Deaf People Can Do Anything!

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know joining the Army has nothing to do with entrepreneurship, however what Keith Nolan experienced with the army is exactly what I have experienced with the TV talk show business.

Many hearing people in the business world think that Deaf people cannot own and operate a business in the mainstream community. Those hearing people have the kind of mindset that only they can own and operate businesses in the mainstream community, which includes the Deaf community, however Deaf people should own and operate business for the Deaf community only.

Often, hearing people ask me how can I communicate with hearing people if I am doing business with them?

It is disheartening to see that hearing people have the mindset that two groups using two different languages, English and American Sign Language, CANNOT work together, CANNOT communicate and therefore CANNOT mix together and work together.

The better that Deaf people can speak and hear, the more privileges they get in the mainstream community.

For example, on the TV show Switched at Birth, actor Katie Leclerc, who portrays the main character Daphne Vasquez, became deaf at 17 and speaks almost as well as any hearing person. But the irony is that the character of Daphne became deaf when she was baby. Why can’t the producers, writers and the director pick a Deaf person who has been profoundly deaf all of her life, has the strong identity of a Deaf being and is signing fluently?

Is it because they have adopted/developed the belief that culturally Deaf people, who use American Sign Language as their first language and  other communication tools to communicate with hearing people, are INCAPABLE of functioning in the mainstream community?

Do hearing viewers not feel a connection with Deaf people if they are not somewhat similar to them as far as the ability to speak or “hear”?

What Keith Nolan stated in his presentation is powerful and it is important for us to recognize the seriousness of his message.  He said, “When a Deaf student came to me and said, ‘I wanted to be in army.’ I told him No, he couldn’t join the army. I stopped myself and realized that I am doing to my Deaf student the same thing that hearing people did to me so many times, that I couldn’t be in the army because of my deafness. I cannot allow myself to pass this myth on to my Deaf students, that they cannot join in the army because of their deafness.”

Here is Keith Nolan joining the army and facing the rejection from the army because of his deafness. He will not give up the battle against the discrimination of Deaf people who want to join in the army so they can serve their country.

It’s like a domain effect… from Deaf babies, Deaf children to Deaf adults, hearing people have told us what we can do and what we can’t do based on our deafness, to the point where we would absorb their ridiculous message without knowing it, then we delivered the message to Deaf children and tell them what they can and what they can’t do based on hearing people’s ignorance.

The truth is… Deaf people can do anything… hearing people and Deaf people, we always face challenges in our lives, but what makes us advanced people is the ability to climb over the obstacle, go through it, or go around it.

People including Deaf people can do anything and when they face obstacles, that they are capable of figuring out how to break the obstacle.

Do not create artificial obstacles that do not even exist about Deaf people’s ability and potential because of their deafness and usage of their language, ASL.

Do not tell us to accept or to understand that hearing people are afraid of communicating with Deaf people because they do not know how to communicate with Deaf people. Deaf people and hearing people are capable of communicating with each other through other communication tools such as writing, texting, interpreting, and Video Relay Service. Deaf people and hearing people can work together regardless of the language differences.

I say YES to Keith Nolan as a Deaf person, that he is capable of joining the army and serving his country. And I say YES to me as a Deaf person, that I am capable of hosting a TV Talk show and running a business in the mainstream community at large!


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