Monday, June 9, 2008

Stereotype or reality?

I can accept that having a certain disability might, by isolating you from others who don't, and by the shared experiences of others who do, give rise to a "culture."

I can accept that people of certain cultures can have common characteristics. Some cultures might value education; others feats of bravado. Thus, persons who have these characteristics would tend to thrive and multiply in this culture, as opposed to people who don't.

But I felt very uncomfortable and something in me raised a red flag when a certain person recently gave me some advice.

Sweetie and I have befriended a Woman who is hearing-impaired. Hearing impaired persons definitely have their own language, their own culture. Like any culture, it has its controversial elements, such as, in some members, resentment towards other members who use lip reading and speak instead of sticking totally to sign language.

Sweetie and I are taking this hearing-impaired person grocery shopping tonight, since She doesn't drive.

The advice that I was given was to beware because if "you give a hearing-impaired person an inch, they will take a mile." In other words, we should expect to be asked to do much more for Her than an occassional grocery trip.


I refuse to believe that being hearing-impaired has any connection to a person acting that way, anymore than if they were Swedish, Baptist or Canadian.


Trisia said...

Oh, these are muddy waters you're treading into, Ecd.

It's nice of you not to mind what well-meaning but slightly disoriented people may offer as advice. I dunno, maybe that person has had an unpleasant experience... You know the context better than we do.

Chase March said...

I can’t understand why people throw up their disabilities and constantly call attention to it. That’s one of the reasons I like Obama in the presidential race because he never calls attention to his race.

Everyone is able. That’s a slogan on some commercials I have seen lately. I really like that sentiment.

kat said...

more than likely such individuals are loathe to ask for assistance

I am constantly amazed with the pride independence and accomplishments of such individuals

welcome back from the mts.

Rebecca said...

I think I would be offended by the suggestion that your hearing impaired friend would likely take advantage of your generosity. I don't think such a trait is endemic to any one segment of the population. While it is true that hearing impaired persons can harbor deep resentments within segments of its own community, and sometimes seeks to segregate itself entirely from the hearing community, there is nothing in this woman's behavior to suggest that this is the dynamic. Keeping an open mind is aways the best approach. But, in this, I know I am preaching to the choir.


the walking man said...

Seeing as the only good you and your partner will receive from this new relation is to give what you give and receive what you will in return I doubt that any others opinion really matters eh?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's silly. There simply has to be more within-group variance than between-group.

(Nit sure I'd equate race with a disability!)