oprah off guard. “Oh, girl,” Oprah says, shifting in her chair. “Don’t set up the Twitter on fire… Oh, my lord. What did you just say?” “I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to,” Raven explains. “I don’t know how far back they go… I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m an American. And that’s a colorless person.” “You’re going to get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American. You know that, right?” Oprah asks. Raven puts her hands up. “I don’t label myself,” she reiterates. “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian, I connect with Asian, I connect with Black, I connect with Indian, I connect with each culture.” “You are a melting pot in one body,” Oprah says.”Aren’t we all?” Raven asks. “Isn’t that what America’s supposed to be?” SOURCE:  Raven-Symoné: Don’t Label Me ‘Gay’ Or ‘African-American’ VIDEO.

I was totally fascinated by Raven Symone as a little girl on the Cosby Show. Even at that young age she was a person well beyond her years and proves to be that way even today. She might be naive in some aspects of life and an idealist but those are assets the way I look at it.

I too don’t like to be labeled and I never have. I very seldom talk about my deafness and I definitely don’t label myself with that affliction.  Yes, I am deaf and that means I cope daily with different obstacles than many but that is not who I am.

I think, but am not sure that my distant relatives came for Scotland but that fact does not mean that I am a Scottish-American. One blood line is in the native-American category I am kind of proud of that fact but I don’t go around calling myself a native-American.

Yes Raven America has been labeled as a melting pot but in some sense it is far from that.  A melting pot means everyone is the same and treated the same and we all know that is simply not the case, at least yet.

I need to find out what Raven has been doing in the entertainment field since the Cosby show. She still seems to be quite a unique young lady…