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View Diary: WGLB:  curing the variants (263 comments)

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  •  The interesting case there is deafness. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    triciawyse

    If I were behind something like Rawls's veil of ignorance, I don't think I'd care whether I wound up gay or straight.  I would, however, prefer to hear, which is because deafness really is a shortcoming.  That's not to say deaf culture isn't rich or that deaf people are any less of people for it (because some drooling idiot inevitably makes that leap unless one points out in advance that to do so is idiotic), but it does seem to be a defect that a reasonable person would prefer not to have.  

    Or: in that instance, the different does seem to be the defective.  

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 09:16:39 AM PDT

    •  But it's not to some of the Deaf (13+ / 0-)

      So that's why I thought it was an interesting parallel.  I certainly would not choose to be deaf.  But is it up to me to say that people who are deaf, are a pathology to be cured?

       Because a LOT of people think being gay is a similar deficiency.  

      Many Deaf people reject the possibility of hearing treatments (e.g., cochlear implants) because they reject the pathologization of their condition.

      It's quite fascinating, and that's why like everything else, it's a continuum, not a binary, that runs from "normal variant" to "defect".

      Kinda like the continuum that runs from "gay" to "straight".  ;-)

      •  If there were a cure for deafness, would a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        triciawyse

        deaf person want it?  Or, perhaps a sharper example: if a deaf parent had the option to have his/her child turn out deaf or not, which ought the parent select?

        Is it a purely neutral preference?  Or ought the parent choose that the child have hearing?  My intuition is pretty strong that the child ought to have hearing.  

        And that suggests, in turn, that deafness isn't some value-neutral thing like sexual orientation.

        We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

        by burrow owl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 09:24:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But there are cases (9+ / 0-)

          Where Deaf folks can gain some hearing (e.g., the cochlear implants) and choose not to....and may choose not to treat their children.

          That's why it's a tricky case.  If it were me, of course I'd choose the implants for my child.  But if the Deaf family rejects the idea they are "defective"....

          it's hard.  I don't have a clear answer as to what's "right".  That's why binaries don't work.

          •  I think it's pretty clear, but I can appreciate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            triciawyse

            your point.  IMHO, of course, a parent intentionally denying his/her kids of the ability to hear would be wrong, wrong, wrong.

            That story actually happened about a year ago, IIRC.

            We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

            by burrow owl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 09:38:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My attitude about deafness took a 180... (13+ / 0-)

          when I spent a summer session at Gallaudet University.

          As anyone who knows me might suspect, I spent more time than I should at the Ratskeller, the pub in the student union conversing in ASL.  One night I was at a table of friends, most of them born deaf, when one of their friends whom I didn't know joined us and announced that his wife had just delivered their firstborn.  The first question from this circle of friends was not, "boy or girl," or "how many pounds and ounces," but, "deaf or hearing?"

          When the answer was, "deaf," there was an immediate and unanimous expression of joyful congratulations.

          Still a neophyte hearing person in the deaf community, I was somewhat taken aback by that response, but knew well enough to keep my cool.

          Later, I discussed it at length with one of my closest deaf friends, who asked me to consider:

          Imagine you are lying in your hospital bed after just giving birth, and the doctor comes in with a somber look on his face and says:

          "I have terrible news for you.

          Your baby is just like you."

          It was the starting point in a major change in the way I viewed deafness and the deaf community.  And, yes, of course, it is both anecdotal and entirely emotional.  But, in my studies, and my day-to-day interactions, I learned much more about what was behind this cultural difference, including startling statistics on the estrangement of hearing children and their deaf parents, the differences between cultures which are passed on generationally and those which are more often shared peer to peer, to name but a few.

          Another nugget to consider:  In a situation where there is a deaf person and a hearing person who wish to communicate with each other, which has the impairment?

          Finally, to show that this is not completely a diary hijack (especially since the subject was touched on by the diarist), I see many parallels between the deaf and LGBT communities and cultures, not the least of which is that most individuals in each are born to parents who are not members of their respective minorities, and who have a strong bias toward assimilation, at the very least.

        •  Deaf parents, when asked, overwhelmingly (10+ / 0-)

          wish for deaf children. When they have a hearing child, they're often very disappointed.

          The Deaf community is a distinct linguistic and cultural subculture. As far as they're concerned, they're normal people who use a different language.

          There is an art to teaching that is independent of the subject matter. - daveinojai

          by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 12:08:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, and, at times, I've got to imagine (11+ / 0-)

        that some deaf people come to embrace their deafness, and it's likely a struggle to do so... which sounds familiar.

        There are times... when not having the constant undercurrent of sound in the world would be a blessed thing.

        My Texile began June 28, 2009. I am NOT Texan. Serve and protect? Not in Ft. Worth

        by Texas Blue Dot on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 09:36:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those born Deaf into Deaf culture (9+ / 0-)

          do not struggle to embrace their deafness, by and large.

          Those who go deaf (note the difference between Deaf - cultural - and deaf - physical) later in life often do. I'm having that struggle myself, which is why I took up ASL about four years ago. I live in one of the two cities in California which has a state school for the Deaf, so there are quite a few Deaf people here.

          I will never be Deaf, however. I didn't grow up in Deaf culture. I will be a hearing person who learned ASL, even if I eventually lose my hearing completely. There's a sharp difference.

          There is an art to teaching that is independent of the subject matter. - daveinojai

          by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 12:12:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But (7+ / 0-)

      deaf people have capabilities that the hearing do not possess, as do the blind, as do gay people. In evolution, genetic diversity is always a strength. What appears to be defective to the majority pov, may not be a defect at all in other circumstances.

      Well, hello Mrs. Cleaver, and how is young Theodore today? -- Eddie Haskell, early NeoCon prototype

      by wayoutinthestix on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 09:34:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Geee that's funny (0+ / 0-)

      A Logical Positivist proclaiming Rawls ignorant. Is there a comedy club where I can see your show?

      You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

      by MnplsLiberal on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 10:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, I didn't proclaim Rawls ignorant. (0+ / 0-)

        To the contrary, that I relied on the VOI in order isolate an intuition reveals that I think him insightful.

        Swung on and missed, mnplsliberal.

        We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

        by burrow owl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 11:03:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ahh... I see I misunderstood. (0+ / 0-)

          But I didn't think positivists were allowed to have intuitions? ;)

          You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

          by MnplsLiberal on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 11:18:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are, they're just meaningless. (0+ / 0-)

            : P

            We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

            by burrow owl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 11:47:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sort of curious (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wayoutinthestix

              Is your inability to see the earth's magnetic lines a pathology?

              Is your inability to detect and analyze circularly polarized light, your lack of 12-channel color vision and 2-channel linear polarization detection a pathology?

              Is your inability to detect black body radiation a pathology?

              As far as many species of this world are concerned, you are already hopelessly blind. "Pathology" is only a useful concept within a very narrow context. But you are trying to argue, as I understand you, that pathology should be universalized.

              I need corrective lenses. Throughout most of human history I would be a nearly blind beggar. But because we can do something about my "pathology" I have been able to contribute a great deal to society all my life instead of being parasitic on it. I think the same is true for the deaf, the blind and for homosexuals. If any subgroup is able to contribute to our overall survival then I think that whatever traits they posses are adaptive and therefore not pathological in the sense you appear to be using it here.

              You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

              by MnplsLiberal on Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 12:19:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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