Last night I watched the most wonderful documentary about a culture I know very little about. Power in Our Hands is a must watch for those of us who see the value of language, and the culture that shape shifts around the evolution of that language.
Tracking the history of Deaf Culture in Britain, and the stepping stones to what empowered the deaf communities around Britain to fight for their rights to ‘be heard’, I found this documentary hugely moving, humbling and felt drawn towards the humour that encompasses these communities.
I was also saddened to learn of the demise of deaf schools and deaf units within schools throughout the UK, and especially the closures of deaf care homes across the Country. Isn’t this going to cause huge social isolation? Being a part of the larger crowd does not eradicate isolation, being a part of the wrong crowd causes isolation. Fact.
Questions were asked from the audience, ‘do we really want the deaf community to be segregated?’. I guess this question is born around the 2016 notion of what the term ‘inclusive’ and ‘equality’ mean.
I get irritated very easily. This question started to conjure up one of those irritations, so I reflect on it today. Being a Welsh Language speaker and therefore able to relate a little, I feel hugely frustrated by the fall in numbers of deaf people speaking British Sign Language. I am coming at this from a very fresh perspective, and put a disclaimer in here that my perceptions may change as my journey through this continues, but it seems daft to me that as a society, which is now integrating deaf learners into main stream schools with very little support, and trying to treat deaf people as an equal member of the hearing community, that we as a society have the confidence to label this as ‘equality’ and ‘inclusivity’. To me this is just…well…daft. Equality means that every single person starts a journey from exactly the same place. Are we not empowered by people who share the same passions, beliefs, culture and stumbling blocks as us?
Are we not in danger of suffocating a culture and a language, yet again, (we are very good at this in the UK), and causing unprecedented segregation within deaf communities themselves? Are we also not now in danger of pushing parents of deaf children into a corner when it comes to the limited parental choices they now seem to have when deciding on what is right for their own child’s education? How can we keep ‘normalising’ everything?
Equity. It is all about equity is it not? Please can we stop using the term ‘equality’. It is a load of nonsense, and causes, in my humble opinion of course, huge dissention within the very communities it was meant to help.
EQUITY V’s EQUALITY
Being a hearing artist with a passion for how music is seen to be a leveller to all communities and societies, all the above sends my notions of this flying way up into the air. How do I now channel my passions into discovering what equity looks and sounds like when interpreting music?
I think I just erased the word ‘equality’ from my vocabulary forever.