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Miss Deaf UK: a micro example of how things really are

I had meant to type some thoughts on Miss Deaf UK last weekend, but personal circumstances has not allowed me to do this. Now playing catch up.

A brief recap of the programme: we had a hearing person organising the event, a group of hearing people took over. All with no prior experience of Deaf people, nor could any of them sign. There was no interaction at all. The organisation was a complete shambles. Whilst Deaf people were portrayed as being the end product, caught up in the whole mess. The programme was produced reality style, possibly a first for See Hear.

Whilst watching the programme I was talking to a hearing friend [who incidentally can't sign, and not involved with the Deaf community] and within 5 minutes of turning the television they had to switch it off. "There is a distinct lack of Deaf people and people who can actually sign?" Instead you were greeted with scenes of hearing people who had never even met a Deafie, all somehow bizarrely brought together by one woman. These hearing people were there because they "want to help the deaf and the bereaved". Okay, perhaps we should all start to wear black here and go into mourning.

However, it was not clueless hearies that really irked me, but Deaf people. Passive and sheep springs to mind. Go along with what they are told, and not bother to actually challenge anything. Noone actually had to be there, why didn't someone actually tell the organiser to stick their event up where the sun doesn't shine and they weren't putting up with it? Why didn't anyone actually walk?

On another level for me, the programme illustrated and mirrored on a micro level perfectly what really happens with deaf organisations. The set up is exactly the same: a bunch of hearies, who can't even sign, know next to nothing about Deaf stuff, going ahead and organising things for us. Making money in the process. Whilst Deaf people are passive receivers and actually do nothing. Just accept, swallow.

The comments on the programme by Deaf people were downright pathetic. Along the lines of this is my only chance, organisation is bad, don't understand Deaf culture etc.

Why were you even there, and going along with it? Why not just boycott the event and set up your own? The way some people in the UK behave, its like they are incapable, whether that is a lack of confidence, training or the bottom line mentality of Deaf people over here? Who knows. However, we do know there's one hell of a victim mentality going on, and passive receivers when you don't see something right. Joe vlogged about this in relation to Deaf UK, and illustrates the point very well.

Often, when people challenge something, they are told they must not. Instead its portrayed as a personality defect. It happens within organisations, within the last year on Deaf UK, etc. As an illustration of this, check out the response to my recent VeeSee post. (There's much more I could say specifically on this point, but will do so in another post).

Bottom line, a long hard look needs to taken at how people over here view themselves and why they aren't more proactive. Why aren't we saying f*** off a bit more, instead of putting up with crap?

[And yes I have thoughts on what's the point in this competition, but that's not the point of this post].

See also: Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

Comments (5)

I suspect the problem is they ARE saying F off, and gone totally apathetic about the whole campaigning thing. We are all being seduced by the 'let it all hang out' hype, and 'Whatever' ! approach, only when the deaf in the UK really find their backs to the wall will they do anything. I don't think they are victims or self pitying, they just do not see the reason for doing anything except having fun. Older farts like myself can recall a time when no subtitle access existed, no right to support of any kind etc, and deaf people being sent to mental institutions, and a deaf social worker did everything from birth to death for deaf people because it was assumed we were all quite incapable ourselves. We're dodo's, the younger deaf generation says, it no longer happens.... we got it all now...

People like Austin Reeves worked their ass for for their access, who ? is the only response you are a likely to get. The nature of the beast has changed, clubs are no longer a focus point, and the only reall meets are online in chat rooms, and in pubs, neither of these places are interested in campaigning at all.

Ah, we've gone beyond the wall, we're just pressing up against the garden fence by now.

One thing that anyone need for action, is that they always need a strong leader. Hearing folks are the same - they can't drum up the support unless there's a strong leader behind it.

(in other words, a scrapgoat in case things go wrong)

Was thinking about this whole leadership thing lying in bed last night! Sad or what. How the leaders who led before, went onto do other things, and noone has risen out of the ashes to replace.

Some of the problem, noone is actually training young people to be leaders anymore.

Isn't this true that FYD training weekends were one example of training future leaders? I've never been on one but my mates who've been on it found it beneficial and boosted their self-esteem. It is a shame that there ain't anything like that anymore since it got gobbled up by NDCS.

Leaders emerge via adversity, and experiencing real deprivation and real discrimination, today's deaf have never had it so good. Perhaps the older deaf who did the campaigning before to get access, have left nothing for future deaf to aspire to... It was all a lot simpler before, we hadn't any access worth a candle, now..... all they can debate is what term is right or wrong to use...... hardly edge-of-the-seat stuff to inspire.

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